Bridging Perspectives – Current Speaker Series

Bridging Perspectives - Indigenous narratives, identity, and healing - Speaker Series

Vermont Abenaki Artists Association annual Speaker Series is a timely exploration into the context of Abenaki Indigenous experiences and narratives. This year’s series aligns with our vision for Abenaki Unity, presenting vital topics that resonate with the challenges faced by Indigenous communities across North America, including the American Abenaki Tribes.

All opinions expressed by the Program Presenters are solely their current opinions and do not reflect the opinions of the program hosts, program partners, and sponsors.

More sessions and dates will be announced soon.

Sponsored by

Vermont Department of Health logo.

March 7, 2024 06:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

“Who is a “Legal” Indian? – Navigating Federal and State Laws in the US and Canada” with Paul-René Tamburro

This thought-provoking session addresses the ongoing struggle for individuals to assert their right to declare and determine their own cultural identity, seeking equitable representation within larger mainstream communities and governmental entities.  Navigating Federal and State Laws in the US and Canada, Paul-Rene Tamburro will explain who is Indian biologically, politically, and culturally. This program will unravel the complexities of Indigenous identity within the legal framework, examining federal and state laws that shape recognition and rights for tribes, with a focus on the Abenaki community. Join us in navigating the intricate terrain of Indigenous identity, acknowledging unique challenges, and shedding light on the legal landscape that significantly impacts these communities.

Paul-René Tamburro, PhD Anthropologist with an MA in Linguistics and MSW in Indian Child Welfare, is Director of Sunrise Drum, Inc. an internationally-focused Indigenous cultural studies organization. He has taught at numerous universities and colleges in the US and Canada, including Indiana University, Indiana State University and Purdue University in Indiana, taught at Heritage University in Washington State and served as Director of the Reservation Based/Community Determined Program at The Evergreen State College (TESC); and taught at University College of the Cariboo, and Thompson Rivers University (TRU) in Kamloops BC, Canada, in Washington State. Read More . . . link to Sunrise Drum website.

Sponsored by the Vermont Department of Health

All opinions expressed by the Program Presenters are solely their current opinions and do not reflect the opinions of the program hosts, program partners, and sponsors.


Bridging Perspectives speaker series talk on Intergenerational Trauma by Andrea Tamburro.

March 21, 2024 06:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Intergenerational Trauma: Healing and Resilience – Andrea Tamburro, MSW, EdD.

This presentation was recorded and will be posted soon.

Questions? Send your questions to [email protected]

This 60-minute Zoom program provides a space to discuss the enduring impact of colonization, which triggers both past and current struggles for Native American individuals and families, with a particular focus on the Abenaki and other Northeastern tribes. Together, we aim to foster a deeper understanding and create a supportive dialogue around current challenges stemming from historical injustices that continue to affect communities today. Dr. Tamburro will explore healing practices that play a pivotal role in bringing communities together and promoting resilience. This program offers a journey of mutual understanding, healing, and resilience, fostering stronger and more connected communities for a better future.

Andrea Tamburro (Piqua Shawnee) has extensive teaching and research experience in both Indigenous and non-Native settings. She was education director for a federally recognized tribe, has served as coordinator of multicultural programs in a mental health center, and as family services and mental health specialist in early childhood education programs. She continues to teach about Indian Child Welfare and Multi-generational trauma. Read More . . . link to Sunrise Drum website.

Sponsored by the Vermont Department of Health

All opinions expressed by the Program Presenters are solely their current opinions and do not reflect the opinions of the program hosts, program partners, and sponsors.


Dr. Joseph Bruchac presents Remembering the Dawn Land - a Bridging Perspectives Speaker Series presentation.

April 4, 2024 06:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Remembering The Dawn Land: A presentation on the historical novel Dawn Land by its author, Joseph Bruchac.

This presentation was recorded and will be posted soon.

Questions? Send your questions to [email protected]

The area we now refer to as Western New England has been the homeland of Native people for at least 10,000 years. Relying on oral traditions and the related elements of natural history, archaeology, cultural survival, indigenous language, and the living land itself, the author takes us back to that ancient time. The heart of the story is the hero’s journey, with his faithful dogs by his side, of the book’s main character Young Hunter. The program will include discussion of how the novel — and its main characters — came to be, the telling of some of the stand alone stories from the book, and a Q&A session at the end. Award-winning author, storyteller, and musician, Joseph Bruchac has published work in virtually every genre since his first collection of poetry in 1971. The author of over 180 books, his novel Code Talker was recently listed by Time magazine as one of the 100 best YA books of all time. His experiences include three years of volunteer teaching in West Africa, eight years of running a college program inside a maximum security prison, and half a century of studying and teaching such martial arts as pentjak-silat and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. The current Poet Laureate of Saratoga Springs, New York, he’s the Executive Director of the Ndakinna Education Center, a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, and an enrolled citizen of the Nulhegan Abenaki tribe.

Sponsored by the Vermont Department of Health

All opinions expressed by the Program Presenters are solely their current opinions and do not reflect the opinions of the program hosts, program partners, and sponsors.


Bridging Perspective speaker series presentation Discounting Whiteness - -Adam Kersch, PhD.

April 11, 2024 06:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Inoculating Whiteness: Settler Colonialism, Whiteness, & Infectious Diseases in Sheet’ka – Adam Kersch, Ph.D.

Click here for the required advance registration.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

This event is FREE, but donations are appreciated.

Questions? Send your questions to [email protected]

When colonizers arrived in Sheet’ka (Sitka, Alaska), the homeland of the Tlingit people, they imported devastating infectious diseases. Russian and Euro-American colonizers’ writings describe these diseases as a marker of colonizers’ self-assumed superiority. Colonizers saw vaccines as introducing a material part of European technology that would ultimately lead to Tlingit people’s acceptance of Russian and American colonial rule. In other words, they saw vaccines as inoculating Tlingit people with whiteness. Research on this project involved archival analysis, interviews, and participant observation. It began after receiving permission from Sitka Tribe of Alaska’s Tribal Council and included reports to the Tribal Council on vaccine hesitancy during the pandemic. This talk will discuss over 200 years of colonial history and how colonizers used ideas about infectious diseases and vaccinations to justify attempted ethnocide. It will also discuss how Tlingit leaders responded to other manifestations of whiteness during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Adam Kersch (he/they) is a Jewish-American researcher whose work has focused on race, public health, policy, and immigration. They are committed to community-led and community-oriented research and engaging with both academic and non-academic audiences. He works in memory of his grandparents, who survived attempted genocide.

After completing his dissertation – which focused on race, settler colonialism, and public health policy during infectious disease outbreaks in Sheet’ká (Sitka, Alaska) from 1800 to present – he earned his PhD in anthropology at the University of California, Davis in 2022. His masters research – completed in 2016 with the Department of Anthropology at the University of Central Florida – examined how refugees, asylum-seekers, and undocumented immigrants in Sicily navigated gaps in European Union and Italian healthcare policies. In their spare time, Adam enjoys spending time with their wife and dog, writing music, hiking, spending time outdoors, reading, and crafting. Adam is immensely grateful for the opportunity to work with and learn from the TRC and Vermonters.

Sponsored by the Vermont Department of Health

All opinions expressed by the Program Presenters are solely their current opinions and do not reflect the opinions of the program hosts, program partners, and sponsors.


Bridging Perspectives Speaker Series - Fred Wiseman, PhD - A Case Study in Continuity of Culture

May 2, 2024 06:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Hunting and Fishing: A Case Study in Cultural Continuity – Frederick M. Wiseman, Ph.D.

Click here for required advance registration

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

This event is FREE, but donations are appreciated. Questions? Send your questions to [email protected]

American Abenaki people in Vermont were and are culturally competent in many types of Indigenous hunting and trapping techniques as well as the use of traditional hunting spirituality. They have used sophisticated Native American technologies such as canoes and snowshoes to get to hunting grounds, stayed in the field in wigwams or tents, fished with spears and handlines, hunted and killed game with lances, bows, and guns, and brought it back to camp for processing. Wiseman presents abundant evidence of these activities in the form of objects, tools, historic photographs, family stories and distinctive skills passed down through generations of Abenaki families all with good documented historical Vermont provenance.

Dr. Wiseman trained as a Paleoethnobotanist at the University of Arizona’s Laboratory for Paleoenvironmental Studies and has done botanical, phytogeographic and ethnobotanical fieldwork in the American Southwest and Northwestern Mexico. After serving as Assistant Professor of Biogeography in the Department of Geography and Anthropology at Louisiana State University and as Principal Research Scientist at the MIT Center for Materials Research in Archaeology and Ethnology, where he taught courses on the ecology of the rise of Indigenous American Civilization, Wiseman returned to his Vermont roots, to teach and do research at the former Johnson State College until his retirement as Professor and Department Chair in 2014.  Since 1987, he has focused on the Indigenous Wabanaki people of the far Northeast, having published popular and academic books, curricula and film on modern Indigenous culture, prehistoric archaeology, and Contact Period ethnohistory, politics and technology.

He was instrumental in the research and political advocacy that led to four Vermont Indigenous bands being recognized by the State of Vermont, for which Wiseman was awarded the first Lifetime Achievement Award by the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association. In 2018, Wiseman was honored for his work in Wabanaki revitalization in a special ceremony at Indian Township, Maine. Daniel Nolette, executive Director of the Odanak First Nation’s tribal government, recently “praised Wiseman’s work” (“A false narrative….,” Vtdigger.org, 11/14/2023), and on 11/30/2023 Odanak Chief Rick Obomsawin invited him to present his work to the Tribe.

His experience in Wabanaki and ethnobotanical studies have been brought to bear on the archaeological and Colonial Period ecology and subsistence of Northeastern Indigenous peoples and their neighbors. With his help, Northeastern Native Communities from Maryland to New Brunswick are reviving their interrupted deep-time agricultural systems, working with experimental gardens to re-configure an almost lost Northeastern agricultural heritage. He has partnered with Vermont Organics Reclamation of St. Albans, VT to create the first Northeastern agroforest based upon his paleoenvironmental work in ancestral Indigenous ecosystem management. His recent work focuses on American Abenaki wellness and trauma response and the specific use of cultural revival as a way of mitigating trauma and working toward individual and community health and wellness.  He has just completed a yearlong series of workshops, a response to public concerns regarding Vermont Abenaki cultural legitimacy, consisting of illustrated lectures, demonstrations, exhibits of relevant material culture and discussions of the history of the Abenaki revival, settlement patterns, wellness, language, subsistence, ceremony, and material culture.

Sponsored by the Vermont Department of Health

All opinions expressed by the Program Presenters are solely their current opinions and do not reflect the opinions of the program hosts, program partners, and sponsors.

Traditional Arts Spotlight by Vermont Folklife – Abenaki Basket Making and Fiber Art

Vermont Folklife logo.

Sherry Gould (Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation) and Vera Sheehan (Elnu Abenaki Tribe), are both lifelong artists and their apprenticeship structure is unique. They are both recognized in their communities as expert artists in different art forms. Sherry is a basket maker. In 2006 she became a juried basketmaker through the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen in 2006, being the first Native American artist in the league. Sherry and her husband, Bill, work to maintain basketmaking as part of Abenaki culture through teaching other Abenaki people through traditional arts programs in New Hampshire and Vermont. Sherry is also a state representative in New Hampshire. Vera practices knotting: Abenaki textile weaving using natural fibers such as milkweed (also referred to as twining). She is also an educator and activist, the Director of the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association, and the Founder of the Abenaki Arts & Education Center, and previously a Museum Educator and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.

Click here to read the full article on the Vermont Folklife website and listen to recordings by Sherry and Vera

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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Our Turn: Sharing Community, Rutland Herald. May 4, 2023

Newspaper with News headline

Is Vermont being lobbied for Nuremberg Laws?

Race-based attacks and harmful stereotypes are putting Vermont’s Abenaki communities in jeopardy, and it needs to stop. This week is Abenaki Recognition and Heritage Week, yet international special-interest groups are threatening state-recognized Abenaki tribes with cultural erasure in an effort to position themselves for recognition and rights within the United States.

Click here to read the full article in the Rutland Herald.

Governor Recognized Abenaki Recognition and Heritage Week. Saint Alban’s Messenger. May 4, 2023

Newspaper with Press Release as header.

SWANTON — For the fifth consecutive year, Gov. Phil Scott has recognized May 1-7 as Abenaki Recognition and Heritage Week.

Abenaki Alliance logo with mountains, water, and sun.The State of Vermont recognizes four Western Abenaki tribes: the Elnu Abenaki, the Koasek Traditional Band of the Koas Abenaki Nation, the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation, and the Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi St. Francis-Sokoki Band.

“This week we celebrate andhonor the heritage and culture of the Abenaki people in Vermont,” Scott said in a press release. “Vermont is stronger for the contributions of Indigenous people.” Click here to read the full article.

Late Period (1890-1970) Indian Baskets In Vermont, PDF Series

by Frederick Mathew Wiseman, Ph.D.

 

Publication from the the Indigenous Vermont Series 2012:9, published courtesy of Wôbanakik Heritage Center.

EXCERPT FROM INTRODUCTION

 “The prime directive of Haven is to reclaim lost, fragmented or otherwise damaged cultural practice and belief from Indigenous Vermont, and to a certain extent, applicable forms of documentation from neighboring areas.  A second important principle is the repair of fragmented or damaged cultural practice by using all available reconstructive/healing tools.  The third function of Haven is to make the repaired information available to those Indigenous Vermonters and their neighbors, who have any interest in reviving lapsed culture.  The fourth reason; and the one that gives Haven its name, is to safely archive this information in a format that will be of use to future Indigenous generations, if the current one is uninterested. 

Probably the one craft that is universally recognized as giving Indian Identity is the ash splint basket.  Although probably not made before the 18th century, Indigenous Vermonters, as well as other regional tribes became masters of the craft.  Much of the early history of Indigenous Vermont Baskets are to be found in other Haven publications.”

Late Period (1870-1970) Indian Baskets In Vermont – Part 1. 11 pages.

  • Introduction
  • Part1: Basket History and Technology & Preparing the materials for the Fancy Basket

Late Period (1870-1970) Indian Baskets In Vermont – Part 1A. 11 pages.

  • Decorative overweave, or “Cowiss”
  • Basket Handles and Hinges

Late Period (1870-1970) Indian Baskets In Vermont.  Part 2. 11 pages.

  • Part Two: Baket Types Represented in Vermont
  • Multi-purpose work and arm baskets

Late Period (1870-1970) Indian Baskets In Vermont Part 2A. 13 pages

  • Knitting and Tatting baskets
  • Baskets for the Hall Table
  • Baskets for the Dining Room
  • An unclassified basket
  • Hampers. goose down baskets and other large, “fancy” baskets
  • Basket for the Field and Lake
  • Bibliography

Back to THE HISTORIC INDIGENOUS ARTS OF  VERMONT and NEW HAMPSHIRE

About Us

The Vermont Abenaki Artists Association was a long time in the making. After the state of Vermont recognized the four tribes, we realized there was a need to collaborate so that our artists could be found. Please read Our Story, which follows, and then click on Abenaki History for detailed information about the types of art created by our people in the past and present.

Abenaki Historic Art↗

Learn about the historic Indigenous arts of Vermont and New Hampshire.

Current Shows ↗

Stay updated and see our current exhibitions here.

Our Artists

Artists are organized by media and skill level.

Speaker Series Shares Indigenous and Scientific Views of American Abenaki Heritage

In February and March, Vermont Abenaki Artists Association (VAAA) is pleased to present the 2023 Two-Eyed Seeing Speaker Series. The term “Two-Eyed seeing,” coined by Mi’kmaw Nation Elder Albert Marshall, describes the experience of seeing the strength of Indigenous knowledge with one eye and the strength of Western knowledge with the other. Series speakers will share perspectives on community relationships to regional waterways, including archaeology, ecology, advocacy, Western and Indigenous science, and more. Admission is free, and donations are welcome.

Image of Vermont Humanities logo.

All programs in the Two-Eyed Seeing Speaker Series are presented on Zoom, thanks to support from the Vermont Humanities and Vermont Arts Council.

Image of Vermont Arts Council logo.

February 21, 7pm. Frederick M. Wiseman, Ph. D. presented Heritage Forensics: Rethinking Indigenous Ways of Knowing in an Increasingly Dangerous World. Since the 1990s, Indigenous research has moved toward awareness of many different truths, each depending on one’s cultural or political perspective. “Politicized rewriting of Native history poses a distinct threat to such emerging Indigenous ways of exploring the world,” says Dr. Wiseman. “Indigenous and scientific ways of knowing can work together to preserve a legitimate American Abenaki biocultural history and worldview.”
Registration Closed

Image of ancestral American Abenaki beadwork from Waterville, Vermont, created about 1845, was identified by Dr. Wiseman. Vermont Indigenous Heritage Center Collection

Image: This ancestral American Abenaki beadwork from Waterville, Vermont, created about 1845, was identified by Dr. Wiseman. Vermont Indigenous Heritage Center Collection

March 7, 7pm. A Deep Presence and a More Inclusive History. Rep. Sherry Gould (Nulhegan Abenaki), member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, and Dr. Robert Goodby of Monadnock Archaeological Consulting are long-time friends and collaborators. As charter members of the New Hampshire Commission on Native American Affairs, Sherry served as Chair and Bob was the representative appointed by the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources. Their work together includes educational projects funded by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and the Abenaki Trails Project that seeks to honor and share a more inclusive history of the Abenaki people and to highlight historical Abenaki sites. Registration closed

Image of Sherry Gould.
Rep. Sherry Gould (Nulhegan Abenaki Tribe)  
Image of Dr. Robert Goodby.
Dr. Robert G. Goodby

March 22, 7pm. Kwanitekw (Connecticut River): The Sustainer of Life. In honor of World Water Day, a panel of Indigenous citizens and environmental scientists share multiple perspectives on living in relationship with the Connecticut River watershed. Panelists include Darlene Kascak (Schaghticoke Tribal Nation) Education Director of the Institute for American Indian Studies (IAIS) and Traditional Native American Storyteller; Vera Sheehan (Elnu Abenaki Tribe) and Director of the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association and Abenaki Arts & Education Center; Kathy Urffer, River Steward with the Connecticut River Conservancy; and Matt Devine, Fisheries Biologist with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Gabriel Benjamin, Public Historian and IAIS Museum Educator serves as Moderator. Register in advance for this meeting:
https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwtcuGvpj0rHNSwpRzRKqYc05cw7RmeL4ix
                          

Image of Vera Longtoe Sheehan with denim Tolba jacket.

Most recently, Vera Longtoe Sheehan (Elnu Abenaki Tribe) curated the exhibit Nebizun: Water is Life, which is touring New England 2022-2024.

Image of , Darlene Kascak (Schaghticoke Tribal Nation).

As a traditional Native American storyteller, Darlene Kascak (Schaghticoke Tribal Nation) understands the importance of educating both young and old about the many misconceptions and stereotypes about her ancestors, providing children and adults the opportunity to have a new understanding of Connecticut’s Indigenous Peoples both in the past and in the present.

Image of Matt Devine is a Fisheries Biologist with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Matt Devine is a Fisheries Biologist with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

As a River Steward, Kathy Urffer works to protect and restore the Connecticut River and its tributaries. She enjoys re-learning about the natural world through the eyes of her two children.


Image of Vermont Humanities logo.

VAAA is grateful for the support for this Speaker Series from the Vermont Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed do not necessarily represent those of the Vermont Humanities.

Program partners for the Two-Eyed Seeing Speaker Series include Abenaki Arts and Education Center (AAEC), Abenaki Trails Project, the Connecticut River Conservancy, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CDEEP), Institute for American Indian Studies (IAIS), and Monadnock Archaeological Consulting LLC.

Image of small dark blue AAEC logo.
Image of Abenaki Trails logo.
Image of American Indian Studies logo.
Image of Connecticut River Conservancy logo.
Image of CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection logo.
Image of Monadnock Archealogical Consulting logo.

Abenaki Organizations

Logo for the Abenaki Alliance

The four state-recognized tribes of Vermont are very active. It is important to note that, though the tribes are recognized in Vermont, our land was not divided by borders. We, the Abenaki, call our homeland N’dakinna.

Melody (Walker Brook) Mackin: Weaving Core Values Through Time – Part 2

Melody Walker with hand drum.

In spring 2021, Vera Longtoe Sheehan (Elnu Abenaki) met with the students of “Native Presence and Performance: Reclaiming the Indigenous Narrative,” a first-year seminar offered by Middlebury College. After the meeting, Longtoe Sheehan recommended the students interview and write about VAAA affiliated artists. This blog post is one of a series that were created for that project, respectfully submitted by a student who self-identifies as non-Native.

Due to the length of this narrative, it will be introduced in two parts over a period of two weeks. This is part two.

Annabelle Wyman 24.5 – Middlebury College

Native Presence and Performance – 1 June 2021

Melody also uses cultural weaving to move forward from the injustices of the past. When I asked her about the Abenaki history with colonization, she shared the advice of her Chief, Roger Longtoe Sheehan, on rebuilding traditions through the analogy of a broken puzzle. Their community is still trying to piece the puzzle together today, but the painting is different so you can never piece the original one together. However, the ancestors knew that life was going to change, so it is okay for the picture to change, because some traditions no longer fit into the current native culture. Melody thinks that the important thing to ask is

Melody (Walker Brook) Mackin: Weaving Core Values Through Time – Part 1

Melody Walker with hand drum.

In spring 2021, Vera Longtoe Sheehan (Elnu Abenaki) met with the students of “Native Presence and Performance: Reclaiming the Indigenous Narrative,” a first-year seminar offered by Middlebury College. After the meeting, Longtoe Sheehan recommended the students interview and write about VAAA affiliated artists. This blog post is one of a series that were created for that project, respectfully submitted by a student who self-identifies as non-Native.

Due to the length of this narrative, it will be introduced in two parts over a period of two weeks. This is part one.

Annabelle Wyman 24.5 – Middlebury College

Native Presence and Performance – 1 June 2021

Melody Mackin is a wonderful finger weaver, diligent activist, ardent educator, and devoted member of the Elnu Abenaki Tribe. In March of 2021, I had the privilege of speaking with her about this work and what she believes are the important aspects of Abenaki culture and history. Melody was taught to weave by two of her community members, Linda Longtoe Sheehan and Rose Hartwell, both of whom provided her with information on different facets of weaving. She explains that Linda taught her about the value of deliberate, slow, and methodical work while Rose taught her the intricacies of the craft and helped Melody to develop her own style of finger weaving. In the Abenaki community, finger weaving is deeply interwoven with the personality of the artist. The artist who creates the project incorporates their own techniques and methods to the process that bring their own style to the piece. Weaving has not changed much over the thousands of years it has been in existence, and members of the Abenaki community continue the tradition by using the same patterns, techniques, and materials as their ancestors to create a nearly identical product. However, the projects that are completed today are often very different than the ones of the past. Many products that were originally needed are not necessary today. Instead of ceremonial sashes, modern weavers have created pieces such as cell phone cases; beautifully connecting modern needs with traditional practices. 

When Melody first began learning, there were only a limited number of finger weavers left in the community. She used her new skills to teach others in her family and the community, which then helped the number of weavers to multiply. She also took the time to teach non-native people from outside of her community in schools and at gatherings (most notably the Affirming Traditions Conference) in an effort to raise awareness about indigenous art forms. As Melody began to teach weaving to other members of her community, she came to a realization: her students were creating amazing products their first or second time weaving. She explains that her ancestors showed her that she was meant to be a teacher and should use her skills to educate others about the Abenaki community. 

In her book Decolonizing Methodologies, Linda Tuhiwai Smith introduces twenty-five indigenous projects that serve to help Native communities in their attempts to conduct research and renew their tribal identities and culture. She explains that Protecting is a project used to ensure the continuation of oral and cultural tradition. Melody exemplifies this project by using her knowledge and passion for teaching to share her skills with her community and thus protect the art of finger weaving from extinction. As she began to explore her passion for teaching further, Melody worked at Johnson State College where she taught Abenaki history, culture, and spirituality, and Native American history and culture. After Johnson State College, she taught a class called

Contact Us

Contact Us artwork.

Let’s Connect: Reach Out to Vermont Abenaki Artists Association. We’re thrilled to hear from you and to engage in meaningful conversations. Whether you have questions or feedback or simply want to learn more about Vermont Abenaki Artists Association contact us to start the conversation.

18th Century Abenaki Couple in clothing of that period painted by Francine Poitras Jones.
18th Century Abenaki Couple

General Inquiries: Have a question about our programs, events, or mission? We’re here to provide you with the answers you’re seeking. Feel free to contact us, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Collaborations and Partnerships: If you’re interested in collaborating with us, exploring partnerships, or contributing to our initiatives, we’re excited to explore the possibilities together. Let’s discuss how we can create a meaningful impact.

Feedback and Suggestions: Your insights matter to us. If you have suggestions, ideas, or feedback that could help enhance our offerings, we’re all ears. We’re committed to continuous improvement, and your input is invaluable.

Stay Connected: Connect with us through the channels below to stay up-to-date with our latest news, events, and initiatives. We look forward to connecting with you and sharing the journey ahead.

Book an Exhibition: If you’re interested in bringing one of our traveling exhibits to your location, we’re excited to hear from you. Our exhibits offer a unique opportunity to immerse your community in the richness of Abenaki artistry and culture.

We’re here to make meaningful connections and to ensure your experience with us is rewarding and informative. Please contact our Program Coordinator Elisa with any questions or access needs and she will forward your message to the appropriate person.

Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

Phone: (802) 265-0092

 

The 2024 Abenaki Heritage Weekend

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

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.


When: June 29 – 30, 2024

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

Cost: $0

Directions: Click here for Google Map

About the 2024 Abenaki Heritage Weekend:

On June 29 – 30, 2024, citizens of the New England Abenaki community will gather 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. 

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. The public is advised to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy singing and drumming by the Nulhegan Drum. Children and adults alike will enjoy storytelling by Abenaki author and historian Joseph Bruchac.


Artists who will be giving presentations, demonstrating their crafts, and vending in the Arts Marketplace will continue to be updated.

Currently, we have the following artists scheduled:

Joseph Bruchac, Fred Wiseman, Patrick Lamphere, Morgan Lamphere, The Nulhegan Drum, Doug Bent, and Chief Shirly Hook



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]


Special Programs that took place at the Abenaki Heritage Weekend in 2023:

  • Storytelling by Joe Bruchac
  • Nulhegan Abenaki Drum group
  • Music and Storytelling by Francine Poitras Jones

Artists Featured in the Arts Marketplace


A woman hitting a hand drum with a wolf painted on it.
Paul Rene Tamburro in his workshop.
Three children making games.

#Abenaki #heritage #weekend #VAAA #AbenakiHeritageWeekend #heritageweekend #abenakiheritage

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 / Thank you to our 700+ supporters & visitors at the Abenaki Heritage Weekend 2023.

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Historic Art

The Historic Indigenous Arts of Vermont and New Hampshire

 By Frederick M. Wiseman Ph.D.

Introduction

When we think of indigenous American craft arts, we immediately think of Navajo rugs and Tahono o’odam (Papago) basketry.  Or perhaps the woodcarvings of the Northwest Coast of North America.  Possibly one of the least recognized historical Native American crafts regions of North America is the Far Northeast, only a few books will mention baskets made by Maine or Canadian Maritime tribes.  However, Vermont and New Hampshire have a vibrant but little known artistic tradition stretching back over 10,000 years.  The oldest artistic works are made of stone, chipped or ground into beautiful but useful tools such as the clean, almost Art Deco-looking lines of Vermont Middle Archaic Period gouges, the tight design of Late Archaic lapidary jewelry, or the evocative rock-carved human face petroglyphs at Bellows Falls.  However, except for stone, and a few pieces of shell, there is little that remains, underground of this rich artistic tradition.  During the So-Called Colonial Era (1609-ca. 1800) the Indigenous Arts of our region are still little understood and seem to resemble those of neighboring tribes.  There are occasional pieces of 18th century quillwork-decorated leather craft or twined basketry residing in museums and private collections illustrating the precise work and artistic flair of the People.  Unfortunately, they are so similar to items made by our Penobscot, Huron and Iroquois neighbors that there has been little effort by art historians to find out what is specific to our region.


Below, are a few examples of older art traditions that have good ties to the VT/NH region and its immediate environs of southern Quebec.  These show a careful choice of material, excellent plotting out the eventual form, and meticulous care in decoration — evidence of a well developed craft tradition that its practitioners were very comfortable with.  Many of our 19th and early 20th-century craft arts seem to have its closest ties to the great multiethnic Indian Village of Kahnawake, south of Montreal, but other traditions especially basketry shows early artistic similarity to Southern New England, while cloth seems more similar to our Wabanaki brethren, showing that our area was a great crossroads of artistic ideas flowing throughout the region.

 Woodcraft

Image of Root club, stylistically similar to the Newport, VT example; early 20th century.
Root club, stylistically similar to the Newport, VT example; early 20th century.

Most Indigenous Vermont and New Hampshire wood craft is very utilitarian, and probably would not be classed as fine or decorative art.  However, some particular forms, such as crooked knives and root clubs have become accepted as valuable craft arts by art historians and critics.  We do see nice examples of these tools that have come from our area, but have a distinct stylistic look.  Root clubs, for example, did not seem to be made and sold in Vermont as tourist items, although very similar looking ones were sold for that purpose at Kahnawake.  These root clubs tend to be carved relatively simply with minimal decoration, usually of fine ink or watercolor delineating bird-like beaks and eyes, rather than the fine carved detailing and painted design demanded by tourist buyers. Instead, we have a documented example that seemed to be used in healing, and another that was used to keep order within a family, indicating that they remained, at least in part, internal cultural implements.

Image of Well designed crooked Knife. Birch Handle, ground-file blade and brass wire wrap. 19th century East side Lake Memphramagog.
Well designed crooked Knife. Birch Handle, ground-file blade and brass wire wrap. 19th century East side Lake Memphramagog.

Another well-designed and executed wooden implement is the crooked knife (often called “basket-knife” in VT).  These distinctive native-design tools seem as rare as root clubs and are almost always entirely utilitarian.  However, one crooked knife with a provenance just north of the Canadian Border in the Southern Eastern Townships of Quebec is finely crafted with beautiful incised and filled detail on the obverse and an artistically sweeping rake to the blade; thereby making a classic pieces of Northeastern Native art.  (Photo to the right)

Image of Twig decoy, Early 20th century, Fitch Bay (east of Lake Memphremogog) QC).
Twig decoy, Early 20th century, Fitch Bay (east of Lake Memphremagog) QC).

In the last 50 years or so decoys have emerged as a great vernacular art tradition, with many fetching many thousands of dollars at auction.  Although there are Vermont decoy carvers with Indigenous heritage their creations are not considered “Indian Art.”  However, a composite twig decoy from the same area as the crooked knife is so similar to the Cree “Tamarack Twig” decoys accepted as legitimate Indian Art that we will list it here.  This is a goose “shadow decoy” constructed of black or river birch twigs and bound with cotton twine.  A Nulhegan band elder remembered their use in middle 20th century cornfields around Lake Memphramagog to attract Canada geese to the shotgun.  When viewed from a distance, the decoy has a wonderful flowing stance, and as the elder said “looks like a goose to another goose..  (Photo to the right)

These few items are only an introduction to the richness of historic Indigenous woodcraft of our region.  Old bowls, spoons, wall-hangings, cups, walking staffs and even furniture remain to this day to grace museums and collections.


Fashion design

Image of Woman's cotton twill dress and red cloth sash ca. 1900 Connecticut River Valley, VT.
Woman’s cotton twill dress and red cloth sash ca. 1900 Connecticut River Valley, VT.

Since the 1970’s, beaded clothing and fashion accessories of our neighbors to the East have become some of the most collected and valuable of any Native American art.  Fortunately, our regional styles have not seen such interest or even study by elite art collectors, and so the materials are still somewhat available and collectable by Indigenous museums and cultural organizations.  I find that some of the late 19th and early 20th century clothing used by basketsellers especially interesting.  It combines European materials such as cloth and ribbons with indigenous motifs to make a distinctive, but underappreciated fashion that I call “cut-cloth Fringe’ style.  We have several examples of this style from the Connecticut River Valley and Lake Champlain which seem to date from the 1890’s to about the beginning of the Great Depression.  The example that I share here is made from a tan twilled cotton with patchwork and ribbon-work detail below the neck and above the hem.  It is sturdy and technically well made, so much so that it is still worn for educational purposes.  (Photo to the right)

Of course everyone wants to know about “Abenaki Beadwork,” and unfortunately, pre-1900 Indigenous Vermont/New Hampshire beaded cloth is the most elusive craft art that remains today.  There is one late 18th/early 19th century beaded moccasin vamp or epaulet that was found in NW Vermont that is in a generalized style that may or may not be Vermont Abenaki, but was at least used here at one point. (Photo below).

Image of Beaded wool panel, Trade wool, silk ribbon, glass beads. Early 19th century, found in Swanton, VT
Beaded wool panel, Trade wool, silk ribbon, glass beads. Early 19th century, found in Swanton, VT
Image of Flat Bag with beadwork. Velvet, cotton liner, glass beads. Mid or late 19th century, probably Abenaki
Flat Bag with beadwork. Velvet, cotton liner, glass beads. Mid or late 19th century, probably Abenaki

Probably a more characteristic style is the mid 19th century “flat bag” or reticule described below.  It has a form related to the typical “tulip” or “inverted keyhole” bag sold by the Eastern Wabanaki people of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.  However, the beadwork itself is distinctive and unlike that of the standard Wabanaki to the East, or the Iroquois styles to the west.  Unfortunately, it has not yet attracted interest of collectors, museums and academics, so it is uncertain exactly whether this is a “Montreal Area,” “Eastern Townships (Quebec) area,” “Vermont area” “or “New Hampshire area” style; or all of the above.  However, I believe that it represents the best candidate style for having been produced here in the mid 19th century. (Photo to the right)


Basketry

Image of Early 19th century ash-splint Basket. Vernon, VT.
Early 19th century ash-splint Basket. Vernon, VT.

The one craft art likely to show up in VT/NH antique shops is ash-splint basketry, and there are many styles and types.  I will illustrate two of the older more utilitarian types that were made before the ubiquitous “sweetgrass” and “cowiss” touristic souvenir baskets that are so common today.  Ash splint basket making in VT/NH basically went extinct in the 1930’s.  Baskets after that time seem to be made by expatriate basket sellers from Canada or Maine who sold tourist goods in places such as the White Mountains Intervale or the shores of Lake Champlain. (Photo to the right)

Image of Turn of the 2Oth century ash splint Basket
Turn of the 2Oth century ash splint Basket

The first early type is from the 1830’s and is more closely related to southern New England basketry, in its “varying splint” construction and the use of stamping and or painting on the wide splints as decoration.  it was probably used like a bandbox, for the storage of lightweight household and fashion goods such as yarn or hats.  The second basket, probably from the third quarter of the 19th century, still retains the varying splints, but now shows direct influence of basketry evolution to the East, in its checkerboard (rectangular) base and the treatment of the radiating splints on the lid.  Instead of being stamped, the wider splints are “daub-dyed” or pigment painted only on the outside before weaving the basket.  The later, turn of the 20th century dyed ash splints are dipped in dye and thus show the color both inside and out.  Both of these early basket styles are relatively uncommon in VT/NH and even less common with a good provenance placing them here in the 19th century.  (Photo to the right)

Image of two coiled horsehair baskets made with brown horsehair foundation and black hair ties left, and black horsehair and white hair ties, right. Probably early 20th century. St Albans, VT
Two coiled horsehair baskets made with brown horsehair foundation and black hair ties left, and black horsehair and white hair ties, right. Probably early 20th century. St. Albans, VT

Another important basket type is the coiled basket.  Even more elusive than early beadwork, coiled basketry is only known from two areas in the Northeast, the Passamaquoddies and a single family in Northwestern VT.  These are tiny items, made from carefully selected and prepared horse-hair, similar to the much more well known Thono O’odam tourist wares.  As with most local wares, there is no historical interest in these beautiful tiny baskets, and we await the continuation of this tradition by young members of the VT basket making family.


Interested in Learning more about the Indigenous Art of Vermont?

Wabanaki Beadwork 1850-2000

Late Period (1890-1970) Indian Baskets In Vermont

Kerry R. Wood

Enrolled Citizen of the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation

Juried Artist since 2016
Kerry Wood processing splint for basketmaking.
Kerry Wood processing splint for use in basketmaking.

Kerry Wood/Kalli Abazi is a citizen of the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation.  In 2016 she completed a 3 year apprenticeship program with Jeanne Brink through the Vermont Folklife Center Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program for making traditional Black Ash and Sweetgrass baskets. 

Elvine Obomsawin, Kerry’s Great-Grandmother, and her family made and sold baskets to tourists in Vermont in the early to mid-1900’s. Jeanne Brink is also Kerry’s cousin, and hearing the stories from their Obomsawin family heritage while learning basket making brought her past alive! When she is making baskets, she feels a deep connection with those who have gone before her, and is at peace and connected. Her husband helps prepare the ash by harvesting the ash trees and, with their son Aaron, pounds and splits the ash. The family works together to create the materials for baskets from the harvest of the tree to the final project.

Kerry has baskets on display at the Vermont Maritime Museum, The Abenaki display at the Burlington Airport, and at the Bennington Museum. Black Ash and baskets remain a critical aspect of Abenaki culture and heritage. They are part of Ndakinna, our land. Kerry teaches Abenaki people and others the history and craft of Abaznodaka as well as the language of the Abenaki people, Alnôbaôdwa, so the culture and heritage will continue. She is also collaborating with people across Vermont to help combat the impact of the Emerald Ash Borer, which threatens the very existence of the Black Ash trees. Basket making is part of the Abenaki soul and heritage, and it is critical to ensure it is never lost.

Contact

Email: [email protected]

Traditional Abenaki Basket
Image of ash and sweetgrass basket.
Ash and sweetgrass basket
Image of ash basket by Kerry R. Wood.
Ash Basket

Demonstrations (as an Apprentice with Master Basketmaker Jeanne Brink)

2016

  • Dartmouth Powwow, Dartmouth College
  • Native American Program, Dartmouth College
  • Vermont History Exposition, Tunbridge, VT

2015

  • Abenaki History Day, Hartford, VT
  • Dartmouth Powwow, Dartmouth College, NH
  • Native American Program, Dartmouth College, NH
  • Saratoga Native American Festival, Saratoga, NY

2014

  • Dartmouth Powwow, Dartmouth College, NH
  • Native American Program, Dartmouth College, NH
  • Vermont History Exposition, Tunbridge, VT

Awards

2013, 2014, 2015 

  • Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program, Vermont Folk Life Center. Middlebury, VT

Affiliations

  • Vermont Abenaki Artists Association

Jim Taylor

Enrolled Citizen of the ELNU ABENAKI TRIBE

Juried Artist since 2013
Image of Jim Taylor.
Jim Taylor – Photo courtesy of Adam Sings in the Timber

I am a Tribal Councilman and citizen of the Elnu Abenaki Tribe of Southern Vermont which recently was granted State Recognition after years of battling with both the State & Federal Governments. I also descend from the Eastern Cherokee my Fathers people who reside in Kentucky.

Artist, Eastern Quillworker, & Wampum, I have been involved with various art forms since I was a small child, with the help from my recently deceased maternal Aunt she fostered the talent the Creator blessed us both with.

I am currently employed as a Graphic Designer designing Police, Fire, Federal, & International Law Enforcement badges; for past 28 years.

I currently reside in Rhode Island with my wife Claudine and two daughters, Ashley age 22 and Jillian age 16 along with our Golden Retriever Abby. My Tribal duties in Vermont do take me away from home many weekends throughout the year which my wife is very understanding. The many reasons are is it’s what’s needed to build a better future for the next 7 generations of my people; I thank her and my 2 girls for their patience and understanding.

I have been doing Eastern style quillwork for the past 26 years along with other various native related beadwork and crafts and most recently learning how to create wampum beads from quahog & whelk shells. My quill work began when I became more involved with Living History/ Native Interpreting at French & Indian Living History events. The Abenaki played an important role as Allies with the French during that period. As I became more proficient, my quillwork became more sought after by other Living History people as well as other Native people.

My quillwork has been featured in numerous articles and magazines & books; also my work has been displayed in the Mingei International Museum of Folk Art in San Diego, CA, and currently I have an Underwater Panther bag on permanent display in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, NY. My work has also have been in various local Art shows in RI as well.

I hope to continue doing quill work and to become more proficient in the wampum bead work as well, my hope is to pass this onto future generations of youth within my tribe along with possibly getting future grants to allow me to travel west to Washington State to share how to do quillwork and wampum making with Native Artists in the Communities there with the hope of learning some of their traditional crafts like Cedar Hat making and Cedar carving to share with my tribe Elnu and others here on the East Coast.


Future work:

I am currently trying to organize a Multi-Eastern Tribal Canoe Journey on the Connecticut River beginning at its head waters in Canada to where it spills out into Long Island Sound. This Journey will be mirrored to the same one held annually out west in Washington by the Salish Coastal peoples. My hope is that this will be a Journey to inspire our youth to make them stronger physically, mentally as well as spiritually; this will be a journey for ALL ages. We along with others here in New England hope to have a smaller version to start with by sometime next year; I urge all eastern peoples / Tribes to contact us if they are interested in being part of this hopefully Annual event. We can be reached via Facebook at Kwinitekw Canoe Journey https://www.facebook.com/groups/248209231873305/ or my Email at [email protected]

Contact

Email: [email protected]

Website: Quillwork by Swift Fox

Image of quillwork detail on bag by Jim Taylor.
Detailed quillwork on bag
Image of carved bone combs made by Jim Taylor.
Carved bone combs
Image of quilled knife sheath and bag.
Quilled knife sheath and bag
Image of wampum pendant.
Wampum Pendant

 Exhibits

2017

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

2016

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

2015

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

2014     

  • First Light: Native American Artists from New England, The Flanagan Campus Art Gallery, RI
  • 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

2013      

Like Breathing: Native American Beading and Quillwork.  Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum,  Warner, NH

2012     

Quilled Underwater Panther Bag.  American Museum of Natural History, NYC, NY  

2000      

Arrow of the Spirit. Mingei International Museum, San Diego, CA

Publications

  • Jones, Paul R.  “Quillworkers 2: The Tradition Continues.” Muzzleloader, Nov/Dec 1999, 40
  • Dubin, Lois Sherr.  North American Indian Jewelry and Adornment: From Prehistory to Present Concise Edition, Harry N Abrams Incorporated, NYC, NY. 2003. 71

Affiliations

  • Vermont Abenaki Artists Association
  • Woodland Confederacy

Jessee Lawyer

Enrolled Citizen of the Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi

Juried Artist since 2014
Image of Jesse Lawyer.
Jessee Lawyer

Jessee Lawyer is an enrolled citizen of the Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi. He i the head chef at Sweetwaters in Burlington and caters special events. As a culinary artist he creates indigenous specialties using Wabanaki ingredients.

Jesse descends from a long line of Indigenous artists. He continues his family tradition as one of the last two Native families in the Northeast who continue to make miniature horsetail coiled baskets. Jessee also hand carves traditional soapstone pipes and contemporary soapstone sculptures. He draws great inspiration from his father who taught him how to carve. As he continues to polish his skills, he is being mentored by two VAAA artists.

 

Artist Statement

As a child, I spent many nights watching my father create art. He worked in many mediums; he was well known for his moccasins and homes that he built. His attention to detail captivated and inspired me. Hand carved feathers and chip carving around doors and windows, decorative stitching graced his moccasins, and subtle lines touched his pipes. He would tell me stories of my grandfather who made miniature horsehair baskets, woodcarvings and would cast miniature animals out of bronze. I absorbed as much knowledge and wisdom as I could from my father and cannot thank him enough for preparing me with the skills and love needed to continue our Abenaki traditions before he passed on to the spirit world.

I have only recently started carrying on my family traditions as well as creating my own style. I try to experiment with many mediums but am focusing on horsehair baskets and soapstone pipes and sculptures for the moment, with moccasins shortly.  I feel a deep connection to both the plant and animal worlds, and try to incorporate them as much as possible in my art, honoring all they provide for us.

 With the knowledge that has been passed to me from previous generations, I have been blessed with the gift of a child on the way. Now there is another generation to carry on our cultural traditions, and another art form for me all-together.

Contact

Email: [email protected]

Image of Cranberry and maple cured duck breast, wild rice, Vermont cranberry bran & butternut ragout, boiled cornbread, and house blueberry and vinegar reduction.
Cranberry and maple cured duck breast, wild rice, Vermont cranberry bran & butternut ragout, boiled cornbread, and house blueberry and vinegar reduction
Image of Jacobs cattle beans, cured duck breast ham, and maple syrup baked in Blue Hubbard Squash.
Jacobs cattle beans, cured duck breast ham, and maple syrup baked in Blue Hubbard Squash
Image of Salt and smoked maple glazed bear jerky.
Salt and smoked maple glazed bear jerky

Exhibits

2016

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

2015

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

2014     

  • Eastern Woodland Fiber Arts (permanent exhibit), Mt. Kearsage Indian Museum, Warner, NH
  • “Traditional Sources, Contemporary Visions” – Invitational Group Art Exhibit. 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, N.H.

Affiliations

Vermont Abenaki Artists Association, Committee Member since 2013

Jeanne Morningstar Kent

Enrolled Citizen of the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation

Juried Artist since 2013
Image of Jeanne Morningstar Kent.
Jeanne Morningstar Kent

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.”

Image of Morningstar's studio.

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.”
                     
— Spozowialakws (Morningstar)


Image of gourd artwork by Jeanne Morningstar Kent
Gourd artwork
Gourd rattle with double curve designs.
Gourd rattle
Image of gourd with double curve design and butterfly.
Gourd with double curve design and butterfly
Image of gourd with dreamcatcher.
Image of gourd with dreamcatcher and deer antlers

Contact

Email: [email protected]

Website: Fine Wabanaki Art by Morningstar


MUSEUMS AND PERMANENT COLLECTIONS

The artist is a recognized Abenaki Artist and enrolled Member of the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation of Vermont with work housed in the following permanent collections:

  • Smithsonian’s National Museum of American Indian Studies, imagiNATIONS Activity Center, New York, New York
  • Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Vergennes, VT
  • Mount Kearsarge Indian Museum, Warner, NH, Permanent Collection
  • Institute for American Indian Studies Permanent Collection, Washington, CT
  • Roger Williams University, Bristol, Rhode Island
  • Chimney Point Museum, Addison, VT, Permanent Collection
  • Part of the permanent collection of Abenaki Cultural items at the Burlington International Airport, Vermont.

Exhibits, Lectures and Demonstrations

2021

  • “Abenaki People Emerging From the Ashes”, show and sale, Villages Gallery, Contoocook, NH
  • Group Show, Bennington Museum, Bennington, VT
  • On line presentation on The Visual Language of Wabanaki Art for the Institute for American Indian Studies
  • Video Interview by Museum of American Indian Studies. 2021-Installed as Member of the Board of Trustees at the Institute for American Indian Studies
  • Installed as Member of the Board of Trustees at the Institute for American Indian Studies

2020

  • Featured on Mt. Kearsarge Indian museum Blog “Being Native is Both Inborn and a Way of Life”

2019

  • Group show office of Bernie Sanders, Washington, DC
  • Selected by Institute of American Indian Studies to have painted portrait added to their Hall of Elders
  • Spring and Winter Shows at the Whiting Mills Studios, Winsted, CT
  • Board Member of the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association

2017

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

2016

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

2015

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

2014     

  • “Traditional Sources, Contemporary Visions” – Invitational Group Art Exhibit. 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, N.H.

2013    

  • Containers.  Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum, Warner, NH
  •  Reading Native Art. Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum, Warner, NH
  •  Artist.  Autumn Light Studios And Gallery, CT
  •  New England Now!: Celebrating six years of NEFA’s Native Arts
  • Program. Mashantucket Pequot Museum,  Mashantucket, CT
  •  Presenter.  Stamford Museum & Nature Center, Stamford, CT
  •  Native Interpreter. Institute for American Indian Studies, Washington. CT
  •  Panelist. “Quarterly Conversation.”  Mashantucket Pequot Museum,  Mashantucket, CT

2012    

Native Interpreter. Institute for American Indian Studies, Washington. CT

2011    

Native Interpreter. Institute for American Indian Studies, Washington. CT

2010    

  • Featured Artist. Institute for American Indian Studies, Washington, CT
  •  Artist. Northwest Arts Council, Studio Tours, CT
  •   Native Interpreter. Institute for American Indian Studies, Washington. CT

2009     

  • Native Interpreter. Institute for American Indian Studies, Washington. CT
  •  Gourds: Seeds of Inspiration. Vermont Indigenous Celebration, Burlington, VT

EARLIER Group Shows

  • Millbrook Gallery and Sculpture Garden, NH Group Show, Artworks Gallery, CT Group Show, Arlene
  • McDaniels Gallery, CT
  • Bushnell Theater Gallery, CT
  • Gallows Book Store and Gallery at Trinity College, CT
  • “Walking Between Two Worlds”, Boxboro, MA, hosted by the New England Native American Institute – Shown at Autumn Light Gallery, CT
  • NW Arts Council, Studio Tour, Winsted, CT ArtZest, Litchfield, CT

Other Accomplishments

  • Vendor: Wabanaki Confederacy Conference, Shelbourne, VT
  • 2015 Recipient of NEFA Grant for work on book, The Visual Language of Wabanaki Art
  • Classroom Art Instructor, Hartford School System, Pre-K-8 University of Hartford Extension Courses, Hartford, CT
  • H.O.T. (Higher Order of Thinking) School Consortium, UConn, Campus UConn Workshop, Main Campus
  • Torrington Adult Education, Torrington High school, Torrington,
  • Workshops and talks at Institute for American Indian Studies, Master Teacher-Supervising Student Teachers
  • Master Teacher- Supervising High school Students in Community Service
  • Presenter at the 46th Algonquian Conference, Mohegan Sun,
  • Presenter: ECHO Museum, Burlington, VT
  • Presenter: Mashantucket Pequot Museum, Ledyard, CT
  • Presenter: Ward Hertmann House Museum, Savin Rock, West Haven,
  • CT Village Docent, Institute for American Indian Studies, Washington
  • Open Your Eyes, Studio Tour, Litchfield, CT

EDUCATION

  • Presenter at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum, Ledyard, CT. University of Hartford, West Hartford, CT B.F.A. and M.A., Ed.
  • Additional Coursework: Johnson State College, VT
  • Smith College, Amherst, MA
  • Northwest Community College, Winsted, CT
  • Woodstock School of Art, Woodstock, NY
  • School of Fine Arts and Theater, NY, NY

Article: Indigenous Arts, Cultural Survival Quarterly

CRAFTS

  • Chimney Point Museum, VT
  • ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center , Burlington, VT
  • Lake Champlain Maritime Museum Show
  • VT Indigenous Celebration, Burlington, VT
  • Hammonassett Indian Festivals

AWARDS

2O12  Native Arts Grant. New England Foundation for the Arts.

PUBLICATIONS

  • Author of “The Visual Language of Wabanaki Arts”, published by History/Acadia Press, which discusses history and meanings of some of the designs used by the Wabanaki people.
  • Kent, Jeanne.  Gourds: Seeds of Inspiration,  Jeanne Kent publication, Winsted, CT (out of print)
  • Lavin, Lucienne, Connecticut’s Indigenous Peoples: What Archaeology, History, and Oral Traditions Teach Us About Their Communities and Cultures. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT. 2O13.
  • Photos of my work included in “Connecticut’s Indigenous People, Their Communities and Cultures, Then and Now” by Lucienne Lavin. Published by Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History and Yale Press.

Affiliations

  • Vermont Abenaki Artist Association, Committee Member
  • Institute for American Indian Studies, Native Advisory Board, Committee Member
  • American Gourd Society
  • Northwest Connecticut Arts Council

Frederick M. Wiseman, P.h.D.

Enrolled Citizen of the Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi

Juried Artist since 2013
Dr. Fred Wiseman smiling.

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.


Artist Statement

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.


Contact

Email: [email protected]

Image of graphic design by Dr. Wiseman.
Frederick Wiseman, Graphic Designer, 2013

Exhibit, event  and performance history: 

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

1995 

  • “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.

1996 

  • “Light from the Dawnland”  San Diego Museum of Man.  San Diego, CA. Jewelry and wood

       sculpture.

1998- 2008 Abenaki Tribal museum, Swanton, VT (All museum installations)

1999 The Great Council Fire Performance. The Akwesasne Cultural Center (NY)

2001 

  • “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.)

2005   

  • 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

2007 

  • “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.)

2010

  • 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

2013   

  • “1609:the other side of history.” Screened at the Swanton 250th Anniversary
  •  “Dinner and a Movie” Program. Swanton, VT, April 28, 2013

2014     

  • 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.

2015

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

2016

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


Publications 

1987  

  • 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

Jan.1991  

  • “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

1994  

  • 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 

1995   

  • 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.

1997     

  • 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.

2003    

  • “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
2005   
  • 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

2008    

  • “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)

2009     

  • 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

2010     

  • 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) 

2011   

  • ____ and Melody Walker. The Abenakis and their Neighbors: Teachers and Interpreters resources. Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs. Montpelier, VT.

2012   

  •  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

Awards:

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

2010       

  • Appreciation Ceremony. Missisquoi Abenaki Swanton, VT
  • Silver Astrolabe Award Lake Champlain Quadricentennial Commission

2011       Appreciation Ceremony. Missisquoi Abenaki Swanton, VT.

2012      

  • Elnu Tribe Honor Ceremony Recipient of Gratitude. Basin Harbor, VT
  • Nulhegan Band Honor Ceremony. Basin Harbor VT

Affiliations

Vermont Abenaki Artists Association

Elnu Abenaki Singers

All are Enrolled Citizens of the Elnu Abenaki Tribe

Elnu Abenaki Singers

Elnu Abenaki Singers

For more over two decades, the Elnu Abenaki Singers have performed across the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions. They are invited to sing at events, museums, school, and historic sites They echo the voices of their ancestors, who have lived in N’dakinna (the land) for thousands of years.

The public has come to know the Elnu Singers through their repertoire of Wabanaki songs and chants; their signature Eastern style hand drums and rattles. With each new song comes an explanation of what it means and any historic information with may be related.

The Elnu Singers are of mixed ages. The group includes men, women, and children.  They can perform in either modern or traditional clothing from any era from the early 17th century to contemporary.

Image of the Elnu Abenaki Singers performing.
Elnu Abenaki Singers Performing

Contact Info

Chief Roger Longtoe Sheehan

Email: [email protected] 

Click here to listen to the Elnu Abenaki Singers


Filmed in night vision at the Jamaica State Park archeological dig. The El-Nu Abenaki Tribe Singers led the public through a night of traditional story-telling and songs. Featured here is one of those songs and the protocol that surrounds it.

For more information on the El-Nu Abenaki Tribe please visit:
http://elnuabenakitribe.org/


Film by Lina Longtoe. Featured in the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s exhibit, “Contact of Cultures, 1609.” 

Circle of Courage

Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi

Image of Circle of Courage youth group.
Circle of Courage drumming at the capital.

Background

This highly regarded after-school initiative draws on the writings of acclaimed Native American author Larry Brendtro (Reclaiming Youth At-Risk) who, with colleagues, first introduced this holistic model. While we (Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi, St. Francis/Sokoki Band) believe in the tenets of belonging, generosity, independence, and mastery, these core values have been adapted to accommodate our own beliefs about children.

As we view children from an “at-promise” paradigm, conventional “at-risk” models are replaced by a strengths-based approach.

Through a model that utilizes our traditional dance and other customs, students learn the difference between tobacco as a sacred herb used for ceremonies verses the social convention of cigarette smoking. Ultimately, there is a profound sense that when a community creates a context in which youth can thrive, they will.

The Abenaki Circle of Courage Afterschool Program puts the concepts of belonging, mastery, generosity, and independence into practice.

Children master skills in Native dance and crafts, experience belonging through working together as youth leaders, practice independence in completing artistic projects, and exhibit generosity through community service.

Project Director, Brenda Gagne, is an Abenaki Community member.  Brenda directs the “Circle of Courage” after-school cultural program for both Native and non-Native students in Swanton and Highgate, Vermont. She has been honored by the State of Vermont’s Department of Education for outstanding service.

Jeff Benay is the Director of Indian Education Programs for Franklin County and former long-time Chair of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Native American Affairs.  He has worked with Vermont’s Abenaki for nearly 30 years.  

Contact

Brenda Gagne is the Coordinator of the Circle of Courage program.

Chief Brenda M. Gagne
Coordinator, Abenaki Circle of Courage Program
65 Canada Street, Room 3
Swanton, VT 05488

Click here to read article on St. Albans Messenger website.

Email: [email protected]

Donate to Circle of Courage

Brian Chenevert

Enrolled Citizen of the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation

Juried Artist since 2016
Brian Chenevert in white ribbon shirt.
Brian Chenevert

Brian Chenevert is the Historic Preservation Officer for the Nulhegan Abenaki Tribe and a talented artist. He is a storyteller, author, and wood worker.  who was taught wood carving and whittling by his grandfather at a young age.

He is a history buff whose research helped to revive the traditional Abenaki winter game of Snow Snakes which has now been played annually since 2007. Brian’s hand carves snow snakes, war clubs and rattles decorating them by burning in traditional Wabanaki designs.

For almost 20 years Brian has provided traditional Abenaki and Wabanaki stories for multiple Abenaki newsletters and in 2015 published his first book, “Azban’s Great Journey”, which is a compilation of traditional and original tales of the Abenaki trickster – Azban, the raccoon. Azban’s Great Journey is now available for purchase on Amazon.

Image of Brian Chenevert reading to children.
Brian Chenevert reading to children

Brian has developed the coloring book Abenaki Animals with fellow Nulhegan Abenaki artist, Francine Poitras Jones. Most recently, they have collaborated on the storybook  Swift Deer’s Spirit Game (2019) that was just released.

He is also a drummer and singer who performs with the Nulhegan Abenaki Drum.


Artist Statement

I have always loved working with wood, carving and shaping it into a creation of all your own.  I enjoy taking a simple branch and working it into a snow snake which will bring joy to some boy or girl at our annual winter games.

I have been telling and sharing Abenaki stories for many years, providing stories for multiple Abenaki newsletters and culminating in completing my first book about Azban the raccoon.  The tales of Azban, in particular, are ones my children loved to hear over and over throughout the years which is what led to him being the topic of my first book.

In 2015, Brian published his first book, “Azban’s Great Journey”, which is a compilation of traditional and original tales of the Abenaki trickster – Azban, the raccoon.  Azban’s Great Journey is now available for purchase on Amazon.
Brian has developed the coloring book Abenaki Animals with fellow Nulhegan Abenaki artist, Francine Poitras Jones. Most recently, they have collaborated on the storybook  Swift Deer’s Spirit Game that was just released.

In addition to woodworking and carving, I enjoy bead work and crafting and have made many pieces which include porcupine quill earrings and chokers, wampum earrings, belts, bracelets, and necklaces.

Contact Info

Email: [email protected]


Image of war clubs made by Brian Chenevert.
War Clubs
Image of rattle made by Brian Chenevert.
Rattle
Image of snow snakes made by Brian Chenevert.
Snow Snakes

Image of book called Azban's Great Journey
Image of book Swift Deer's Spirit Game

Presentations

2016, 2018

Abenaki Heritage Weekend, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Vergennes,  VT

Publications

Radio Interviews

Affiliations

Vermont Abenaki Artists Association

Joseph Bruchac

Enrolled Citizen of the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation

Juried Artist since 2018
Image of Joseph Bruchac

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.”


Contact

Address: PO Box 308, Greenfield Center, NY 12833

Email: [email protected]

Website: Website: josephbruchac.com (A list of his book awards can be viewed here.)


Image of book cover for The Arrow Over the Door.
Book cover for The Arrow Over the Door
Image of cover for Honor Songs by The Dawnland Singers.
Cover for Honor Songs by The Dawnland Singers

Affiliations:

Vermont Abenaki Artists Association

Ndakinna Education Center

Blog

Vermont Folklife logo.

Traditional Arts Spotlight by Vermont Folklife – Abenaki Basket Making and Fiber Art

Sherry Gould (Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation) and Vera Sheehan (Elnu Abenaki Tribe), are both lifelong artists and ...
Abenaki Heritage Weekend poster

Abenaki Heritage Weekend 2023

June 17-18 at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum On June 17-18, 2023, citizens of the New England Abenaki community will gather ...
Newspaper with News headline

Our Turn: Sharing Community, Rutland Herald. May 4, 2023

Is Vermont being lobbied for Nuremberg Laws? Race-based attacks and harmful stereotypes are putting Vermont’s Abenaki communities in jeopardy, and ...
This is an article.

Abenaki Alliance: Is Vermont being Lobbied for Nuremberg Law? Brattleboro Reformer. May 2, 2023

Race-based attacks and harmful stereotypes are putting Vermont’s Abenaki communities in jeopardy and it needs to stop. This week is ...
Newspaper with News headline

Stop Hate Toward Abenaki. Mountain Times. May 3, 2023

Dear Editor Race-based attacks and harmful stereotypes are putting Vermont’s Abenaki communities in jeopardy and it needs to stop. This ...
Newspaper with Press Release as header.

Governor Recognized Abenaki Recognition and Heritage Week. Saint Alban’s Messenger. May 4, 2023

SWANTON — For the fifth consecutive year, Gov. Phil Scott has recognized May 1-7 as Abenaki Recognition and Heritage Week ...
Newspaper with Press Release as header.

First Week in May being designated Abenaki Recognition and Heritage Week. NBC Channel 5

First week in May designated Abenaki Recognition and Heritage Week "We owe the Abenaki people of Vermont and indigenous tribes ...
Newspaper with Press Release as header.

Vermont Delegation Statement Commemorating Abenaki Recognition and Heritage Week. Bernie Sanders/Vermont.gov. April 28, 2023

“It is with great honor and respect that we come together to celebrate Abenaki Recognition and Heritage Week, the centuries-old ...

Champlain College Student Develops App for Abenaki Artists

Dustin - Low res

Burlington, VT., August 30, 2017 – The Google Play store has released a new Android app called Vermont Abenaki Artists Association which was designed by Dustin Lapierre, a senior at Champlain College.

It all began two months ago when Lapierre

Pocumtuck Homelands Festival

The 4th Annual Pocumtuck Homelands Festival, a celebration of Native American Art, Music, and Culture, takes place on Saturday, August 5 from 10am to 7pm at the Unity Park Waterfront in Turners Falls, MA. The event features live traditional, original and fusion music, Native American crafts, story telling ,drumming, games and activities for kids, primitive skills demonstrations, and an impressive selection of books.

The Mashantucket-Pequot archaeology team will be on site to analyze early contact period artifacts brought to the festival. Festival food will be available, including Native American fare. The Pocumtuck Homelands Festival is free, family friendly, educational, accessible and fun for all ages!
This event is sponsored by The Nolumbeka Project, with support by Turners Falls RuverCulture.

Read the full text and schedule on Facebook.

 

Sessions for Teacher Training

Presenting Abenaki History in the Classroom Promo

When: Wednesday, August 2, 2017 from 9:30am-4pm

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

Cost: $15 registration fee includes lunch and program materials.

Register: Eventbrite

Session Descriptions

Walk Through Western Abenaki History with Melody Walker Brook 

From creation to the present day, Brook will touch upon key events in Abenaki history to highlight their unique story in the Northeast.

Introduction to VAAA Educational Resources with Vera and Lina 

Explore VAAA educational tools, study guides, activity sheets and possible classroom visits by Abenaki culture bearers. Followed by a sample screening of some of our documentary short that teachers can show their students in their classrooms.

Using the Land, River, Forest, and Animals to Survive with Roger Longtoe Sheehan 

When talking about hunting, spirituality, and land use, it’s important to understand how they are all connected. Sheehan will guide us through seasonal lifeways from hunting moose, ice fishing, harvesting materials for survival. There will also be a display of equipment and other items from his private collection.

Alnobak: Wearing Our Heritage Exhibition Tour with Vera Longtoe Sheehan 

Teachers will have the opportunity to further their knowledge of the intertwining historical and cultural concepts that they have been learning throughout the day, and to become more familiar with some of the materials available to the Abenaki people. The tour will explore how culture bearers express their identity through wearing regalia that shows their connections to the world, their community and their ancestors.

Coming Home: the Significance of Local Knowledge and Stewardship by Lina Longtoe 

Across Native American communities, what is the principle of the Next Seven Generations and how have Abenaki families communicated it to their children? Learn how to connect students to local plant life, then utilize them to create children’s toys and activities.

 Gardening and Foodways with Liz Charlebois

Liz

Presenting Abenaki Culture in the Classroom

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Members of the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association serve as faculty for this one-day professional development seminar at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM), designed to provide teachers and homeschool educators with new resources and techniques to help elementary students learn about the Abenaki tribe. This program is supported by a grant from the Vermont Humanities Council.

Abenaki culture and history that spans 11,000 years in the Champlain Valley will be introduced by culture bearers with deep understanding of how this vibrant regional culture continues into the 21st century. Some of the topics include: history and stereotypes; new resources being developed for use in classrooms; age-appropriate activities; and learning how you can better support Abenaki and other Native students while presenting American history. The program includes a gallery talk and tour of the traveling exhibition Alnobak: Wearing Our Heritage that explores Abenaki identity and continuity through the lens of the clothing we make and wear to express our identity.

When: Wednesday, August 2, 2017 from 9:30am-4pm

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

Cost: $15 registration fee includes lunch and program materials.

Register: Eventbrite

Instructors:

Melody Walker Brook is an Adjunct Professor at Champlain College and has taught The Abenakis and Their Neighbors and Abenaki Spirituality at Johnson State College. She serves on the Vermont Commission of Native American Affairs and is a traditional beadworker and finger weaver.

Liz Charlebois, Abenaki culture bearer, is a powwow dancer, traditional bead worker, ash basket maker, and bitten birch bark artist. She cultivates a traditional garden and has organized a seed bank of heirloom seeds grown by the Indigenous people of the Northeast. Liz has served on the New Hampshire Commission of Native American Affairs and as Education Specialist at the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum in Warner, NH.

Lina Longtoe is certified Project WILD instructor for the Growing Up WILD, Aquatic WILD and Project WILD K – 12 programs, which are sponsored by the EPA, US Fish and Wildlife, and the National Wildlife Federation. Her area of study is environmental science with a concentration in sustainability. She is Tribal Documentarian for the Elnu Abenaki Tribe and maintains a YouTube channel to help preserve Abenaki culture.

Vera Longtoe Sheehan, Director of the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association, has a background in Museum Studies and Native American Studies. She has been designing and implementing educational programs with museums, schools and historic sites for over twenty-five years. Her art is focused on traditional clothing and twined woven plant fiber bags.

For more information, please contact:

Vera Longtoe Sheehan, Vermont Abenaki Artists Association [email protected]

Photos From the 2017 Abenaki Heritage Weekend

Every year the Abenaki Heritage Weekend offers opportunities for in promtu activities for the public to interact with the Abenaki community. Lina Longtoe of Askawobi Production captured a couple of these encounters.

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Aaron Wood teaches two young people learn how to pound an ash log to produce ash splints for basket making.

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Everyone gathers for a Round Dance

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