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.
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.
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.
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.
Enrolled Citizen of the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation
Juried Artist since 2014
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.
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.
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
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 PublicHealth. 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
Enrolled Citizen of the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation
Juried Artist since 2014
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.
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.
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.