Abenaki Heritage Weekend 2023

Abenaki Heritage Weekend poster

June 17-18 at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum

On June 17-18, 2023, citizens of the New England Abenaki community will gather at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum to celebrate their history and heritage, and the public is invited! Organized by the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association, this free event is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 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, and other items. 

“The variety and quality of the work created by our Abenaki artists is outstanding,” said Vera Longtoe Sheehan, Executive Director of the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association. “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 of interest to everyone. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy singing and drumming by the Nulhegan Drum — you may even be invited to drum with them. Children and adults alike should not miss storytelling by Abenaki author and historian Joseph Bruchac, and songs for the little ones with Francine Poitras Jones. 

Artists in the Arts Marketplace include Michael Descoteaux demonstrating the making of hand drums; Elnu Abenaki Elder Jim Taylor making wampum beads from whelk and quahog shells; and Linda Longtoe Sheehan weaving wampum, an intricate process using the shell beads. On Saturday, meet basketmaker Kerry Wood. On Sunday, visit the “Make and Take” table, where children can make a gift to bring home for Father’s Day.

A new special exhibit, Beyond the Curve: The American Abenaki Covid Experience will open during Heritage Weekend in the Schoolhouse Gallery, and will be on view all season. Artwork and stories by 20 American Abenaki artists illustrate the impact of the pandemic in the Abenaki homeland and the resilience of Abenaki people during troubled times. Meet the curator, Vera Longtoe Sheehan, for a gallery talk. 

Thanks to Vermont Humanities, Vermont Arts Council, and Vermont Department of Health for their sponsorship of the event. For more information on Abenaki Heritage Weekend, visit: AbenakiArt.org/abenaki-heritage-weekend.

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Melody Mackin

Enrolled Citizen of the Elnu Abenaki Tribe

Juried Artist since 2013
Image of Melody Walker with hand drum.
Melody Walker

Melody Mackin is an educator, mom, and artist.  She works at the Atowi Project. She received her master’s degree in History from the University of Vermont in May 2011. Melody has taught at several institutions an adjunct professor, such as Northern Virginia Community College and taught the History of Western Civilization and US History.

Prior to this, she was an adjunct professor at Champlain College through the EHS Division. Before that, she was an adjunct professor at Johnson State College where she taught “Native American Worldview and Spirituality,” “Native American History and Culture,” and “Abenakis and Their Neighbors.” She gives lectures on a variety of topics, including Abenaki history, women’s issues, and Abenaki political history.

She has done ground breaking research on Abenaki Spirituality and is heavily involved in the Abenaki cultural revitalization movement.  She works with museums and lectures in both the K-12 and collegiate level classroom on topics relating to the Eastern Woodlands and indigenous history.

Melody is a traditional finger weaver, photographer, ribbon work, beadworker, and interprets wampum belts.

Artist Statement

I am an Abenaki historian and I am in love with stories. The finished pieces that I create whether it is a beaded bag or a breechclout with ribbon are created with spirit. They tell my story but they also tell the story of my people. In each stitch I think about the hands that have come before me using the same techniques with the same type of materials. Most importantly, I think of the hands that will create the same artifacts in the future and honor the culture that lights the path through time that we all walk. I spend a lot of time teaching Abenaki history and culture but the artifacts that I shape are the physical manifestations of what being Abenaki means to me. They represent pride, generational love, talent, resiliency, and ultimately they tell a story of survival.

Contact Info

Email: [email protected]

Image of finger woven sash by Melody Mackin.
Finger woven sash
Image of breechcloths by Melody Mackin.
Image of beaded bag by Melody Makin
Beaded bag with spider & web
Image of beaded bag by Melody Makin.
Beaded bag on wool
Image of beaded bag by Melody Makin.
Beaded flower on wool bag trimmed with ribbon

Weaving a thread through the 7 generations, Melody Walker, TEDx Stowe
Melody Walker gives an incredibly powerful and touching insight into rebirth of the Abenaki Elnu tribe. Finding pride in each other and hope for the future, Melody weaves a beautiful talk about finding one’s place in creation and community. 



Alnobak: Wearing Our Heritage. Traveling Exhibit. Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. 


  • Native History Month Program Coordinator, Champlain College, November 2016. Lectured in Native American Leadership and completed Cultural Awareness Training for Diversity Programmers
  • Affirming Traditions Conference Coordinator, Mt. Norris Boy Scout Reservation, October 22, 2016
  • Camel’s Hump Middle School Lecture/Workshop, Lake Carmi: Abenakis Throughout History and storytelling/drumming workshop over the campfire on September 24, 2016
  • Mount Norris Boy Scout Frontier’s Camp: Full days of arts and crafts workshops for a week long camp June-July 2016
  • Abenaki Heritage Weekend Lecture, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum: “Bringing History to Life” on June 27, 2015
  • Chittenden County School System: Personhood Lecture for educators and parents on June 24, 2015
  • Mount Norris Boy Scout Winter Camp: Full day of drumming workshops on March 7, 2015 for students traveling from all over New England
  • Encounter – Vermont Indigenous Culture for the Classroom: Full day lecture on November 9, 2014 for teachers from a variety of schools held at Endeavour School
  • Abenaki Heritage Weekend Presentation: “Haven Project: Seeds of Renewal,” June 28-29, 2014
  • Abenaki Spirituality: Class lecture at Middlebury College on January 21, 2014National Native Seeds School,MA: “Seeds of Renewal,” January 2014
  • Nancy Millette Doucet Memorial Lecture Series Presentations: Various full day lectures twice a semester regarding cultural revitalization topics, 2012-2014
  • Lead Like a Beaver Speaker Series Presentation: “A Shifting of the Glass: Indigenous Perspectives on Leadership,” December 2013
  • Echo Center Harvest Fest: “The House That Raven Built Storytime with Melody Brook” & “Fingerweaving with Melody Brook,” November 29, 2013
  • Champlain College Native American Heritage Month Presentation: “Native American Identity,” November 2013
  • UVM Native American Heritage Month Presentations: “Walking in Two Worlds” and “Rethinking Thanksgiving,” November 2013
  • UVM Continuing Education Diversity Series Presentation: “Identity in the Workplace Through an Abenaki Lens,” May 2013
  • UVM Abenaki Heritage Week Presentation: “Against the Darkness: Indigenous Identity Through the Ages,” April 2012
  • Lake Champlain Basin Program Love the Lake Series: “Abenaki Heritage Center – Haven Project,” February 2012
  • VASS Conference Making Sense of the World: “Haven Project: A Virtual Museum,” December 2011
  • Echo Center Indigenous Summit, Co-Coordinator, November 2011
  • Old Stone House Museum Time Traveler’s/Children’s Camp: “Abenaki History & Culture,” Summer 2009 & 2010
  • Lyndon State College My Story Matters Conference: “Walking in Two Worlds: The Wabanaki Experience,” Keynote speaker, April 2009
  • St. Michael’s College VT Quadricentennial Indigenous Conference, Co-Coordinator, May 2009

Film & Radio

  • Miricle, Irene, “Changeling, AKA Dawnland.” Miricle Girl Productions. 2009. DVD
  • Reger, Deborah. Moccasin Tracks . Recorded February 15, 2013. WGDR 91.1 FM . Web
  • Timrick, Ted. “Before The Lake Was Champlain.” Hidden Landscapes. 2009. DVD
  • Wiseman, Frederick M. Ph D. “1609: The Other Side of History.” 2009. DVD
  • Wertlieb,Mitch. “Interview: El-Nu citizen Melody Walker ” Recorded March 27,2009,  Vermont Public Radio
  • “Vermont Indigenous Celebration: Abenaki Singers – Interview with Abenakis Walker & Melody Brook – Abenaki Dancers, Takara Matthews & Josh Hunt.”  Recorded July, 11, 2009. Channel 17. Web


  • Cum Laude Honors (undergraduate)
  • ALANA Leadership Award (undergraduate)
  • 2009 Ally of the Year Award from the UVM Greek Community.


  • Atowi Project
  • Vermont Abenaki Artists Association
  • Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs, Vice Chair  (2010-2012 and 2016-2017)
  • Native American Quadricentennial Advisory Committee (2008-2009)
  • WAOLOWZI Minority Health and Wellness Program (2006-2009)
  • Vermont Women’s History Project Steering Committee (2005-2007)
  • Voices Against Violence (2005)

Lori Lambert, PhD, DS

Enrolled Citizen of the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation

Juried Artist since 2014
Image of Dr. Lori Lambert.
Lori Lambert, PhD, DS

Lori Lambert is a scriptwriter, photographer, writer, and researcher. In her spare tine she follows her passion of beading.  She has been beading for over 20 years. She learned her craft from the elders on the Flathead Indian Reservation, especially Rachel Bowers and Edna Finley, and from the great granddaughter of Wooden Legs, a Cheyenne Warrior.

She believes that anyone can learn to bead and that anything can be beaded. It takes patience, and a good sense of what the colors can express. She says, “It is important to have a peaceful heart and calm mind otherwise the work will have bad karma.” At Salish Kootenai College, where she is a professor and the Head of the Native American Studies Department, she has taught students to bead stethoscopes, medallions, dance dresses, and even moccasins. In addition to beading, Lori loves doing research, writing, traveling, and hosting television programs for KSKC-TV. She lives on the Flathead Indian Reservation in western Montana with her husband, Dr. Frank Tyro and their band of sled dogs.

 Artist Statement

Although I enjoyed drawing and writing since I was a child, I never thought of myself as an artist.  To me artists were musicians, painters, dancers and their work was shown in museums or theaters. After I married my husband Frank, I paid more attention to Native cultural arts and took courses in reservation arts at Salish Kootenai College, where I teach.  Many of my friends are amazing bead workers and I continually aspire to their level of perfection.

 I have written and published six books.  They are all on amazon.com.  My latest book is entitled “Research for Indigenous Survival: Indigenous research methodologies in the behavioral sciences.  

 My husband Frank is filmmaker and broadcast engineer. As the scriptwriter, we have collaborated on several projects all of which won various awards from “Best Documentary Short” “Aurora”  “Aurora Platinum.” 

 Over the years I have learned that art is writing, bead working, powwow dancing, and script writing and doesn’t necessarily have to be shown in a museum or a theater. 

My most recent book, Children of the Stars: Indigenous Science Education in a Reservation Classroom was written in coordination with Ed Galindo. It is the story of students and a teacher, courage and hope. Written in a conversational style, it’s an accessible story about students who were supported and educated in culturally relevant ways and so overcame the limitations of an underfunded reservation school to reach great heights.


Email: [email protected]

Image of beaded keychains by Lori Lambert.
Beaded keychains
Image of beadwork by Dr. Lori Lambert.
Image of detailed beading on dress by Dr. Lori Lambert
Detailed beadwork on dress



Alnobak: Wearing Our Heritage. Traveling Exhibit. Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. 


  • All of my Relations: Faces and Effigies from the Native World –  Invitational Group Art Exhibit.  Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum, Warner, NH
  • Western Montana Fair: Blue Ribbon for Katiya’s beaded harness
  • Art show at the Sand piper Art Gallery in Polson Montana
  • Salish Kootenai College Art exhibit/ Faculty Art exhibit

 Selected Publications

  •  Lambert, L. (2014). Research for Indigenous survival: Indigenous research methodologies in the behavioral sciences. Pablo: Salish /Kootenai Press
  •  Lambert, L. (2011). Two-Eyed Seeing: Indigenous Methodologies in Psychology. Paper accepted: International Congress for Qualitative Research
  • Lambert, L. (2011). Two-Eyed Seeing: Indigenous Methodologies in Psychology. Paper presented for the Eberhard Wenzel Oration. Australian Health Promotion Association Conference, Cairns, Qld, Australia
  • Lambert, L. (2011). Historical Trauma and Environmental Degradation as Health Disparities for Indigenous People. Keynote paper presented Health Promotion Association of Australia, Cairns, Australia
  •  Lambert, L. & Toby, R. (2009). Gungalu Warrior Dreaming: The biography of Robert Toby senior. Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia (Unpublished Manuscript at the Request of the Family)
  •  Lambert, L (2008). In Our Own Voice: 12 Narratives focusing on culture and health for Grades 8-12. Seattle, WA: University of Washington
  •  Lambert, L.,Wenzel, E. (2007). Issues in Indigenous Health in Critical Issues in Public Health. Ronald Labonte and Judith Greene (Eds). Routledge
  •  Lambert, L. (2005). Paper presented at the Canadian Aboriginal Science and Technology Conference, Cape Breton, Canada: Distance Education Providing College Courses for Remote Aboriginal students
  •  Lambert, L (2005).Cheyenne Daughter. Bloomington, IL: Authorhouse
  •  Lambert, L & Walsh, C. (2002). Heart of the Salmon, Spirit of the People: Ethnicity, Pollution, and Culture Loss. Bloomington: Author House
  •  Lambert, L.A. (2001). International Union for Health Promotion and Education Journal: Promotion and Education. Vol. viii/2-4. American Indian Partnerships: Historical and contemporary
  • Lambert, L. (2000). Keepers of the Central fire: Issues in Ecology for Indigenous Peoples. New York: National League of Nursing Press
  • Lambert, L. (1996). Through the Northern Looking Glass: Breast Cancer Stories told by Northern Native Women. New York: National League of Nursing Press

Awards & Honors (select list)

2014: Conference Chair: American Indigenous Research Association Conference

2013: Conference Chair: American Indigenous Research Association Conference


  • Founder and member: American Indigenous Research Association
  • Member: Indigenous Studies Research Network. Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland
  • Tapestry Institute, Longmont, CO: Board President

2013: The International Women’s Leadership Association: Woman of Outstanding Leadership.

2012: American Indian College Fund Faculty of the Year for Salish Kootenai College

2011: American Indian College Fund Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship Award for Faculty Research

2009 Award: Outstanding Contribution to Distance Learning and Adult Education. The North Carolina State University

2009 Fulbright Scholar: China (6 weeks)

2005: Aurora Award- Platinum Best of Show Cultural Documentary: Lambert, L. & Tyro, F. (2003) Sacred Salmon. Documentary Produced by Salish Kootenai College Media Productions. Frank Tyro, Director, Lori Lambert, Script Writer.2003: Faculty Fellowship Award: United States Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agriculture Service 2002: Faculty Development Award: Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences

 2002: Faculty Development Award: Canadian Embassy

 2001: Sloan –C National Award for “Excellence in Asynchronous Teaching”

 2001: Nominated for Outstanding Employee of the Year: Salish Kootenai College

1999: Course Award: Center for Theology and the Natural Science, Berkeley, Calif.: Science and Religion : Environmental Science and Indigenous Religions.1995 American Society for Canadian Studies in the United States: Nominated for the Distinguished Dissertation Award

1996: Canadian Embassy Research Grant

1995 The Union Institute: Nominated for the Sussman Award for Distinguished


1994: Canadian Embassy Graduate Student Fellowship

1988: The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, Philadelphia, PA: Board    Award.

1982: Montgomery County Community College, Blue Bell, PA: Outstanding Graduate Award.

1980: Temple University, Philadelphia, PA: Outstanding Graduate Award 1980

1979: Gladys Pearlstein Humanitarian Award: Montgomery County Community College, Blue Bell, PA


Vermont Abenaki Artists Association

Francine Poitras Jones

Enrolled Citizen of the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation

Juried Artist since 2014
Image of Francine Poitras Jones

Francine Poitras Jones has been an artist from the time she held her first crayon. She was never satisfied with just staying within the lines; she enjoyed shading and blending colors. Francine started painting with oils at the age of 21. She took a short course in art through a program offered by the city. From there, she discovered acrylic paints and enjoys adding bark, sand, twigs, shells, and other “found” items to her paintings.

Francine is also the illustrator of two children’s books. She collaborated with Brian Chenevert to illustrate a coloring book, Abenaki Animals and most recently, they have collaborated again on the storybook  Swift Deer’s Spirit Game, which is available on Amazon.

She retired from a career in marketing and copy editing to pursue a second career substitute teaching grades K through 5. She also presents Abenaki educational programs. Her artwork is featured in Abenaki curriculum materials, exhibitions, and is used for illustrating books. As well, Francine is currently an educator for the Abenaki Arts & Education Center.

Artist Statement

Like so many other native artists, my favorite subjects are from nature, and my paintings show my passion for Mother Earth. I have drawn and painted almost as long as I can remember. Being able to express my heritage through art is a real gift from Creator.

I especially enjoy painting on wood. I like to frame my work using twigs and other items from nature, including leather. I enjoy working with leather and make pouches, fashioning them from the way the piece of leather looks and letting my imagination run wild.

Image of Doris Mayne in her regalia.
Doris Mayne in her regalia.

In addition to painting and making leather pouches, I make regalia. In 2014, I made my mother’s first regalia from her head (headband) to her toes (beaded moccasins), including her dance fan, dress, and shawl. She was 86 years old at the time and had never danced in the circle because she had never been allowed to express her identity as an Abenaki woman. She crossed over in 2021 just two days before her 94th birthday. I am so happy that she had a chance to dance in the circle and show the world who she was. It will always be one of my fondest memories.


Email: [email protected]

Etsy Store: BlueWolfCrafts

Acrylic painting of a water scene with many shades of blues and greens.
Water is Life
Image of wave painted with pastels by Francine Poitras Jones.
Crashing Wave
Image of beaded moccasins and peaked cap made by Francine Poitras Jones
Beaded Moccasins and peaked cap
Image of beaded Possibles Bag by Francine Poitras Jones.
Beaded Possibles Bag
Image of 18th Century Abenaki Couple painted by Francine Poitras Jones.
18th Century Abenaki Couple
Image of wall hanging by Francine Poitras Jones.
Great Blue Heron wall hanging




  • “Abenaki People Emerging From the Ashes”, show and sale, Two Villages Art Society: Gallery, Contoocook, NH
  • Group Show, Bennington Museum, Bennington, VT
  • Nebizun: Water is Life, Vermont Abenaki Artists Association and Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. Vergennes, VT
  • Perquiman Art League Gallery, Hertford, NC


  • Burlington International Airport – Abenaki Exhibit
  • Alnobak: Wearing Our Heritage. Traveling Exhibit. Lake Champlain Maritime Museum
  • Perquiman Art League Gallery, Hertford, NC


  • Group show office of Bernie Sanders, Washington, DC
  • Nebizun: Water is Life, Vermont Abenaki Artists Association and Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. Vergennes, VT
  • Babaskwahomwôgan: The Spirit Game. Invitational Group Art Exhibit.  Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum, Warner, NH
  • T.W. Wood Gallery, Montpelier, VT


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


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


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

2010 – 2011

Friday Night at the Arts, Petersburg Regional Art Center, Petersburg, VA

Available for Purchase

Etsy Shop: BlueWolfCrafts


  • Vermont Abenaki Artists Association
  • Abenaki Arts and Education Center
  • Perquimans Art League in North Carolina
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