Abenaki Storytelling Project Memory Booth in Benson August 20, 2022

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The Abenaki Storytelling Project, a community-based arts and storytelling project that focuses on Native American strength and resiliency, will host a Memory Booth at the Nulhegan Abenaki Gathering in Benson, VT on Saturday August 20, from 10-5. The Storytelling Project

Abenaki Heritage Weekend 2022


For information contact: Francine Poitras Jones

[email protected]


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

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

This free event will be open from 11am to 4 pm both Saturday and Sunday. One of the highlights is the Native Arts Marketplace of the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association, where visitors can talk to artists, watch craft demonstrations, and purchase outstanding beadwork, paintings, jewelry, wampum, woodwork, leatherwork, drums, feather boxes, and other items.

About the Storytelling Project

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The Abenaki Storytelling Project is a community-based art project that supports Native American strength and resiliency. Over the past several years, the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association has sponsored several exhibits to promote the constantly evolving story of the lives of the Abenaki in N’Dakinna (our homeland). We utilize Native American arts and storytelling to uplift regional Abenaki voices and perspectives in museum exhibitions, programs, and cultural heritage events. When people see themselves reflected in exhibitions, artwork, and programs it is good for the health and wellness of their community by giving them a voice, which helps them know that their history, culture, and memories are important; they are not alone, especially during a time such as the recent pandemic.

The focus of this year’s Storytelling Project is exploring how COVID-19 has affected the Abenaki community. Utilizing arts and storytelling, Vermont Abenaki Artists Association (VAAA) will measure insights on COVID-19, vaccine-related perceptions, disparities, and access among the Native American population in Vermont and throughout N’Dakinna. These insights will be shared with the community of origin and the public through an online digital exhibition and a traveling exhibition in 2023-2024.

General Eligibility Requirements

Participants must be:

  • Over the age of 18
  • Have an email address
  • Be reachable by phone
  • Be Abenaki, Native American, or Native American descent
  • Other restrictions may apply.

Ways to Participate

  • Memory Booth events (15 minutes) 
  • Focus Groups (60 minutes ) 
  • Individual storytelling session (60-90 minutes) – 
  • Group of friends and/or storytelling session (60-90 minutes)  


For more information or to see if you qualify to be included, email [email protected] and type Storytelling Project in the subject line.

Check back for project updates!

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Sponsored by the Vermont Department of Health

The 2024 Abenaki Heritage Weekend

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

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

About the weekend…….

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cost: FREE

Directions: Click here for Google Map

About the 2024 Abenaki Heritage Weekend:

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

One of the highlights of the weekend was the Native Arts Marketplace of the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association, where visitors could talk to artists, watch craft demonstrations, and purchase outstanding beadwork, paintings, jewelry, wampum, woodwork, leatherwork, drums, and other items. 

“The variety and quality of the work created by our Abenaki artists is outstanding,” said Vera Longtoe Sheehan, Executive Director of the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association. “Some of our artists create traditional art and some create contemporary art, often inspired by tradition. If you are looking to purchase a special gift or something new for your collection, be sure to visit the Native Arts Marketplace.”

Throughout the weekend there were activities of interest to everyone. The public was advised to bring a picnic lunch so they could sit and listen to singing and drumming by the Nulhegan Drum. Children and adults alike enjoyed storytelling by Abenaki author and historian Joseph Bruchac.

Following was the schedule for the 2024 Abenaki Heritage Weekend:

(subject to changes due to weather)

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

Assigning Racial Birthright in Vermont 1900 – 1925

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

Always Coming Home (Book Reading and Signing)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

American Abenaki Beadwork (Book Reading and Signing)

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

The Abenaki Toddler’s Play Group

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

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

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

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

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

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Vermont Department of Health logo.
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Lake Champlain Maritime Museum
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