Abenaki Heritage Weekend 2022


For information contact: Francine Poitras Jones

[email protected]


Abenaki Heritage Weekend June 18-19, 2022 at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum

Are you looking for a special experience to start the summer? On June 18th and 19th, citizens of the New England Abenaki community will gather at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum to celebrate their history and heritage and they are inviting you and your family to join them! 

This free event will be open from 11am to 4 pm 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, feather boxes, and other items.

The 2024 Abenaki Heritage Weekend

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Thank you to everyone who attended our 2024 Abenaki Heritage Weekend!

With your support in celebrating Abenaki culture & community we were able to have a wonderful gathering full of language, dancing, music, sharing stories and much more.

About the weekend…….

Vermont’s Native American community for Abenaki Heritage Weekend and Arts Marketplace gathered on June 29-30 at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum to explore Abenaki perspectives on life in the Champlain Valley. Activities included storytelling, craft demonstrations, drumming, singing, and more. Presented by Vermont Abenaki Artists Association, this event brings together citizens of the Elnu, Nulhegan, Koasek, and Missisquoi Abenaki Tribes.

The Open Door Clinic offered FREE health and wellness exams and was well attended.

As always, we are so thankful for the ongoing support from our sponsors and partners Vermont Humanities, Vermont Arts Council, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Abenaki Alliance, and the Abenaki Arts & Education Center.

Even though the weekend is over, you can still visit our newest exhibit, Deep Roots, Strong Branches, which will focus of Abenaki foodways, food security, and gardening throughout the centuries. The exhibit is in the schoolhouse at the museum.

When: June 29 – 30, 2024, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm

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

Cost: FREE

Directions: Click here for Google Map

About the 2024 Abenaki Heritage Weekend:

On June 29 – 30, 2024, citizens of the New England Abenaki community gathered at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum to celebrate their history and heritage, and the public was invited! Organized by the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association, this free event was open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Events scheduled for outside were moved inside when it rained, but the rain did not deter our 700+ guests!

One of the highlights of the weekend was the Native Arts Marketplace of the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association, where visitors could 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 were activities of interest to everyone. The public was advised to bring a picnic lunch so they could sit and listen to singing and drumming by the Nulhegan Drum. Children and adults alike enjoyed storytelling by Abenaki author and historian Joseph Bruchac.

Following was the schedule for the 2024 Abenaki Heritage Weekend:

(subject to changes due to weather)

Following is information about some of the programs that were presented during the weekend:

Assigning Racial Birthright in Vermont 1900 – 1925

Join Prof. Frederick Wiseman as he discusses the early 20th century evidence for a significant Indigenous presence in the birth and other official records of Northwestern Vermont. Combining ethnohistorical research with genealogical standards of proof, Wiseman explores the bicultural social and cultural milieu that permitted state officials to judiciously pen an Indigenous Identity on various official Vermont documents. This new body of documentary evidence leads to a reconsideration of Northwestern Vermont social history and ethnicity just over a century ago.

Always Coming Home (Book Reading and Signing)

Join us for the story of the first in the series of four graphic novels designed for understanding and healing ethnic American Abenaki intergenerational trauma. Always Coming Home is a short story set in an old farmhouse nestled in the Vermont Uplands of the third quarter of the 19th century, and establishes a therapeutic baseline of comforting family, traditional technology, subsistence, and ceremony. The multi-generational family works, learns, gossips, eats, hunts, ice-fishes and dances together in ways that are only now being fully understood in light of the results of new cultural, technological, spiritual and environmental discoveries about the 19th century Vermont Abenaki experience. There will be a book reading as well. A limited number of hot-off-the-press copies of Always coming Home will be available for signing in the Pavilion throughout the day.

Who are the American Abenakis of Vermont? Heritage through place, voice, and craft.

Who are the American Abenakis of Vermont? Heritage through Place, Voice, and Craft

Join Prof. Frederick Wiseman as he summarizes a neglected body of knowledge regarding written, genealogical, graphic, oral-historical, horticultural and material culture of the Vermont American Abenaki community. Using PowerPoint slides and demonstration, Wiseman discusses the high points of his decades of work on the three pillars of American Abenaki ethnic legitimacy: 1.) genealogy (also addressed in detail on Saturday), 2.) cultural continuity (a continuous historic presence in the region) and 3.) cultural competence (deep knowledge of local ancestral tradition). Some of this information is introduced in print in his two new books, Always Coming Home and American Abenaki Beadwork, as well as several new YouTube videos online.

Image of the book Dawn Land by Joseph Brucha on dried grass background.

Remembering The Dawn Land with author Joseph Bruchac (Book Reading and Signing)

The area we now refer to as Western New England has been the homeland of Native people for at least 10,000 years. Blending oral traditions, natural history, archaeology, cultural survival, indigenous language, and the living land itself, the author takes us back to that ancient time. The program will include discussion of the novel, its main characters, and the telling of some stand alone stories from the book.

American Abenaki Beadwork (Book Reading and Signing)

Join Prof. Wiseman at his table in the Pavilion as he introduces his new book, the first of a series of peer-reviewed publications detailing the unique arts of the American Abenaki Community. The book presents an entirely unstudied tradition of important and beautiful regional northeastern art, beginning around 1800 and persisting until modern times. Copies will be available for purchase.

The Abenaki Toddler’s Play Group

The children will lead a few drum songs accompanied by an elder. We will host a few storytelling sessions throughout the day. Free Indigenous-themed books will be provided at no cost to children that visit. HEART bags available by request. Contact [email protected] for more information.

Link for Accessibility information: ? For access questions, contact Elisa [email protected] or (802) 265-0092

For other questions, you may also email Francine at [email protected]

Vermont Abenaki Artists Association is supported by the New England Foundation for the Arts through the New England Arts Resilience Fund, part of the United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund, an initiative of the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with major funding from the federal CARES Act from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Kchi Wliwni (A Big Thank You) to our Supporters, Patrons, and Sponsors

Abenaki Alliance logo with mountains, water, and sun.
Vermont Department of Health logo.
Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op logo.
Lake Champlain Maritime Museum
Vermont Cares logo - Doin' it Safer

Abenaki Arts and Education Association logo with dark blue background and a white design with double curves and florets and words that say Sharing Abenaki Educational Resources with Classrooms Across N'dakinna.

Vermont Arts Council logo.
Cabot logo.


VAAA Report to the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs 1-7-2019

Kwai (hello/greetings) everyone,

As we have just retired 2018 and look forward to 2019, I would like to let you know what a successful year 2018 was. VAAA partnered with Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Flynn Performing Arts Center, and local libraries to present many programs.

School children from throughout Vermont, New Hampshire, and Connecticut went to see our traveling exhibit Alnobak: Wearing Our Heritage and they used the curriculum materials that we developed in their classrooms. Additionally, we had 28 teachers attend our second annual professional development seminar Presenting Abenaki Culture in the Classroom.

Education is a crucial part of VAAA

Upcoming Events

April 19 th, 2018, 7:00 pm – Wearing Our Heritage – Contemporary Abenaki artists and tribal members talk about the meaning of garments, accessories and regalia in their own lives and in the expression of community and tribal identity. This program was created by the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association in partnership with Lake Champlain Maritime Museum and Flynn Center for the Arts, supported in part by a grant from the Vermont Humanities Council. Charlotte Library, Shelburne, VT. Admission is free.

May 7, 2018 – Abenaki Woman

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