Abenaki Storytelling Project Memory Booth in Benson August 20, 2022

The Abenaki Storytelling Project, a community-based arts and storytelling project that focuses on Native American strength and resiliency, will host a Memory Booth at the Nulhegan Abenaki Gathering in Benson, VT on Saturday August 20, from 10-5. The Storytelling Project’s Memory Booth, developed by Abenaki community members to help process their COVID-19 experiences, will be gathering input from Native Americans in Vermont. The Nulhegan Abenaki Tribe welcomes the public to attend the Gathering, which features Abenaki vendors, drumming, singing, dancing, and activities such as storytelling and games. The event is held rain or shine.

“Abenaki artists will set up a Memory Booth where families can share their stories and artwork at the Nulhegan Abenaki Gathering,” says Vera Sheehan, VAAA Executive Director. “Working over the past several months with Abenaki community members, we developed the Abenaki Storytelling Project to explore this recent period of our collective history in a way that hasn’t been done before.” Memory Booth participants will receive an Abenaki Artists Association t- shirt. They can also mark the occasion with a photo taken on site. Sheehan went on to explain, “For this project, VAAA’s team of trained artist facilitators are collecting stories and process drawings using Abenaki methodology and worldviews. Interpretation of the artwork and stories will inform an upcoming online digital exhibition and a traveling museum exhibition. It’s important for Native American people to see themselves and their communities reflected in exhibitions.”

VAAA began collecting Native American stories and artwork in June at the Abenaki Heritage Weekend in Vergennes, VT. The project continues at the Nulhegan Abenaki Gathering when community members can stop by the Storytelling Project’s Memory Booth to learn more about the project or to share stories and artwork.

Memory Booth participants will receive an Abenaki Artists Association t-shirt. They can bring and share a digital photograph of themselves wearing protective masks or mark the occasion with a photo taken on site. Additional opportunities to participate in the project through focus groups and extended one-on-one storytelling sessions will be posted on the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association’s website and on Facebook.

Visual artists interested in submitting work to be considered for the online and traveling exhibition can contact Abenaki@abenakiart.org for more information. Additional opportunities to participate in the project through focus groups and extended one-on-one storytelling sessions will be posted on the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association’s website and on Facebook. The Vermont Abenaki Artists Association is a Native American arts organization that works to connect Vermont communities to Abenaki educators and artists from the visual, performing, and literary arts. VAAA has special expertise in working with Abenaki artists and incorporating their arts and storytelling into public programs, cultural events, and museum exhibitions.

Sheehan says the VAAA uses insights from Native American arts and storytelling to uplift Indigenous peoples’ voices and perspectives. “Like other populations in Vermont, health disparities and social and historical injustices have taken a very real toll on our lives,” said Sheehan. “This project is a unique way for the Abenaki people to process, interpret, and share their own experience about the pandemic and vaccinations, and health access and other disparities – experiences that we hope will have a strong influence on the state’s efforts to build a culture of health equity.”

Ruth Steinmetz, a Health Department communication officer who focuses on health equity, said her agency has made achieving health equity a top priority. “Key to reducing persistent negative
health outcomes is building trust-based community partnerships,” said Steinmetz. “The Storytelling Project is an important opportunity for us to gain more understanding of the experiences of Indigenous communities in culturally affirming ways. We can then tap into this
information to help us to more effectively support the health and wellbeing of the Abenaki community, and all people in Vermont.”


To learn more about the Storytelling Project, please visit
abenakiart.org/blog9/storytelling-project/


To learn more about the Nulhegan Gathering, please visit
https://abenakitribe.org/heritage-gathering


Find out more about Health Equity in Vermont at
healthvermont.gov/health-equity

Abenaki Heritage Weekend

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For information contact: Francine Poitras Jones

heritage_weekend@abenakiart.org

 804-943-6197

Abenaki Heritage Weekend June 18-19 at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum

Are you looking for a special experience to start the summer? On June 18th and 19th, citizens of the New England Abenaki community will gather at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum to celebrate their history and heritage and they are inviting you and your family to join them! 

This free event will be open from 11am to 4 pm 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, feather boxes, and other items. “The variety and quality of the work created by our Abenaki artists are outstanding,” says Vera Longtoe Sheehan of the Elnu Abenaki Tribe, Director of the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association (VAAA). “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 will be activities to interest everyone. There will be singing and drumming by the Nulhegan Drum — you may even be invited to drum with them. Chief Shirly Hook and Doug Bent of the Koasek tribe will demonstrate bean hole cooking – just imagine how good that food will smell! If you love the outdoors, don’t miss the Animal Tracks display where Doug Bent will help you to identify and recognize tracks of many animals from N’dakinna (our homeland). Families with little ones will enjoy the “Make and Take” area, where children can make a craft to bring home. Children and adults alike should not miss storytelling by Nulhegan Chief Don Stevens and songs for the little ones with Dancing Blue Wolf.

You are invited to watch skilled artists demonstrate the making of Indigenous crafts. Chief Roger Longtoe Sheehan of the Elnu Abenaki Tribe will demonstrate the delicate process of stone carving. Chief Roger will also talk about local Abenaki history. Michael Descoteaux will demonstrate the making of hand drums. You can watch Elnu Abenaki Elder Jim Taylor make wampum beads from whelk and quahog shells, and Linda Longtoe Sheehan weave wampum, an intricate process using the shell beads. 

Frederick Wiseman, Ph.D., will present information about American Abenaki Health and Wellness, a topic of particular interest at this time. The American Abenaki have historically been the targets of genocide and systemic racism. This talk provides important insight into the issues faced by Abenaki people today. Vera Longtoe Sheehan will also introduce the Abenaki Covid Storytelling Project, is a community-based arts and storytelling project which is a new initiative in partnership with the Vermont Department of Health. 

A special exhibition, Nebizun: Water is Life, will be featured in the Schoolhouse Gallery. Work by Abenaki artists together with photographs and commentaries illustrate the dynamic relationship between the People and water in the Abenaki homeland, past and present. Water is essential for life and Nebizun (or Nebizon) is the Abenaki word for medicine. Meet the curator, Vera Longtoe Sheehan, for a gallery talk and conversation. 

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About Vermont Abenaki Artists Association (VAAA)

The VAAA mission is to promote awareness of state-recognized Abenaki artists and their art, to provide an organized central place to share creative ideas, and to have a method for the public to find and engage state-recognized Abenaki artists. For more information about VAAA, please visit http://abenakiart.org or follow us on Facebook or Instagram.

About Abenaki Arts & Education Center

The Abenaki Arts and Education Center provides authentic curriculum materials, programs, and other resources about Abenaki culture and history for educators and interested learners. For more information about AAEC, please visit https://abenaki-edu.org/ or follow us on Facebook.

About Lake Champlain Maritime Museum

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum is an all-year hub for maritime education that uses the discovery and stewardship of Lake Champlain’s underwater cultural heritage and environment to inspire life-long learning. LCMM brings Lake Champlain’s storied past to life through replica vessels, active boat building, on-water ecology programs, nautical archaeology, collections and exhibits, and cultural heritage events. From late May through mid-October visitors explore LCMM’s 4-acre campus, antique boats, lake history, shipwreck discoveries, step aboard replica canal schooner Lois McClure at the waterfront, or visit 1776 gunboat replica Philadelphia II “on the hard.” Enjoy hands-on and on-water opportunities. Located at 4472 Basin Harbor Road, 7 scenic miles from Vergennes. Find Museum dates, hours of operation, events and reservations at www.lcmm.org or call 802 475-2022.

A Joint Statement from the Four Vermont State Recognized Abenaki Tribes in Response to Certain Recent Events

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 6, 2022 – We, the four Vermont state recognized Abenaki tribes, stand together in affirmation of our own shared, lived experience here in the Northeast, which is necessarily different from that of our relatives in other places, and which has been acknowledged by the State of Vermont.

The distinct historical and contemporary realities within the southern reaches of Ndakinna, our homelands – under the influence of British and French colonial, Federal, and State governments – have brought us to where we are today. Through common experiences of colonization, marginalization, and displacement, our citizens are now found within what is now called New England and points beyond.

We are appreciative of the public process of change that is underway, to raise awareness, remove imposed divisions, and restore balance in these homelands. We wish to work together for healing and understanding among All of our Relations and all of those who are here now.

We look forward to opportunities for dialogue and collaboration – a responsibility incumbent upon us all – in these increasingly challenging times. Traditional teachings make it clear that we owe this to each other, our children, and to the Earth, our Mother.Signed by the Chiefs of the Four Vermont State Recognized Tribes, on behalf of their Councils and Communities (signatures on file), 

Chief Richard Menard, Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi

Co-Chief Shirly Hook, Koasek Traditional Band of the Koas Abenaki Nation

Chief Donald Stevens, Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation

Chief Roger Longtoe Sheehan, Elnu Abenaki Tribe

COVID-19

Following is a list of resources to help during this time.

COVID-19 Funeral Assistance

Assistance is now available for funeral assistance. Click here to review the help that is available.

Federal Resources for U.S. Small Businesses

View relevant federal agency resources, access the latest news, and search for a Small Business advisor near you.  Click here to view the official resource website for U.S. small businesses affected by COVID-19.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources for Employers

Userful resources for employers to learn how COVID-19 is affecting various aspects of employment law, and how different jurisdictions are addressing the outbreak are on a web page provided by Littler.  Because the COVID-19 situation is dynamic, with new governmental measures each day, employers should consult with counsel for the latest developments and updated guidance on this topic. Featured COVID-19 Resources

  • COVID-19 Labor & Employment Litigation Tracker
  • Bouncing Back:  A List of Statewide Return to Work Protocols
  • Facing Your Face Mask Duties – A List of Statewide Orders
  • Employee Temperature and Health Screenings – A List of Statewide Orders
  • Stay on Top of “Stay At Home” – A List of Statewide Orders
  • Littler COVID-19 Flash Survey Report

Click here to view Resources available.

Safeguard Your Information 

Times like these bring out the best and unfortunately the worst in some people.  Fear and confusion create an ideal climate for scammers.  Be on the alert for fraud, email phishing, and bogus requests for personal information.   Tips for Catching and Reporting Suspicious Emails 

  • Inspect emails for grammatical or other errors, even those claiming to be from the CDC or WHO.
  • At no time will you ever receive a call from the IRS, Banks, asking you for your login credentials.
  • Before clicking links, hover over them to see the URL (web address).  If you think it is something of interest, copy the web address and search it to make sure it is legitimate before clicking.
  • If you suspect an email is fraudulent, DO NOT REPLY TO THE EMAIL.  Contact the company or person they are impersonating.  Delete it from your inbox.

Click on this link for more information about safeguarding your information.  Tips and info provided by Citizens Bank.

Nationwide
 

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act – U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship  

The new $900 billion COVID relief package is now law!  Here are some highlights.  Please be sure to reach out to your local Women Business Center (WBC)  for additional information. Click here to view funding fact sheet from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).  Please click this link for U.S. Small Business Administration information about Coronavirus Recovery Information in languages other than English.  

Targeted EIDL Advance – COVID-19 Targeted EIDL Advance was signed into law on December 27, 2020, as part of the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Non-Profits, and Venues Act. The Targeted EIDL Advance provides businesses located in low-income communities with additional funds to ensure small business continuity, adaptation, and resiliency.

Advance funds of up to $10,000 will be available to applicants located in low-income communities who previously received an EIDL Advance for less than $10,000, or those who applied but received no funds due to lack of available program funding.

Applicants do not need to take any action at this time. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will reach out to those who qualify.  Click on the respective language for more information in English and Spanish.

For more information and updates, visit SBA.gov/PPP or Treasury.gov/CARES 

Do you need assistance with any of these programs?  Reach out to our Women’s Business Centers!  Please click on the appropriate link below to schedule a meeting or find contact information for CWE Women’s Business Centers.:

SBA Debt Relief (Payment Deferment)

The SBA announced that if a business already has an SBA loan through a lender, whether it is a 7A, 504 or microloan, the SBA will pay the lender the principal, interest and fees for six months.  The SBA will also defer payments on new SBA 7A loans made before 9/27/2020.   The SBA also announced changes to help borrowers still paying back SBA loans from previous disasters.  Deferments through 12/31/2020 will be automatic so borrowers of prior home and business disaster loans do not have to contact the SBA to request deferment.  Please click here to learn more.

COVID-19 Funding Options Portal

As U.S. small businesses continue the hard work of economic recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, access to capital is paramount. For some companies and non-profits, they have exhausted their existing funding sources to sustain their operations.  There are many unique funding resources available through Federal, state, and local governments in addition to philanthropy and non-profit organizations.  Unfortunately, it can be difficult for businesses to know where to look or what to look for in finding additional assistance.  Click here to access this mobile-friendly, new resource.

WHAT IT IS: A free, curated list of thousands of funding sources at the national, state, regional, and local levels designed to support small businesses in accessing capital to recover from COVID-19.  The opening page captures programs that are available nationally.  Visitors then only need to enter a ZIP code of interest to see which programs their area may be eligible.  The information is current as of the date of publication, so resource availability may change over time.

Funding providers can submit requested updates, additions, or corrections to the data by emailing the information to econrecovery@sba.gov for evaluation and update.WHAT IT IS NOT: An endorsement by the U.S. Small Business Administration that individuals or small businesses should pursue applications with any of these organizations.  The information is provided for reference only.  Businesses and non-profits are encouraged to independently explore these resources to self-determine if they should pursue further assistance from the programs identified.

Amber Grant for Women – WomensNet

WomensNet founded the Amber Grant Foundation in 1998.  The Foundation was set up with one goal in mind:  to honor the memory of a very special young woman, Amber Wigdahl, who died at just 19 years old – before realizing her business dreams.   Today, WomensNet carries on that tradition, giving away at least $10,000 every month in Amber Grant money.  They have also expanded their grant-giving to include a year-end grant of $25,000.   Applying is simple.  Just take a few minutes to tell them about yourself and your business dream.  No long, complicated forms to fill out.  The $10,000 Amber Grant recipient is announced the first week of every month.  For more information and to apply click here.  

Loan – Kiva

Kiva lenders provide financial assistance to all by making 0% interest loans to entrepreneurs in the U.S. In today’s difficult circumstances, K9iva would like to make it as easy and impactful as possible for small businesses in the U.S. to have access to affordable capital on the Kiva platform – capital that may be the difference between shutting down and keeping their doors open.  

  • 0% interest
  • Up to $15,000 loan
  • Grace period of up to 6 months

Kiva.org/borrow

Grants Available from IFund Women

IFundWomen has a wide variety of grants available to their members, from their monthly “pay-it-forward” grant to those from generous partners like Barbara Corcoran, & Systane, Visa, Adidas, Unilever, and more.  Click here for a list of grants.

Coronavirus Tax Relief – Internal Revenue Service

The IRS has established a special section focused on steps to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the coronavirus. The page will be updated as new information is available. The information contained on this site includes: 

  • Dollar for dollar reimbursement for Coronavirus related sick leave costs
  • Employers will be able to use cash deposited with the IRS to pay sick leave wages
  • Businesses that would not have sufficient taxes to draw from, Treasury will use its regulatory authority to make advance to small businesses to cover such costs

For more information please click here.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance – U.S. Department of Labor

The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1974, as amended, authorizes the President to provide benefit assistance to individuals unemployed as a direct result of a major disaster. The U.S. Department of Labor oversees the DUA program and coordinates with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to provide the funds to the state UI agencies for payment of DUA benefits and payment of state administration costs under agreements with the Secretary of Labor.Read more.

Work Share Programs – National Conference of State Legislatures

Workshare programs let businesses temporarily reduce the hours of their employees, instead of laying them off during economic downturns.  Technically referred to as short time compensation, the goal of worksharing programs is to reduce unemployment.

Worksharing should not be confused with job sharing, which allows two part-time employees to share one full-time job. Instead, worksharing allows a full-time worker’s hours to be reduced, in lieu of laying off the worker.

Workshare programs benefit businesses, workers and states. Businesses retain their trained workforce, for easy recall to full-time work when economic conditions improve. Workers keep their jobs instead of being laid off, and collect reduced unemployment benefits to partially replace their lost wages. States save money by paying only partial unemployment claims, instead of paying full benefits to laid-off workers.

Under approved workshare programs, employees qualify for a percentage of unemployment benefits, equal to the percentage by which their hours have been reduced. For example, an employee whose hours are cut by 10 percent would qualify for 10 percent of the state’s established weekly unemployment benefit amount. While that does not fully replace the lost wages, the amount supplements a worker’s income until they are recalled to full-time work. Click here for more information or the specific State below.

Massachusetts 

New Hampshire

Rhode Island

Vermont

Coronavirus – Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers – Center for Disease Controls (CDC)

The interim guidance is based on what is currently know about the coronovirus diesease 2019 (COVID-19).  The Centers for Disease control and Prevention (CDC) idates the interim guidance as needed and as additional information becomes available.  Click here for information.

Women-Owned Businesses

Covid-19 Resources for Women-Owned Businesses – WBENC

As a leading advocate for women business owners and entrepreneurs, WBENC is committed to helping our constituents address and respond to the impacts caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19). As we work with national and regional partners, Corporate and Government Members, and other industry leaders, we will continue to update this page with resources, information, webinars and more to address the many questions and uncertainties many business owners and corporations face, as well as to continue to help fuel business opportunities for women entrepreneurs. Click here for more information

Resources from WBENC-Certified WBEs

Veterans – New England

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources – New England Veterans Chamber of Commerce (NEVCC)

If you are a veteran or military business owner in new England, please let the NEVCC know if you need assistance.  Click here for a list of resources and information.

Code of Support PATRIOTlink – US Department of Veterans Affairs

Code of Support’s PATRIOTlink® platform is a free online resource database that includes thousands of programs tailored to the military and Veteran community.

Through PATRIOTlink, users can search vetted, direct, cost-free services specific to their needs. PATRIOTlink was recently redesigned to make it even easier to use. Now, users can complete searches by entering less information and they can view events and job opportunities in their area through a news feed feature.  Click here for more information.

Black, Indigenous, and People of Color

Resources & Tools to Elevate Your Business – Effectv and Comcast Business

Recently, small businesses have been dealing with the ongoing impact of the pandemic, social unrest, and environmental events. Black-owned businesses have been some of the hardest hit. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, between February and April 2020, the number of active Black-owned businesses declined by 41%, Latinx-owned businesses declined by 32%, and Asian-owned businesses dropped by 25%, versus just 21% for the general population. Comcast RISE was created to invest in the success of these critical businesses by providing valuable and practical support.

Beginning November 24, 2020, all Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) business owners will be eligible to apply for Comcast RISE.

Selected businesses could receive one or more of the following business services through Effectv, the advertising sales division of Comcast, and Comcast Business, a leading provider of technology for businesses of all sizes:

  • Consulting – Advertising and marketing consultations with local Effectv marketing, research, and creative teams to gain insights on how to grow your business.
  • Media – A linear TV media schedule, over a 90-day period.
  • Creative Production – Turnkey production of a 30-second TV commercial, plus a media strategy consultation and 90-day media placement schedule.
  • Technology Makeover – Computer equipment and Internet, voice and cybersecurity services for 12 months, to support business recovery while implementing other Comcast small business initiatives. (Taxes and other fees may still apply for tech makeover services.)
  • Monetary Grant – To be launched November 24, 2020.

For more information please click here.

Resources

COVID-19 Suppliers – Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)

WBENC has thousands of Women’s Business Enterprises (WBE), and among them, hundreds that have COVID-related supplies and services.  In the face of this pandemic, WBENC want to help support the procurement needs of the greater business community and to fuel business opportunities for women entrepreneurs.  This list will be shared as part of their COVID-29 resources through the end of May.  Please click here to view the list.

State & Region

Please click on the tab below to view the funding and resources available in your State.

Vermont

Small Business Grants – Berkshire Bank and Berkshire Bank Foundation

Berkshire Bank has earmarked an incremental $500,000 for small business grants to help businesses that do not have the ability to pay.  They are working with Berkshire Bank Foundation and the Foundation for Business Equity, among others, to deploy these dollars across their banking footprint and to sharing more details about these programs in the short term. Berkshire Bank also understand there will be situations where our customers find themselves or their businesses facing financial difficulties that are unique to them.  In those scenarios where hardship is not relieved by low-interest loans or small business grants, Berkshire Bank is asking their customers to reach out to them to further discuss how they may be of assistance. For more information click here.

Regional & Specific Industries

Emergency Loans – Vermont Farm Fund (VFF)

The VFF seeks to minimize the hurdles to secure a loan and receive funds to begin the recovery process.  The maximium Emergency Loan amount is currently $10,000.  This is a zero percent interest loan, payable over 24 months with a flexible payment schedule.  Click here for more information.

Vermont Rapid Response Artist Relief Fund – The Vermont Arts Council

The Vermont Arts Council has established a Vermont Rapid Response Artist Relief Fund to respond to the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on artists across the state.  There is information and resources for artists and organizations as well as a guide for creating virtual art experiences during this time of social distancing. Click here for more information.

Guidance

Restart Vermont Technical Assistance (ReVTA) – Vermont Economic Development

The Vermont Legislature allocated $2.5 million of federal CARES Act funding for small business technical support in Act 137. On September 18, 2020, Governor Scott and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development announced that the RDCs of Vermont would be tasked with deploying $1,400,000 in technical assistance funding for small businesses across the state under the Restart Vermont Technical Assistance Program (ReVTA).

The funding for the ReVTA program is aimed at assisting Vermont businesses and non-profits who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. To be eligible you must be a Vermont entity conducting activities in Vermont. You may be asked to demonstrate that you operate out of a Vermont property, pay employees who conduct work with Vermont, or have sales and customers in Vermont.

The Regional Development Corporations of Vermont have created Recovery Navigator positions in each region of the state. The Navigators will engage one-on-one with businesses impacted by the pandemic to discern a recovery solution and identify an appropriate technical assistance provider from a network of for-profit and non-profit service providers. Once a recovery path has been determined, the regional Navigator will help connect the business with an appropriate TA provider and together they will develop a Scope of Work.

Once the work is completed, the technical assistance provider will be paid by the grant program. All activities within the Scope of Work must be completed by December 4, 2020. Average TA award is expected to be $3,000.

What is Technical Assistance?

ReVTA allows for a collaborative approach between the business and their Navigator in order to determine what technical assistance project will provide enduring value helping a business to overcome negative impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Technical assistance (TA) is the process of providing targeted support to an organization with a development need or problem.  It is commonly referred to as consulting. TA is one of the most effective methods for building the capacity of an organization for example; sharing information and expertise, instructions, skills, training, transmission of knowledge, and technical expertise.

What could constitute TA Per Section 6 (b) (2) of H. 966 of the 2020 Vermont Legislative Session includes assistance and education with:

  • Business operations, financial management, and grant writing;
  • Digital strategies;
  • Architecture and Physical Space Design; 
  • Reconfiguring manufacturing equipment and processes and incorporating safety measures; 
  • Technology and Software Consulting; and 
  • Legal and Other Professional Services.   

What would not constitute TA is:  

  • Construction and/or Renovation Projects 
  • Working Capital Needs and/or payment for Equipment, Materials or Supplies 
  • Advertising such as print, voice, digital, etc.

The TA provided under this program will allow a business to make significant changes to their business to overcome the impacts of COVID-19.  As an example, a proposal might include free online retail platforms for businesses to expand their ability to sell goods during a stay home order, consulting services to a restaurant on how to redesign a kitchen or dining area for safe operations or increase the profitability of take-out service, marketing assistance to reach new customers, or new product development work to broaden a company’s viability during the crisis.

What businesses are eligible to receive technical assistance?

The funding for the ReVTA program is aimed at assisting Vermont businesses and non-profits.  To be eligible you must be a Vermont entity conducting activities in Vermont.  You may be asked to demonstrate that you operate out of a Vermont property, pay employees who conduct work with Vermont, or have sales and customers in Vermont. Any Vermont-domiciled business impacted by COVID-19, with a recovery path that can be advanced through professional technical assistance, is eligible. Non-profit employers may apply under this program with requirements similar to for-profit applicants.

How does a business participate in the program?
Any for-profit or non-profit business seeking a technical assistance solution to COVID-19 impacts may find more detail on this website. Completed registrations are shared to regional Navigators who will follow up with the business.

How do technical assistance providers participate in the program?
Technical assistance providers must register as vendors. Any for-profit or non-profit technical assistance provider seeking to participate may find more detail and register on this website. A complete vendor registry will be maintained and made available through this web site.

For more information and how to participate please click here.

COVID-19 Guidance for Vermont Businesses – State of Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development

Click here for the latest guidance available for Vermont businesses.

COVID-19: Information for Employees and Employers – State of Vermont Department of Labor

Click here for resources for Employers and other information. Click here for resources for Employees and other information..

Insurance

COVID-19 and Business Income Insurance – State of Vermont Department of Financial Regulation

The Department of Financial Regulation had developed a guidance document to address numerous questions from the business community as it relates to the Coronavirus and Business Income Insurance.  Please click here for more information.

Planning Guides

Disaster Recovery Guide for Business – Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC)

The VtSBDC Disaster Recovery Guide for Business contains all the steps small business owners need to take, and all the information one would need to gather post-disaster.  Click here for the Disaster Recovery Guide

Legal

Legal and Benefits Updates for Vermonters  – Vermont’s Legal Help Website
COVID-19 Coronavirus: Legal and Benefits Updates for Vermonters | VTLawH…The coronavirus has created many changes in the way Vermont courts are operating, changes to public benefits, ne…

“Abenaki Elders and Artists Struggle in Face of State Reopening”

photo of disposable masks in the shape of x caption shared the same text as title

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 

By Lina Longtoe Schulmeisters (@Askawobi), Program Coordinator and juried artist, and
Hawk Longtoe, Intern and juried artist, VAAA

N’DAKINNA (Vermont, USA) – As the country braces and prepares for new waves of Covid-19 cases amidst state reopenings, the Abenaki population remains vulnerable since the early days of the pandemic.

N’dakinna (Abenaki for our homeland),  is beginning to reopen, with Vermont going as far as to allow “travel outside of Vermont to counties across New England and New York that have a similar active COVID-19 caseload to Vermont and return without quarantining if they do so in a personal vehicle”, according to the Agency of Commerce and Community Development. But many Abenaki citizens are extremely vulnerable in these times.

Based on recent research by the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association (VAAA), the Abenaki population is in desperate need of protective gear (PPE) such as masks, gloves, and other materials as Vermont and neighboring states continue their re-opening plans. Disinfectant and cleaning supplies are also highly needed, in order to keep Abenaki families and businesses safe, while personal care/hygiene products have also been requested alongside arts supplies for children and youth performers. “I worry and pray that everyone is checking on the Elders,” remarked one VAAA artist, “I don’t know if our Elders are getting the help that they need. I check in on the Elders at least once a week and ask if they need anything and hope they aren’t too proud to say yes or accept that help.”

For this reason, VAAA’s team is working behind the scenes to gather donations to help fund our Covid-19 relief and response efforts, including sending care packages to Elders and artists who need PPE items such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, or assistance with acquiring basic necessities such as food and medicine. Due to the fact that VAAA is a grassroots organization, our long-time partner Lake Champlain Maritime Museum will be our acting fiscal sponsor. Visit VAAA’s donation page to see how you can help visit www.abenakiart.org/donations.

VAAA was recently awarded a special project grant from the Vermont Arts Council and New England Foundation for the Arts which will provide direct relief and assistance to 17 Abenaki artists. Vermont Humanities Council awarded VAAA a Cultural Relief grant that will partially support virtual programming such as the Abenaki Heritage Weekend later this summer. Contributions like these serve as direct action to assist the Abenaki community in a meaningful way identified by the Abenaki community.

VAAA represents almost 300 individuals who proudly contribute to not only the four Recognized tribes of Vermont (the Elnu, Nulhegan, Koasek, and Missisquoi Abenaki Tribes) but also contribute to the larger Vermont and American societies. We are essential workers, health care workers, EMTs, tradesmen, business owners, teachers, educators, professors, veterans, EMS students, volunteers, adult and youth leadership, Elders, and much, much more. Just like you and your families. The groundbreaking research discussed here is currently being undertaken by key individuals within the VAAA team. Any publications or presentations based on this data will be made by these same Abenaki culture bearers.

References:

  • Agency of Commerce and Community Development, 2020. Cross State Travel Information | Agency Of Commerce And Community Development. [online] Agency of Commerce and Community Development. Available at: <https://accd.vermont.gov/covid-19/restart/cross-state-travel> [Accessed 14 June 2020].

About the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association (VAAA)

Our mission is to promote Vermont’s Indigenous arts and artists, to provide an organized central place to share creative ideas and professional development as entrepreneurs, and to have a method for the public to find and engage our artists. For more information about VAAA, please visit http://abenakiart.org or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

For more information, contact:

Lina Longtoe Schulmeisters, Program Coordinator, Vermont Abenaki Artists Association, abenaki@abenakiart.org

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Sen. Bernie Sanders Exhibits Abenaki Art in Office

For more information Contact: Vera Longtoe Sheehan, vera.sheehan@abenakiart.org

Image Courtesy of Diane Stevens Photography.

July 26, 2019 – Burlington, VT. – Abenaki art will be on display for the public in Sen. Bernie Sanders Washington DC office from now until November 2019.

Last January, Julia Santos from Senator Sanders office reached out to the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association, and the senator’s representative requested that VAAA loan Abenaki artwork to be displayed in the senator’s office as part of an on-going exhibit dedicated to Vermont artists. When asked whether the senator was interested in displaying traditional or contemporary art, Santos suggested that the art represent the beauty of Abenaki culture.

“As the discussion continued, it became clear that the Abenaki people should exhibit a small collection of both traditional and contemporary artists so the art could tell the story of Abenaki continuity of culture in our homeland,” explained Vera Longtoe Sheehan who is the Director of the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association. “It was also important for the Abenaki language to be incorporated into the exhibit title yet for the exhibit name to be understood by a broader audience.”

As visitors enter Sen. Sanders office they are greeted by the exhibit “Askwa n’daoldibna iodaliWe are Still Here” which features artwork by well-known artists from three out four of Vermont’s recognized tribes. Some of the highlights include: Amy Hook-Therrien’s, of the Koasek Abenaki Tribe, watercolor painting “An Aerial View of N’Dakinna” depicting the tribal homeland without borders; Jeanne Morningstar of the Nulhegan Abenaki Tribe’s wood-burned gourd, which tells the story of Gluskape shooting an arrow into the Ash tree and bringing humans into existence; a beaded Chief’s medallion by Lori Lambert, of the Nulhegan Abenaki Tribe bearing her tribal flag; Vera Longtoe Sheehan, of the Elnu Abenaki Tribe, honoring all Abenaki veterans past and present with a woven bag in the colors of the “Red and Blue Men;” and the photograph Nature’s Palette by Diane Stevens’s of the Nulhegan Abenaki Tribe. This image won the Best in Color award in the Arts Alive Open Photography Contest.

Sheehan goes on to explain how Abenaki designs carry special meanings, especially when woven into wampum belts that are used in ceremonies. Linda Longtoe Sheehan, also of the Elnu Abenaki Tribe, explains the images on the “Marriage Equality Wampum Belt” which bears the images of “two men together, a man and a woman together, and two women together.”

Last but not least, the acrylic painting 18th Century Abenaki Couple that was created by Francine Poitras Jones. This particular artwork was created by referencing an original 18th century watercolor painting of an Abenaki couple which is in the collection of the Montreal Archives.

“It is important that Abenaki artistry is displayed in the Capitol City of the United States of America. We are part of the original fabric that makes up this country.  We continue our governmental relationships with the US Congress delegations as did our ancestors. In this spirit, we must thank Senator Bernie Sanders for hosting our Western Abenaki display and recognizing the importance of indigenous people who still live and thrive in his home state of Vermont,” said Chief Don Stevens of the Nulhegan Abenaki Tribe.

If you are unable to travel to Washington DC, VAAA has another exhibit is on display at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in Vergennes, VT.  “Nebizun: Water is Life” draws its inspiration from Wabanaki (Native American) Grandmothers that have been doing Water Walks to pray for the water. Grandmother Dorene Bernard and others are currently traveling over 600 kilometers through the traditional territories of the Wabanaki Confederacy tribes (Abenaki, Mi’kmaq, Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, and Malecite). Their journey will take them from Nova Scotia to Nebizun, Maine in “a 53-day ceremony where we’re going to walk with the water, to pray for the water and pray for Mother Earth,” Bernard said.

As fellow citizens of the Wabanaki Confederacy, the Abenaki share their concerns for life bringing waters. “We want to show the Abenaki relationship to water and draw attention to water as a fundamental element that is necessary for all life and acknowledge how pollution can change our traditional lifeways and health,” said Vera Longtoe Sheehan who curated both exhibits.

About the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association (VAAA)

Our mission is to promote Vermont’s Indigenous arts and artists, to provide an organized central place to share creative ideas and professional development as entrepreneurs, and to have a method for the public to find and engage our artists. For more information about VAAA please visit http://abenakiart.org or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

For more information, contact:

Vera Longtoe Sheehan, Director Vermont Abenaki Artists Association (802) 579-0049

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Abenaki Fulbright Scholar Returns to Homeland for Dissertation Research

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Inline imageJoin us in congratulating Vermont Abenaki Artists Association educator and artist, Lina Longtoe Schulmeisters on the successful completion of her J. William Fulbright grant! Last year, Lina was selected to join the 2018-2019 US-UK Fulbright Commission Postgraduate Cohort and used the grant to fund her studies at the University of Reading where she is currently an MSc Environment and Development candidate. Lina notes that her academic interests and goals exist, “at the intersection of sustainability, food security and sovereignty, and social justice. I want to ensure that marginalized communities, particularly indigenous ones, are not excluded from decision making in the future.”

Lina Longtoe Schulmeisters graduated from Eckerd College with a BA in Environmental Studies and a concentration in sustainability. She was a 2017 The Udall Foundation Tribal Policy Scholar. Her other accomplishments include being elected onto the University of Reading’s School of Agriculture, Policy and Development’s Student-Staff Committee, as well as Reading University Student Union as the Environment and Development Postgraduate Representative. Notably, she was also awarded one of the Graduate Institute of International Development, Agriculture and Economics ( GIIDAE ) International Scholarships by her University, of which there is only one awardee per continent. She remains proud to serve her Abenaki community by acting as the newly appointed Program Coordinator for the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association and as the Elnu Abenaki Tribe’s official documentarian.

She has recently returned to N’dakinna (our homeland) to complete her dissertation on Abenaki food sovereignty. According to Lina, she wishes not only to fill gaps in the literature about contemporary Abenaki lifestyles but also hopes to remedy some of the damaging ways research has been conducted in Indian Country. As for near future plans, Lina is excited to return to her role as one of the guest lecturers for this year’s Presenting Abenaki Culture in the Classroom where she will be speaking about ethnoscience and our traditional agricultural. Teachers and educators interested in signing up for the professional development, Presenting Abenaki Culture in the Classroom, may do so through the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum at http://tinyurl.com/AbenakiEdu

Available for certification or credit from Castleton University.

Photo courtesy of Lina Longtoe Schulmeisters via Askawobi Productions.

About Vermont Abenaki Artists Association (VAAA)
The VAAA mission is to promote Vermont’s Indigenous arts and artists, to provide an organized central place to share creative ideas and professional development as entrepreneurs, and to have a method for the public to find and engage Abenaki artists. For more information about VAAA, please visit http://abenakiart.org or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

About the Elnu Abenaki Tribe
In 2011, Governor Peter Shumlin granted state recognition to the Elnu Abenaki Tribe based in Southern Vermont. Elnu citizens work to continue our cultural heritage through historical research, lectures and school programs, oral story-telling, singing, dancing and traditional craft making. Our main focus is insuring that our traditions carry on to our children. We are traditionalists trying to maintain our culture in a modern society. For more information about visit http://elnuabenakitribe.org.

Contact
Vera Longtoe Sheehan
Director, Vermont Abenaki Artists Association
vera.sheehan@abenakiart.org
# # #

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 23, 2018

Earth Haven Learning Centre is proud to announce the publication of the Seven Sisters: Ancient Seeds and Food Systems of the Wabanaki People and the Chesapeake Bay Region, written by Dr. Frederick M. Wiseman.

This book tells the story of a remarkable seed chase that is
combined with the reclamation of lost heritage of the Wabanaki people, their history and culture, and the rediscovery of their ancient agricultural technologies. Also highlighted are ancient seeds from the Chesapeake Bay region.

This 7” x 10” full colour publication offers a compilation ofnumerous, heirloom seeds, along with photographs, descriptions and their origins. The book also describes the ancient agricultural systems used by the Wabanaki people, as well as their agricultural ceremonies and calendar. A great book for seed savers and students of environmental and indigenous studies.

“Dr. Wiseman has eloquently laid out our cultural practices, seasons and the meanings behindour overall food systems. I like to refer to our culture as a giant jigsaw puzzle. The puzzle iscomplete and whole only when the different fragmented pieces are put back together. I have found Dr. Wiseman to be a puzzle master with a  unique way of finding the missing pieces to helpthe Abenaki experience come into better focus.” – Chief Don Stevens

Trained as an archaeologist and ecologist, Frederick Matthew Wiseman isdevoted to the promotion of North American Indigenous cultures and thepreservation of their ancient agricultural practices and food systems. Retiredas Professor of Humanities at Johnson State College, he continues to representNative American interests in New England, eastern Canada, the Chesapeake Bay area, Arizona and northwestern Mexico. Over the last twenty years, Dr.Wiseman has completed and published a number of books, films, scholarly andpopular articles and has presented his work at numerous events as a keynote speaker.

For more  information and to order the book, contact earthhavenlearning@gmail.com.
Publication date: April 28, 2018
7” x 10”, Full Color, Soft Cover, 280 pages
Retail price: $28.00 CAN, $22.00 USA

Champlain College Student Develops App for Abenaki Artists

Dustin - Low res

Burlington, VT., August 30, 2017 – The Google Play store has released a new Android app called Vermont Abenaki Artists Association which was designed by Dustin Lapierre, a senior at Champlain College.

It all began two months ago when Lapierre’s professor, Melody Walker Brook, sent an email to the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association (VAAA) stating she had “a student very well versed in computer application” and inquired if VAAA might need an intern with those skills. Although Lapierre had previously worked with desktop apps, he accepted the challenge to develop a phone app.

Lapierre, a Computer Science and Innovation major with a minor in foreign languages said, “I was very excited to get a chance to work with the Abenaki tribe of Vermont in creating a new avenue for them to introduce their culture to the public. Between my skills and my interests, this project was a perfect fit for me, and I hope I was able to help in some way.”

Vera Longtoe Sheehan, Director of the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association, explains that the app, which is entitled Vermont Abenaki Artists Association app “will be used to deliver additional content about our current and future exhibits to the public.” The app contains photos and descriptions of current Abenaki exhibitions, works of art, important regalia and related videos.

Vermont Abenaki Artists Association App - Low resCurrently featured on the app, the traveling exhibit Alnobak: Wearing Our Heritage brings before audiences in New England a group of objects and images that document the way in which garments and accessories that reflect Abenaki heritage have been – and still are – made and used to express Native identity. Wearing Our Heritage was curated by Longtoe Sheehan and Eloise Beil of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM) in Vergennes. The exhibit is currently on view at LCMM until September 3, and then it will move to Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum in Warner, NH and the Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington, CT.

VAAA is happy with the new app that Lapierre developed and is excited for the opportunity to expand interpretation of the exhibition through digital technology.  The Wearing Our Heritage exhibit opened the door for VAAA needing the app. The exhibit and app are among the most recent outcomes of a longstanding partnership between VAAA and LCMM. “For the past decade, as a maritime museum dedicated to Lake Champlain, LCMM has been on the cutting edge of the museum field by working with community stakeholders whose ancestors lived and died in the Champlain Valley for over 10,000 years,” explained Longtoe Sheehan.

As for Lapierre’s future plans, he says “I definitely prefer Desktop programming due to familiarity, but I’m open to mobile development as a career path. Ideally, I would like to work in any field where I can communicate or interact with an international audience.”

Download the app from the Google Play Store today. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=dustin.exhibitapp2

For information contact:

Vera Longtoe Sheehan, Vermont Abenaki Artists Association, vera.sheehan@abenakiart.org or 802 579-0049.

About Vermont Abenaki Artists Association (VAAA)

The VAAA mission is to promote Vermont’s Indigenous arts and artists, to provide an organized central place to share creative ideas and professional development as entrepreneurs, and to have a method for the public to find and engage Abenaki artists. For more information about VAAA, please visit http://abenakiart.org or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

About Lake Champlain Maritime Museum

LCMM is an all-year hub for maritime education that uses the discovery and stewardship of Lake Champlain’s underwater cultural heritage and environment to inspire life-long learning. LCMM brings Lake Champlain’s storied past to life through replica ships, active boat building, on-water ecology programs, nautical archaeology, collections and exhibits, and cultural heritage events. From late-May through mid-October visitors explore LCMM’s 4-acre campus, antique boats, lake history, shipwreck discoveries, step aboard a 1776 gunboat replica and enjoy hands-on and on-water opportunities. 4472 Basin Harbor Road, 7 scenic miles from Vergennes. Find Museum dates, hours of operation, events & reservations, and the Schooner Lois McClure tour itinerary at www.lcmm.org or call 802 475-2022.

 

 

 

Pocumtuck Homelands Festival

The 4th Annual Pocumtuck Homelands Festival, a celebration of Native American Art, Music, and Culture, takes place on Saturday, August 5 from 10am to 7pm at the Unity Park Waterfront in Turners Falls, MA. The event features live traditional, original and fusion music, Native American crafts, story telling ,drumming, games and activities for kids, primitive skills demonstrations, and an impressive selection of books.

The Mashantucket-Pequot archaeology team will be on site to analyze early contact period artifacts brought to the festival. Festival food will be available, including Native American fare. The Pocumtuck Homelands Festival is free, family friendly, educational, accessible and fun for all ages!
This event is sponsored by The Nolumbeka Project, with support by Turners Falls RuverCulture.

Read the full text and schedule on Facebook.

 

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