frederick m. wiseman, PHd

Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi

Image of Dr. Fred Wiseman
Frederick M. Wiseman, PhD

Artist Bio

Fred teaches Wabanaki decorative arts, ceremonial oratory, dance and song based on historical precedent, but adapted for modern venues and audience.

His most recent (2010-) work focuses on the choreography, stagecraft, regalia and ceremonial accoutrements for dances and ceremonies associated with the agricultural and ceremonial calendar, from Winter solstice observances through spring planting ceremonies, to the various sun dances through the green corn and harvest supper observances.  However, In the past, he has worked in other media and formats from “fashion shows” to ceremonial gaming, to the crafting of arms and armor.

 Fred uses whatever is necessary to accomplish the goal, from set (stage) design to rock and shell carving to clothing to video and printed word.

Artist Statement

Frederick M. Wiseman, Ph.D, Director

Wôbanakik Heritage Center

Swanton, VT

I am a scholar and artist whose purpose is to connect the Indigenous Peoples of Vermont and their environs to their stylistic heritage by all means necessary, whether it be through film/graphic arts, the performing arts or the decorative arts.  Professional goals and objectives revolve first around repatriation, the converting of written data, or archival music artifacts and imagery held by Euroamerican institutions into formats and systems of knowing usable by Indigenous people and organizations for cultural reclamation and revitalization.  Second, it incorporates tradition and revelation as guideposts in this work.  Third it incorporates going beyond recaptured tradition to synthesize antique materials and motifs with the contemporary, to envision an alternative, syncretic stylistic world that could answer –“what if Genocide of Northeastern Natives had been less complete?”  Southwestern and Plains Native styles rooted in deep time arts tradition flourish in the West, why not allow this to happen in Indigenous Vermont? 

My work is not available for sale to the Euroamerican public, it exclusively produced for tribal governments, organizations and citizens and lent or given at no cost to the recipient.  The artist’s designs and productions, ranging from regalia to wampum belts and collars belong to the Pleasant Point and Indian Township Governors (ME), The Citizens of the Aroostook Band of Micmacs (ME), the Grand Chief of the Seven Nations at Akwesasne (NY), and the Chiefs and Tribal Councils of Missisquoi, Nulhegan and Koasek (VT). 

However, my work has been exhibited and studied over the years at the various venues listed below.


(802) 868-3808

Image of graphic design by Dr. Wiseman.
Frederick Wiseman, Graphic Designer, 2013

Image of Wabanaki (Micmac) style Pipe.
Wabanaki (Micmac) style Pipe. Catlinite bowl, ash wood stem, blue jay, yellow flicker and owl feathers, red ribbon.

Image of Paleo-Indian Sea-Mammal hunter.
Paleo-Indian Sea-Mammal hunter, complete with mountain grizzly claw headdress, bladder (imitation) waterproof tunic, Arctic-phase bobcat knife case; hickory, mammoth-ivory and stone repeating harpoon with hemp lanyard. Designed by Frederick Wiseman.

Image of girl holding staff with wampum belt made by Fred Wiseman.
Belt on staff made by Dr. Wiseman

 Exhibit, event  and performance history: 

1994    “The Spirit of the Abenaki.”  Chimney Point Historic Site. Jewelry and sculpture.

1994-1995  “The Light Of the Dawn.”  Chimney Point Historic Site. Jewelry and wood


1995  “Shamans, Magicians and the Busy Spider”  Rochester Museum of Art. Rochester, NY.

            Jewelry and wood sculpture.

            “Abenaki Dawn”  American Indian Institute.  Washington, CT.

            Jewelry and wood sculpture.

1996  “Light from the Dawnland”  San Diego Museum of Man.  San Diego, CA. Jewelry and wood


1998- 2008 Abenaki Tribal museum, Swanton, VT (All museum installations)

1999 The great Council Fire Performance. The Akwesasne Cultural Center (NY)

2001  “Wabanaki Wampum”  Old York (ME)  Historical Society. Wampum belts

            “Notes from the Underground”  Shelburne Museum.  Stone wampum, wood

2001 Kanien’kehaka Raotitionhkwa Culture Centre (Kahnawake QC) “Seven and Six (Nations) Exhibit.

2001-2003 New Hampshire Historical Society Museum, various exhibits and event)

2004     “Wabanaki Memories.  Missiquoi Valley HS Stone, Wampum, wood.

2004- Musee des Abenakis (QC) (my materials are on permanent exhibit there.)

2005    Great Council Fire Exhibition Museé des Abénakis.  Wampum and stonework.

             “Against the Darkness” Screened at the Museé des Abenakis (Odanak, QC),

            March 22, 2005

            “Against the Darkness” Screened at Mashentucket Pequot Museum.

            Mashentucket, CT.  Oct. 16, 2005

            “Against the Darkness” (35 Minute digital video) Screened at the Vermont

          Archaeological Society, Oct. 1, 2005

2007  “The Material Heritage of 17th Century Vermont.  Lake Champlain

           Quadricentennial “Workshop” St. Michael’s College, June 13, 2007

2007-2013 The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, June, Indigenous Heritage Celebration (also

            my materials are on permanent exhibit there.)

2008- Passamaquoddy Section of the Downeast Heritage Museum, (ME) (my materials are on

            permanent exhibit there)

2010  ECHO Science Center and Lake Aquarium, Materials of Culture: 10,000 years of Abenaki

            Attire (also my materials are on permanent exhibit there.)

2010- Indian Township Museum (ME), (my materials are on permanent exhibit there.)

            Wapohnaki Museum (ME) “Language and Object” Exhibit and Discussion.

2011    “Before the Lake Was Champlain” Screened at the New England Antiquities Research

            Association Conference, Burlington, VT. October 2011

2013    “1609:the other side of history.” Screened at the Swanton 250th Anniversary

             “Dinner and a Movie” Program. Swanton, VT, April 28, 2013


Traditional Sources, Contemporary Visions – Invitational Group Art Exhibit. Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Vergennes, VT

All My Relations: Faces and Effigies from the Native World – Invitational Group Art Exhibit. Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum, Warner, NH.


Parley and Protocol: Abenaki Dipolomacy Past and Present. Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. Vergennes, VT.


Parley and Protocol: Abenaki Dipolomacy Past and Present. Fort Necessity National Battlefield, Farmington, PA.


1987   Mapping antiques.  Maine Antique Digest, Waldoboro ME. Feb. 14-15C.

           Folk art and antiques: a different view.  Maine Antique Digest, Waldoboro, ME.

           The case of the peripatetic candleholder.  Maine Antique Digest, Waldoboro, ME. 

            July 34-35 B.

1990   Some Queen Anne furniture of the Federal Period.  Maine Antique Digest,

            Waldoboro ME. Jan.

1991   “The Colchester Jar” pp. 98-99; “Quillwork trinket box; thimble cover, notions

            basket and pincushion”; “Beaded reticule” pp. 178-183; “Rectangular bark

            container”, pp. 204-205; and “Tipi and canoe”, pp. 216-217.  In Graff, N.P.

            Celebrating Vermont: Myths and Realities.University Press of New England.Hanover

            American Indian Art and Native Americans. Maine Antique Digest, Waldoboro, ME.

1994   Bapwoganal Alnobaiwi: The Games of Wôbanakik  Cedarwood Press.  Underhill,

           VT.  3 figures. 10 pp.

           Ngwegigaden, an Abenaki year.(11″ X 17″ Three-color poster and accompanying handbook).    

          Cedarwood Press.  Underhill, VT. 

Wôbanakik(11″ X 17″ Three-color poster map and accompanying handbook)

           Cedarwood Press.  Underhill, VT. 

We were always here. (9″ X 17″ Two-color poster and accompanying handbook)

            Cedarwood Press.  Underhill, VT. 

1995   The Gift of the Forest. Ethan Allen Homestead Abenaki Handbook Series # 1.

           Lane Press.  Burlington, VT. 10 figures. 12pp.

           Wôbanakik, the Ancient Land of the Dawn. (18″ X 24″ Four-color map and

           accompanying handbook)  Cartography by Kevin Ruelle.  Horseman Press.  Burlington, VT  

           Wild Plant Foods of the Abenaki.  Ethan Allen Homestead Abenaki Handbook  Series # 2. Lane 

           Press. Burlington, VT. 12 pp.

            Abenaki Clothing  Ethan Allen Homestead Abenaki Handbook Series  # 3. Lane Press. 

            Burlington, VT. 7 figures. 12pp.

            An Annotated bibliography and resources list for Abenaki studies.  Cedarwood Press.

            Underhill, VT.  22 pp.

            “New Abenaki Booklets available.”  in The Oracle.  Summer, 1995.  Ethan Allen Homestead. 

            Burlington VT.  p. 3.

            A view from within.  Vermont Humanities.  Winter 1994-95.  Vt. Council on the Humanities,

            Hyde Park, VT. p. 6.

1996     History in beads.  Historic Roots. Pp. 25-30  Montpelier, VT.

1997     Linda Pearo, Frederick Wiseman, Madeline Young and Jeff Benay.   New Dawn:

             The Western Abenaki, a Curricular Framework for the Middle Level. Franklin

              Northwest Supervisory Union Title IX Indian Education Program, 14 First St. 

              Swanton, VT 05488

1997      Wobobial. (18X26 pictorial poster and accompanying handbook)  Abenaki Tribal Museum. 

              Lane Press, Burlington

2000     The Abenaki and the Winooski.  In  L. Krawitt.  The Mills at Winooski Falls. Onion  River Press. 

             Pp. 7-10 Winooski

2001     The Voice of the Dawn University Press of New England.  Hanover, NH.

2003     “Abenaki”, “Abenaki Heritage Days” p. 31; “Mahicans” pp. 194-195; “Missisquoi

             Village” p. 207;  “Winoskik” 327  in  Duffy, J, S. hand and R. Orth.  Vermont

              Encyclopedia  University Press of New England, Hanover

              “Truthless”.  Seven Days, Sept. 10-17, 2003. p. 4A

2005    The Wabanaki World Vol. I : Decolonizing a taken prehistory of the Far Northeast   

             University Press of New England.

2005     Blom, Deborah, James Petersen and —–  “Repatriation and Monument Road:

             Abenaki and archaeologists efforts to find a solution.”  In Jordan Kerber.  Cross Cultural   

             Collaboration. University of Nebraska Press

2008     “Changeling” Video, Miraclegirl Productions.  1522 Harvard Street Apartment 5,

               Santa Monica, CA (Producer)

              “Calumet to crisis and back.” (Video) Franklin Northwest Supervisory Union

               Office of Indian Education (Producer/Director/Filmographer)

2009      At Lake Between.  Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Basin Harbor, VT.

              Champlain Tech Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Basin Harbor, VT.

              “1609: The other side of history. Wôbanakik Heritage Center, Swanton, VT  (Producer/Director)

2009     “1609: Quadricentennial Curriculum”  Lake Champlain Maritime Museum

2010      Baseline 1609.  Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Basin Harbor, VT.

             “Before the Lake Was Champlain” Hidden Landscapes Productions  1 Hewins  Farm Rd.

              Wellesley, MA  (Co-Producer)

              “The New Antiquarians” Hidden Landscapes Productions  1 Hewins Farm Rd.

               Wellesley, MA 02481 (Co-Producer) 

2011    ____ and Melody Walker. The Abenakis and their Neighbors: Teachers and Interpreters resources.

            Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs. Montpelier, VT.

2012    Reclaiming Western Wabanaki Ceremony: A Handbook for Cultural Revitalization. 

             Wôbanakik Heritage Center, Swanton, VT  Indigenous Vermont  Series 2012:8. 313pp.

2013    Theo Panadis sings Wabanaki songs. Wôbanakik Heritage Center, Swanton, VT 

             Indigenous Vermont Series 2013:4. CD

             Wabanaki Confederacy political and ceremonial songs. Wôbanakik Heritage

             Center, Swanton, VT  Indigenous Vermont Series 2013:5.

             Wabanaki Songs: Fun, Dance and Ceremony. Wôbanakik Heritage Center,

             Swanton, VT  Indigenous Vermont Series 2013:6

             Lets Learn Abenaki Songs I. Wôbanakik Heritage Center, Swanton, VT 

             Indigenous Vermont Series 2013:8.

             n.d.        Proposed K-12 Curriculum on Indigenous Vermont Studies Manuscript housed in

                 the Wôbanakik Heritage Center archives


1998        Highest ceremonial honors, Abenaki Nation at Missisquoi

2001        Great Peace of Montreal Honor Ceremony and Honor Inscription Museé de Montreal, Montreal, QC

2002        Keynote Speaker, Native American Studies in New England, University of  New Hampshire

2005        Wampum Carrier, Seven Fires Alliance, Akwesasne Reserve, NY

2007        Keynote address.  Vermont Alliance for Social Studies, Burlington, VT December, 7, 2007

2009        “Governor’s Award”  Vermont Lake Champlain International Ceremony  July 11, 2009

2010        Appreciation Ceremony. Missisquoi Abenaki Swanton, VT.

               Silver Astrolabe Award Lake Champlain Quadricentennial Commission

2011       Appreciation Ceremony. Missisquoi Abenaki Swanton, VT.

2012       Elnu Tribe Honor Ceremony Recipient of Gratitude. Basin Harbor, VT

               Nulhegan Band Honor Ceremony. Basin Harbor VT


Vermont Abenaki Artists Association, Juried Artist since 2013