Carol Billings McGranaghan

Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi

Juried Artist since 2017
Image of Carol Billings McGranaghan
Carol Billings McGranaghan

Carol Billings McGranaghan has served the community as a member of the Vermont Commission on Native America Affairs. She is also a culinary artist who follows the traditions of her grandmothers who taught her about wild edible plants. She uses this knowledge of regional edible plants to create her one of a kind jams and jellies.

 Artist Statement

I was born and raised in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.  My parents and grandparents taught me about plants, gardens, and “living off the land.”   My interest in plants really started with my paternal Grandmother showing me the different wild flowers and what they were for, which were edible and how to care for them so they could continue for generations.  Mom made chokecherry and apple jelly – the reason I started researching wild flowers and herbs to make my own products.  Each season brings yet more to find and more to learn about, which provides an ongoing learning experience.

I also do beadwork.  That interest was initiated at my other Grandmother’s knee. She showed me how to weave seed beads, string beads using patterns and colors to tell a story and how to use natural materials as beads. I have been selling my handmade beaded jewelry on Etsy for several years now. I am currently learning how to weave baskets, both in traditional and non-traditional designs.  

I have participated in many panel discussions about Abenaki subjects, from wearing our heritage to women’s roles today, the history of Abenaki survival from colonization to the trauma of the Vermont eugenics survey and present day ethnic mascots. I teach my grandson about smudging, our plants/animals and the traditional stories so he will have an understanding of Abenaki history, to be proud of it, and to pass it on to others when he’s older. 

I was appointed to the Vermont Commission of Native Affairs in 2016. I was elected Vice-Chair in 2017 and Chair in 2018-2019 and 2019-2020. In 2018, one of my first projects was to have the items which were gifted to Vermont at the time of State recognition for the four Abenaki tribes installed as a permanent display in the Vermont State House. In 2019, with the assistance of the Friends of the State House, we held a celebration on the State House lawn for the opening of the display, the declaration of Abenaki Heritage Week and for Indigenous Peoples’ Day being passed into law. I provided training sessions to the State House tour guides so they would have a better understanding of Abenaki history. In 2020, I worked with the legislature to have Abenaki names added to state park signs. In 2021, members of the VCNAA and I provided testimony in behalf of the eugenics survey apology and in support of schools who were attempting to change their ethnic school mascots. 

I have worked closely with Carol Irons, another member of the Commission, to present and teach basic Abenaki history, culture, and customs to both adults and students as part of the Abenaki Cultural Regeneration project. I welcome the opportunity to share this learning with others who are interested.

Contact

Email: stevencarol@earthlink.net

Etsy Store: Hidden Bear

 

Speaking Engagements and Exhibits

2021

  • Participant in International Center for Transitional Justice workshop on Truth and Accountability 

2020

  • Abenaki Opening Devotional in the Vermont Legislative House
  • Moccasin Tracks interview on VCNAA updates
  • Legislative work to add Abenaki names to state signs
  • WCAX interview for Abenaki state park signage
  • WCAX interview for Deb Haaland appointment to Secretary of the Interior

2019

  • Provided training for State House tour guides on the Abenaki display
  • Moccasin Tracks interview on VCNAA
  • Endangered Alphabets Abenaki Perspective, Vermont Statehouse, Montpelier VT
  • Overview of Abenaki History and Culture, Proctor School, Proctor VT
  • Abenaki Cultural Regeneration Camp, Northwoods Stewardship, Charleston VT
  • Permanent Installation of display for the Abenaki recognition items
  • Smudged, labeled and installed the permanent display of Abenaki recognition items
  • Stowe High School Indigenous Peoples’ Day presentation

2018

  • Abenaki Cultural Regeneration Camp, Northwoods Stewardship, Charleston VT
  • Abenaki Stories and Drumming, Button Bay Campground, Ferrisburg VT
  • Overview of Abenaki History and Culture, Whitingham Middle School, Whitingham VT

2017

  • Wearing Our Heritage Panel Discussion, Shelburne Library, Shelburne VT.

Affiliations

  • Appointment by Governor Scott to the Racial Equity Task Force (2020-2021)
  • Social Equity Task Force  (2020-2021)
  • Social Equity Caucus   (2020-2021)
  • Friends of the Vermont Statehouse, Panel member
  • Abenaki Cultural Regeneration Project, Co-leader
  • Vermont Abenaki Artists Association
  • Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs member since 2016. Vice Chair 2017, Chair 2018 – 2019, 2019 – 2020, 2020 – 2021, and 2021 – 2022