The VAAA and the Abenaki Arts and Education Center often work together or with some of our sponsors to present programs during the year. Over the past several years, we have had the opportunity to feature some wonderful programs by artists, genealogists, ecologists, a poet laureate…….and the list goes on.
If you have missed a program that you really wanted to attend, or if you want to revisit any of the programs, please review the following list and click on the provided link to be taken to our YouTube page.
Note that all the videos listed below have Human Generated Captions for Accessibility.Special thanks to the Vermont Arts Council and Vermont Humanities for their support.
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 2013
Jeanne Kent was named Spozowialakws (Morningstar) by an Abenaki Elder many years ago. It means: “One who leads others out of the darkness into the light…a teacher.”
She is an enrolled citizen of the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation of Vermont, and also descended from Nipissing, Montagnais, and Algonquin People from the Quebec area of Canada. Her father was French and Indian; her mother was German. Her art work contains Native American symbols and designs of the Northeast Woodland People with a focus on the Wabanaki group. Her medium is gourd art. Currently, she is working on a series of gourd designs which she hopes will provide a visual language for the woodland people.
“There is something wonderful about putting one’s hands into the soil to plant the seed, nurturing it until the blossoms form, then protecting them until they develop into natural canvases upon which to work my art, ” she said. “Working with gourds is a combination of my art and heritage bound together in a spiritual journey with Mother Earth.”
She has received both state and national awards and participated in one man shows, and group shows through out CT, NY, NH, and MA. Her work has sold internationally via her website. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree and a Master in Art Education from the University of Hartford. Additional courses were taken at Johnson College, VT; Smith College, MA; Trinity College and Yale Campuses, CT, and the Woodstock School of Art, NY. She taught art in public schools for twenty years transversing levels from kindergarten to college. As teacher and artist, she has given in-services on Native crafts and history, to educators, acted as a mentor for student teachers, and offered courses at the University of Hartford Extension Service.
Morningstar serves as an interpreter at the Institute for American Indian Studies, Washington, CT, where she has also lectured and given workshops. One of her gourd rattles is part of their permanent collection. Other permanent collections containing her work are the Chimney Point Museum (VT) and the Roger Williams University (RI). Many pieces are in private collections.
“I have been drawing since I could hold a pencil,” she said. “Once I made a mark, I never stopped experimenting.”
Her work has been shown at the Millbrook Gallery and Sculpture Garden (NH), the Artworks Gallery, (CT), McDaniels-Wiley Gallery, (CT), the Gallows Book Store and Gallery at Trinity College(CT) and the Bushnell Theater Gallery (CT). She was invited to participate in an invitational group show in Boxboro (MA) at the New England Native American Institute which hosted the show: “Walking Between Two Worlds.” She currently shows her work at the Autumn Light Gallery in Avon, CT.
She recently offered lectures and workshops at the Institute for Native American Studies, the Mashantucket Pequot Museum, the University of Connecticut, the Naugatuck Community College, the ECHO Maritime Museum (VT) and numerous social groups.
Affiliations include the Institute for American Indian Studies, (CT), the American Gourd Society, the Northwest Connecticut Arts Council, and the Connecticut Commission on the Arts and the French Genealogy Library (CT).
“Although I am continuously walking between two worlds, I consider myself fortunate for having found a balance between my ancestral cultures.”
Enrolled Citizen of the Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi
Juried Artist since 2013
Fred Wiseman 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.
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.
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 sculpture
“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.
“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)
“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. Missisquoi Valley HS Stone, Wampum, wood.
2004 Museé des Abénakis (QC) (my materials are on permanent exhibit there.)
Great Council Fire Exhibition Museé des Abénakis. Wampum and stonework.
“Against the Darkness” Screened at the Museé des Abénakis (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
“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.)
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
“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 Diplomacy Past and Present. Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. Vergennes, VT.
Parley and Protocol: Abenaki Diplomacy Past and Present. Fort Necessity National Battlefield, Farmington, PA.
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
“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
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
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.
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.
“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
The Wabanaki World Vol. I : Decolonizing a taken prehistory of the Far Northeast University Press of New England
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
“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)
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 lcmm.org/navigating
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)
____ and Melody Walker. The Abenakis and their Neighbors: Teachers and Interpreters resources. Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs. Montpelier, VT.
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. P
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
Enrolled Citizen of the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation
Juried Artist since 2018
Joseph Bruchac lives in the Adirondack Mountains of New York in the house where his grandparents raised him. An enrolled citizen of the Nulhegan Band of the Abenaki Nation, much of his work draws on his native ancestry.
He and his sons, James and Jesse, work together in projects involving Native language renewal, traditional Native skills, and environmental education at their Ndakinna Education Center (www.ndakinnacenter.org) on their 90 acre nature preserve.
Author of over 180 books for young readers and adults, his experiences include teaching in Ghana, running a college program in a maximum security prison and 40 years of teaching martial arts.A featured storyteller at numerous festivals, including the British Storytelling Festival, Clearwater, Corn Island, and the National Storytelling Festival, his Keepers of the Earth books (co-authored with Michael Caduto), which use traditional Native American stories to teach science, have over a million copies in print.
“His novel CODE TALKER, about the Navajo marines in World War II who used their language to create an unbreakable code, was named by TIME magazine as one of the 100 best books of all time for young adults.”
Enrolled Citizen of the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation
Juried Artist since 2018
Jesse Bowman Bruchac is an enrolled 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.
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!