Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation
Jesse Bowman Bruchac is a Nulhegan Abenaki Citizen. He is a traditional storyteller, musician, and Abenaki language instructor.
As one of the last fluent speakers of Western Abenaki, he works vigorously to revitalize the language. His efforts have led to the creation of a Western Abenaki website, YouTube channel, Facebook group, and a number of bilingual publications.
Following in the footsteps of his father Joseph Bruchac, Jesse has been visiting schools and universities to share Northeastern Native American traditional stories, music, language, history and culture for over two decades.
As a musician he has produced several albums of Abenaki music. These include collections of traditional songs using drum and rattle, and Native American flute music. He has opened for such notable acts as The Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, and at Woodstock ’94. He won the Best Storyteller Competition at Indian Summer in Milwaukee in 1995. In 1996 he toured Europe as a member of the Abenaki Drum from the Odanak reservation in Quebec. Jesse has also acted as consultant, translator, composer, and language coach for programs on AMC, National Geographic, and PBS.
Jesse began learning stories, songs, and language as a child from his father, as well as elders his family would often visit in Vermont, Maine, the Adirondacks, New Hampshire, and Canada. He began studying the language in earnest at the age of 20 from Cecile Wawanolette in 1992. He studied with her, and dozens of other speakers at the Abenaki reservation of Odanak, Quebec for over a decade. He has continued to learn and teach the language with Cecile’s son Joseph Elie Joubert.
In the fall of 2018 he began co-teaching a course in Wabanaki languages alongside renowned Eastern Algonquin linguist Conor Quinn at the University of Southern Maine.
Pahakwin8gweziakw! Nd’eliwizi Jesse. Nd’aln8ba8dwa, ni waji toji
wlidah8zia. Akwi chigitamokw klawôganowô awskô wagaosao. Tôni kwani aiakw wskitkamigwa, koskitkamigwiba wasanmôganowi! Iolil klozw8ganal kd’achwi kagakim8n8l k’nij8nw8k, k’witamenn8l t8ni adoji abiakw k’wigw8mw8k, t8ni adoji pab8mosaakw, t8ni adoji wlessinakw, ta t8ni adoji wan8giakw. Wlinanawalmezikw, wlipamkannikw, ta s8gnaw8wzikad8wadikw.
Greetings! My name is Jesse. When I speak in the Abenaki language I am so happy (my mind and heart are good). Do not allow your own hearts to be troubled. For while you are in the world, you are the light of the world. Teach these words to your children, share them when you sit in your homes, when you travel about, when you lay down to sleep, and when you rise. Take good care of yourselves, travel well, and find peace within yourselves and among each other!
Vermont Abenaki Artists Association, member since 2018