Have you ever thought about what your chances of survival would be in a do-or-die scenario such as in an active shooter, street attack, earthquake, global pandemic, or wilderness trip gone bad encounter or, if the national power grid went down and your city turned into civil chaos? Do you associate a price with your life or that of your family, friends, or acquaintances, i.e., what are these lives worth? How much preparation to survive do you think that you need? Finally, what do you think about when you hear the word survival? Were you prepared for the recent Coronavirus? You should have been!You should spend time reflecting on these questions measured against potential real-life threats. For example, a solar flare or nuclear detonation in the upper atmosphere could make all electronics, cars, computers, etc. inoperable for an extended period as it disrupts power grids and telephone lines, most communications, disables GPS services and radio transmissions, and damages satellite solar arrays. An earthquake or hurricane could wipe out entire cities, examples include the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, as well as the Indonesian tsunami in 2004 that killed 250,000. A serious pandemic, not the Covid-19 scam-demic, could wipe out 25% or more of the global population. Comparatively, the cost of not preparing could cost you your life or that of your loved one(s)

Depiction of various survival scenarios.

This article is an excerpt from an eBook I’m preparing about the basics you need to master for surviving almost any situation. Far more than simple wilderness survival, I want you to consider street encounters, home invasion, armed entry, civil war or strife, economic collapse, real pandemics, critical infrastructure failures such as the power grid and or water, survival in all geographic locations whether desert, swamp, grassland or high-alpine forests, city collapse, any kind of harsh terrain, animal attacks, and so much more.

The information in the eBook is a brief preparatory introduction to the courses taught in at CIVARA Academy’s Survival Training School, which are extremely limited. Due to the scope of these courses, the information within the eBook takes a different track than typical wilderness survival. Think of this information as a primer only.

Bottom Cypress – Seminole Tribe of Florida Big Cypress Reservation

Since I was a kid growing up in the Florida Everglades in poverty and life-threatening situations on a Native American reservation, I have always incorporated survival principles into everything I do, both at home and abroad. I began tracking, shooting, and practicing guerilla warfare at 5-years of age and continued to build upon those skills through the military working against foreign spies and shooting with the U.S. Army Rifle Team and beyond. Let me teach you what you would discover from Bear Grylls but at the same time, teach you survival and combat skills that even Navy Seals and 007 wish they knew. Whether you are caught in the middle of a civil war, close quarters battle, or a mountain blizzard, you need not panic! But without the confidence of training, that is exactly what you will do. “He who hesitates, meditates, in a horizontal position” (Edmund K. Parker).

Before going forward, let me ask you a question. Is there a precedence for long-term survival in the U.S.? Yes, with Native American Tribes thus, what I would like you to do is to be able to emulate those concepts. Native Americans had none of these, but they did know the principle concepts that were necessary for long-term survival. Let us look at those concepts. There are 10 of them and you need to add all of them to your skill sets. The eBook and survival courses go into more in-depth detail.

As a brief introduction to these skills, let me state that few of us today can grasp the survival skills that past generations used to succeed and prosper under all manner of hardships with two basic attributes — brains and brawn. Native Americans were just that; they had the ability to live off the land, which is a vital lesson for us today. From finding water and food in the wild to living in communities and even isolating those communities, which Native Americans did after thousands died from the ravages of small pox and other diseases brought from Europe — they are our precursor example — to guerilla warfare and other defense strategies to protect themselves against marauding enemy Tribes and the U.S. Calvary.

1. Native American Survival Skills – they still work today!They had the ability to be part of a community, which is very important as we move forward in a society where corruption, violence, and the seeking of power and control over others has caused such poor governance in most countries that both the global economy and potential societal collapse rides a razors edge and creates never-ending crises situations. Native Americans were experts at forming tight-knit communities in which each member had a specific role. Today, such traits are still invaluable and timeless. As an example, suppose everything shuts down and you have a plan to escape your large city with a group of 21 people. What are the roles and tasks of each in your group to survive? Native Americans knew how to do this; do you? If you investigate the past, you will see that humanity survives and thrives in groups of people. Banding together to survive is an age-old concept; it supplies support, comfort, and more resources — it is invaluable.

2. They were camouflage experts, they could move silently through the wilderness, whether desert, high plateaus, grassland, swamp, or forest; they could blend in and become almost invisible. Few groups today can do so, the most prominent being well-trained snipers. They painted their skin to match the environment, some tribes drew birds and small animals on themselves to really blend in. The Seminole used many colors that were both bright and common and had the ability to stand among cypress trees looking right at their adversary or game without being detected. A talent for camouflage gave Native Americans a unique advantage during hunting and for battle. If you do anything in the wild, from hunting to photography, camouflage is a practical skill. It will be particularly useful if you need to stay on the move and avoid others during civil strife. Look no further than African and South American conflicts.

Bromelaid – Seminoles copied its pattern for camouflage purposes.

What kind of tools do you need to survive?

3. They had the ability to make herbal remedies, which will not be on store shelves after a societal or economic collapse. Suppose you found yourself far from civilization and needed something to help you with pain or to seal a cut, what would you do? Native Americans were able to treat themselves using simple herbal therapies and developed a variety of plant-based cures. As an example, some tribes treated headaches by drinking tea made with the leaves of the pennyroyal plant. Peyote was used as a mild sedative to help relax the patient by numbing pain receptors – like alcohol. The Meskwaki tribe used the root of a specific type of cherry tree to make a tranquilizing potion. Knowing how to use plants makes a valuable difference for long-term survival in event of societal collapse or getting lost in the wilderness. Hemp also was widely used.

4. Making animal traps, was something that Native Americans were very adept at. While we are no long hunter-gatherers as a society today, it would not take much to drop us back to the early 1800s — anything from a solar flare to major natural hazards, pandemic, or a nuclear attack. The art of making a small animal trap, such as a dead fall, is still an ever-valuable skill. You must always be prepared — expect the unexpected.

Seminole Tribe of Florida – Example of Warrior Apparel and Equipment.

5. Moving undetected, is something Native Americans were great at doing and most still are. Combined with camouflage, it makes for a scary combination. And, discovering guerilla warfare with it, like I did, well, you become a different kind of adversary. Thus, whether you are a nature photographer, a nature lover wanting to get closer to wildlife, or a hunter or soldier, the ability to move through your environment undetected is crucial. You need to do it in urban and rural areas.

6. Never getting lost, was something that elders and Medicine Men from all tribes taught their people, especially warriors. Finding the way back to the village was as natural as breathing to Native Americans. As a note, these skills continue being taught today in a great many tribes. Native Americans have always been keenly aware of their surroundings, using landmarks, handrails (explained in the courses), and the environment to guide them. Today, we use a map and compass for this. If we move very quickly, we practice orienteering, which I also teach, but Native Americans were uncanny at it and you should become so as well. Anything from natural landmarks to plant types and orientation served as a compass to Native Americans. In modern society, very few even know the points of a compass or which direction is which — North or South?

7. Safe wild plants to eat, is an imperative skill you need to discover, just as Native Americans practiced. Tribes that were constantly on the move, such as the Cheyenne across the great plains, needed to know what types of plants could be eaten without falling ill or dying. In a pinch, it is a good skill to have. Native Americans discovered it by watching deer, bear, and birds eat wild berries and other plants, which mostly are also safe for people to eat. This skill, as taught in the course, is something better discovered from an instructor rather than through pictures or videos – what I refer to as assmosis.

8. The ability to find water, is one of the greatest skills owned by Native Americans in times past. They were adept at it, especially nomadic tribes. They discovered there were many ways to discover water in the wild. Following animal trails and tracks, watching birds, seeking trees in groups was a good sign, and searching a dry riverbed for water beneath the soil surface were all skills they had. They had no filters or high-tech equipment but were adept at finding water and using it. You must be able to do the same because water is your life!  

Present day re-enactment of traditional – c. 1816-1819 – Seminole Warrior

9. Predicting weather, was a specific skill taught to warriors of Native American tribes. If you consider the fact that in a survival situation, you will not have access to communications, a blizzard bearing down on you without awareness of it could spell your doom. Predicting weather and when a storm is coming was an expert skill of the Native Americans. Birds beginning to nest early in the day, larger animals heading for thick cover, wind rotating tree leaves, rainfall on the horizon, cloud type early in the morning or late afternoon, were all signs to look for and determine if shelter should be sought. It is something not commonly taught in books on survival. I will teach you this in the course.

10. Preserving meat, was paramount to individual and Native-American community survival. During a time when there were no refrigerators, ingenuity was important. One of the most common foods that used dried meat and is still in wide use today is pemmican. Pemmican is a mixture of dried meat, fat, and other food depending on what tribe or who makes it. Other foods can include berries, nuts, or corn, as well as other ingredients. It is remarkably high in calories due to its fat content and is typically rolled into balls about the size of golf balls. It has been so successful as a calorie booster from its small size that it was adapted by arctic explorers and wilderness travelers since first used by Native Americans. It is much better as a calorie provider than trail mix. Jerky is another way of using dried meats. Drying meats is particularly necessary for long trips and lack of technology or, as a back-up for other food supplies. Discover this technique for long-term survival.

Palmetto and Forest – Seminole Tribe of Florida Big Cypress Reservation

Most people’s idea of a survival situation is doing so in the wilderness, whether it be in a desert, high-alpine forest, a swamp like the Florida Everglades, or other geographical location. Pretend that you crash in a small plane in a remote area, sink in a boat 10-12 miles away from the shoreline, or need to defend yourself against multiple, black-rifle armed, home invaders. The outcome can turn to do-or-die in a heartbeat in a situation in which time is not your ally. While each of these situations could result in a variation of extremes from exposure to the elements, to lack of water and food, lack of firearms and H2HC skills, or related scenario, they fit the typical survival thoughts that most conjure up. However, there are many more survival situations than these. If a contagious disease broke out locally and was spreading (pandemic), such as the recent Coronavirus, would you be prepared to self-isolate and wait it out? This means you would need food storage, medical supplies, and other essentials. Do you have them? They will be in short supply quickly. And, such a pandemic could cause civil chaos and armed aggression within communities, as well as complete breakdown of all services depending on its severity — do you have an exit strategy to get out of town/city if such occurs? Where would you go? What did Native Americans do? Let me teach you.

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