We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the more than 700 visitors who graced us with their presence at the Abenaki Heritage Weekend. Your enthusiastic participation and unwavering support made this event truly remarkable. We are especially thankful for the presence of citizens from the four Vermont tribes and tribal citizens from Odanak, as your invaluable contributions enhanced the richness of our gathering. Your presence demonstrated the strength of unity and the power of shared heritage. Together, we celebrated the vibrant traditions and ancestral wisdom that continue to shape our communities.
We are so thankful for the ongoing support from our sponsors and partners Vermont Humanities, Vermont Arts Council, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Abenaki Alliance, and the Abenaki Arts & Education Center.
When it was held: June 17-18, 2023
Where: Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, 4472 Basin Harbor Rd, Vergennes, VT 05491
Directions: Click here for Google Map
About the 2023 Abenaki Heritage Weekend:
On June 17-18, 2023, citizens of the New England Abenaki community gathered at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum to celebrate their history and heritage, and the public was invited! Organized by the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association, this free event was open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.
One of the highlights is the Native Arts Marketplace of the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association, where visitors can talk to artists, watch craft demonstrations, and purchase outstanding beadwork, paintings, jewelry, wampum, woodwork, leatherwork, drums, and other items.
“The variety and quality of the work created by our Abenaki artists is outstanding,” said Vera Longtoe Sheehan, Executive Director of the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association. “Some of our artists create traditional art and some create contemporary art, often inspired by tradition. If you are looking to purchase a special gift or something new for your collection, be sure to visit the Native Arts Marketplace.”
Throughout the weekend there were activities of interest to everyone. The public was advised to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy singing and drumming by the Nulhegan Drum. Children and adults alike enjoyed storytelling by Abenaki author and historian Joseph Bruchac, and songs for the little ones with Francine Poitras Jones.
Artists in the Arts Marketplace included Michael Descoteaux demonstrating the making of hand drums; Elnu Abenaki Elder Jim Taylor making wampum beads from whelk and quahog shells; and Linda Longtoe Sheehan weaving wampum, an intricate process using the shell beads. On Saturday, the public met basketmaker Kerry Wood. On both Saturday and Sunday, children were invited to visit the “Make and Take” table, where children could make a gift to bring home for Father’s Day.
A new special exhibit, Beyond the Curve: The American Abenaki Covid Experience opened during Heritage Weekend in the Schoolhouse Gallery, and will be on view all season. Artwork and stories by 20 American Abenaki artists illustrate the impact of the pandemic in the Abenaki homeland and the resilience of Abenaki people during troubled times. Meet the curator, Vera Longtoe Sheehan, for a gallery talk.
Thanks to Vermont Humanities, Vermont Arts Council, and Vermont Department of Health for their sponsorship of the event.
Link for Accessibility information: ? For access questions, contact Elisa [email protected] or (802) 265-0092
For other questions, you may also email Francine at [email protected]
Special Programs that took place at the Abenaki Heritage Weekend:
- Storytelling by Joe Bruchac
- Nulhegan Abenaki Drum group
- Music and Storytelling by Francine Poitras Jones
Artists Featured in the Arts Marketplace
- Paul René Tamburro – hand-wrought heirloom quality silver and copper, wood carving, stone carving, and other traditional artwork
- Jim Taylor – wampum bead-making demonstration
- Jeanne Morningstar Kent – Gourds
- Linda Longtoe Sheehan – Wampum jewelry
- Roger Longtoe Sheehan
- Patrick Lamphere
- Morgan Lamphere
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Vermont Abenaki Artists Association is supported by the New England Foundation for the Arts through the New England Arts Resilience Fund, part of the United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund, an initiative of the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with major funding from the federal CARES Act from the National Endowment for the Arts.