“Of Animacy and Afterlives: Material Memories in Wampum Collections” with Margaret Bruchac

Tuesday, June 10th at 6:00 —  7:00 pm EST (60 minutes)

Abstract: This talk focuses on a selection of seventeenth century Northeastern Native American wooden clubs and wooden bowls embedded with wampum beads. Historically, whelk and quahog shell wampum beads, when woven into collars and belts, were considered to be more just ornamental objects. In diplomatic contexts, wampum beads take on a life force – a sense of animacy – that gives them greater meaning. Does that meaning persist even when woven objects are taken apart? When beads are removed from a woven object and set into a wooden object — inside a burl bowl, or along the spine of a war club — how does their original message of war or peace transform?

FREE on Zoom (Registration required)

Zoom link will be sent out to all registrants via email

Speaker Bio: Margaret M. Bruchac (Nulhegan Abenaki) is an ethnographer, historian, and museum consultant. At the University of Pennsylvania, she is an Associate Professor of Anthropology, Associate Faculty in the Penn Cultural Heritage Center, and Coordinator of Native American and Indigenous Studies. She consults on Indigenous cultural heritage and colonial history, and directs a restorative research project, called “The Wampum Trail,” that focuses on the materiality, meaning, and recovery of historical wampum objects (see:

Registration Link:

Image of Basket maker and two children squatting, while he teaches them how to make ash splints, by pounding on an ash tree log, with a short handled sledge hammer.
Abenaki basketmaker, Aaron Wood, showing children how he prepares ash splints for making baskets.


June 18 – 19, 2022

Join the Native American community for a virtual Abenaki Heritage Weekend on June 18th to June 19th.  This special weekend, organized by the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association, Abenaki Arts & Education Center, and Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, gives visitors an Abenaki perspective on life in the Champlain Valley. More details coming soon on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.

Learn more about the weekend by clicking here. We invite you to contact us with specific accommodations you need to facilitate your participation in programs, workshops or any other questions you have. Send emails to

Location: Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, 4472 Basin Harbor Rd, Vergennes, VT 05491

#Abenaki #heritage #weekend #VAAA


October 8, 2022 (Rain date October 9, 2022) – Stowe Events Field, Stowe, VT


To be announced  – Retreat Farm, 45 Farm Square, Brattleboro, VT


This will be the 3rd annual event for IDP. Please visit the website for more information.

Native American Heritage Month

November events to be announced



Image of Jean O'Brien.

Firsting and Lasting: Writing Indians Out of Existence in New England” with Jean M. O’Brien 

Thursday, April 28, 2022 —  4:00 pm EST (75 minutes)

ABSTRACT: In this talk, Jean O’Brien narrates the argument she makes in her book, Firsting and Lasting, that local histories written in the nineteenth century became a primary means by which Euro-Americans asserted their own modernity while denying it to Indian peoples. Erasing then memorializing Indian peoples also served a more pragmatic colonial goal: refuting Indian claims to land and rights. Drawing on more than six hundred local histories from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island as well as censuses, monuments, and accounts of historical pageants and commemorations, O’Brien explores how these narratives inculcated the myth of Indian extinction, a myth that has stubbornly remained in the American consciousness.

FREE (Registration required)

Zoom link will be sent out to all registrants via email

Image of the book cover Firsting and Lasing by Jean M. O'Brien.

Speaker Bio: Jean M. O’Brien (White Earth Ojibwe) is a Distinguished McKnight University Professor of History at the University of Minnesota. She has authored numerous articles and book chapters about the Woodland American Indian region including but not limited to: Monumental Mobility: The Memory Work of Massasoit (with Lisa Blee, North Carolina, 2019); Firsting and Lasting: Writing Indians Out of Existence in New England (Minnesota, 2010); and Dispossession by Degrees: Indian Land and Identity in Natick, Massachusetts, 1650-1790 (Cambridge and Nebraska, 1997 and 2003). 

Jean is a co-founder, co-editor,  and Past President of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association and the association’s journal, Native American and Indigenous Studies. Jean has received numerous fellowships and awards in support of her this field

Registration Link: