Water is Life Teach In

Bookmark for Water is Life Teach-in.
Bookmark for Water is Life Teach-in.

The Abenaki Arts & Education Center is excited to announce the Water is Life Abenaki Teach-In on March 25, in Vergennes, VT.

In this all-day workshop, Abenaki Arts & Education Center educators will inspire teachers with interactive, media-rich content that links 12,000 years of Abenaki history with 21st-century civic engagement. Participants will pursue a deeper understanding of the region’s diversity through the voices of the American Abenaki people.


From Lake Champlain to the Connecticut River Valley, the life-bringing waters of N’Dakinna (Abenaki for “Our Homeland”) were our earliest highways for travel. The water itself is important to the plants, fish, animals, birds, and other wildlife that are necessary to our way of life.

Presenters will illustrate the Abenaki relationship to water, awareness of water as a fundamental element necessary for all life, and concern that pollution of water can change our traditional lifeways and the health of all our relations, human and animal.

Participants will investigate resources, interaction with Abenaki culture bearers, and be introduced to culturally responsive and sustaining teaching strategies to effectively incorporate diverse narratives into their curriculum.

Registered teachers and homeschoolers will also be invited to attend additional virtual sessions, and be given access to additional bonus content.The program is presented in partnership between Abenaki Arts & Education Center, and Vermont Abenaki Artists Association, and supported in part by Vermont Humanities.

Four Abenaki tribes were recognized by the State of Vermont following an arduous process which included proving their ancestry and enduring community presence in Vermont. After reviewing tribal recognition applications and verifying the data, the Vermont state legislature voted unanimously three times to recognize the tribes. Gov. Peter Shumlin codified their legal status as Native American tribes for the Elnu and
Nulhegan Abenaki Tribes in 2011 and the Koasek and Missisquoi Abenaki Tribes in
2012. Their legal status as state recognized tribes is now codified into Vermont law.
The teacher training will be held at The Bixby Memorial Free Library in Vergennes, VT.
“The Bixby follows the Vermont Forward Plan and Vergennes City COVID guidelines.
Masks are welcome but not required. The library has industrial HEPA room air purifiers
installed throughout the building, eliminating unwanted dust particles, germs, and
contaminants” says Amber Lay, Assistant Director of the Bixby Library.

For more information and to register for the teacher training please visit https://abenaki-edu.org/

Abenaki Arts and Education Association logo.



Museum Exhibitions

This page includes our current permanent and traveling museum exhibits.


Beyond the Curve Coming Soon

On View

June 17th to October 15, 2023 – Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in Vergennes, VT.

October 21, 2023 to January 6, 2024 – Mad River Valley Arts, Waitsfield, VT.

Reopens at Chaffee Art Center on June 7, 2024 –July 19, 2024.

Chaffee Art Center
16 South Main Street
Rutland, VT 05701
Phone: (802) 775-0356

Beyond the Curve: the Abenaki COVID Experience

In March 2020, the world stood still as businesses and schools around the world closed in response to the global pandemic. Broadcast media, health and government officials repeated
the daily mantra “Flatten the Curve.” Resources became scarce, exposing health disparities and access issues that Native American families face across North America. Here in N’Dakinna (our homeland) Abenaki families turned to traditional medicines and other cultural practices for comfort and survival, connecting with nature and small family groups.

Throughout the dark times that followed, Abenaki and other Native American artists, musicians, and community members expressed the impact of the pandemic on ourselves and our community through storytelling, visual arts, and writing. Our stories of personal experience and perceptions about the disparities, access issues, and historical traumas that contribute to vaccine hesitation are also stories of recovery, survival, and resilience.

The stories and artwork in this exhibit were gathered by the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association through the Abenaki Storytelling Project to create an auto-history of the Native American community in Vermont and the surrounding environs.

Many of the storytellers, artists, and community members who contributed to this body of work found that sharing helped them process their grief. This exhibition goes beyond differences to speak of experiences that are universal.
Together, we move Beyond the Curve.

Waolôwzi (be very well)

Special Thanks To Our Sponsors

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.
Lake Champlain Maritime Museum
Vermont Humanities logo.
Vermont Department of Health logo.

Nebizun: Water is Life (2022-2024)

Nebizun (alternately spelled Nebizon) is the Abenaki word for medicine and the root word Nebi is the Abenaki word for water. The rivers and tributaries of N’Dakinna (our homeland) were our highways for traveling and the water itself is important to the species of fish and other wildlife that is necessary to our way of life. As stewards of the environment Native American people know the importance of having clean water. The Abenaki people know and understand the importance of water in everyday activities related to foodways and healing powers of water. Nebizun: Water is Life draws its inspiration from Native American Grandmothers who have been doing water walks to pray for the water, and the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act. Curated by Vera Longtoe Sheehan.

Click here for exhibit schedule and more details.

Acrylic painting of a water scene with many shades of blues and greens.
Water is Life painting by Francine Poitras Jones

Featured Artists: Charlie Adams (Elnu), Vicki Blanchard (Nulhegan), Joe Bruchac (Nulhegan), Bill Gould (Nulhegan), Francine Poitras Jones (Nulhegan), Jeanne Morningstar Kent (Nulhegan), Melody Walker Makin (Elnu), Lucy Cannon Neel (Nulhegan), Hawk Schulmeisters (Elnu), Breanna Sheehan (Elnu), Linda Longtoe Sheehan (Elnu), Chief Roger Longtoe Sheehan (Elnu), Vera Longtoe Sheehan (Elnu), JES (Elnu), Chief April St Francis Rushlow (Missisquoi), Dorothy Tondreau (Elnu), Amy Hook-Therrien (Koasek), and Aaron York (Missisquoi).

Special thanks to Frederick M. Wiseman, Ph.D. for the usage of his family’s fishing equipment.

Thank you to our partners and supporters!

Image of Vermont Humanities logo.
Logo
Abenaki Arts & Education Center Logo
Image of Vermont Arts Council logo.

Fiber Arts exhibit MKIM

North East Woodland Fiber Art (2014 to present)

Discover hidden secrets of New England Native people as you explore traditional fiber arts that were once used to create their cloths and containers. Learn how one family in the Northeast has continued this tradition unbroken for generations.  Explore plant materials that were and are still used to create soft twine woven bags, baskets and containers. Guest curated by Vera Longtoe  Sheehan.

Featured artists: Jessee Lawyer, Julia Marden, Vera Longtoe Sheehan, and Lina Longtoe.  

On View at Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum. Warner, NH.

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