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

“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.

March 21, 2024

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

This 60-minute Zoom program provided 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.

April 4, 2024

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

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.

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

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

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

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

This event is FREE, but donations are appreciated.

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….,”, 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 year-long 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.

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.


Amy Hook-Therrien drawing.

Sylvan Linck ‘24.5 – Middlebury College

FYSE 1570: Native Presence and Performance – 13 May 2021

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

Therrien also illustrated the book My Bring Up, which was a memoir written by her mother Shirly Hook and published in 2019. Therrien worked closely with her mother in order to create from memory the most accurate portrayals of different aspects of Hook

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.

Be sure to visit our newest exhibit, Deep Roots, Strong Branches, which will focus of Abenaki foodways, food security, and gardening throughout the centuries.

When: June 29 – 30, 2024

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 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.

Following are the artists who will be giving presentations, demonstrating their crafts, and vending in the Arts Marketplace as well as the programs that have been confirmed. The list will continue to be updated.

We have an exciting schedule this year!

……and there’s more to come! Check back often for updates to this list.

The “White & Indian” Babies of Franklin County

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.

Assigning racial birthright in Vermont 1900 - 1925

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 highpoints 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 Sponsors

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

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

Vermont Arts Council logo.
Cabot logo.



Vermont Abenaki Artists Association (VAAA) is a Native American arts organization that serves the public by connecting them to Abenaki educators, artists from the visual and performing arts as well as literary genres.

MISSION STATEMENT: Our mission is to promote awareness of state-recognized Abenaki artists and their art, to provide an organized central place to share creative ideas, and to have a method for the public to find and engage state-recognized Abenaki artists.

We do this by presenting public programs, cultural events, and museum exhibitions that educate the public in understanding Abenaki art and culture.

Connect with us to stay up-to-date and be part of a dialogue that embraces the past, present, and future of Abenaki art.

Save the Date - Abenaki Heritage Weekend - June 29-30, 2024
Bridging Perspectives - Indigenous narratives, identity, and healing - Speaker Series

Support Our Mission ↗

Join us in sustaining our mission of preserving Abenaki culture and fostering artistic expression by making a meaningful donation. Your support directly contributes to our impactful programs, enriching events, educational initiatives, and the creation of new exhibitions. Together, we can ensure the continuity of this invaluable cultural legacy.

Attend Abenaki Museum Exhibits

Step into a world of creativity and culture – visit our Exhibits page for detailed information on current exhibitions, including locations and dates. Immerse yourself in the vibrant stories waiting to be explored.

Find Abenaki Education Resources

Expand your knowledge and access valuable resources by visiting the Abenaki Arts & Education Center website for comprehensive Abenaki educational information and teacher resources.

VAAA brochure.

Click on the brochure image to download a printable copy.


Vermont Department of Health logo.
Lake Champlain Maritime Museum
Vermont Folklife logo.
Vermont Arts Council logo.
Vermont Humanities logo.
New England Foundation for the Arts logo
Abenaki Arts and Education Association logo with dark blue background and a white design with double curves and florets and words that say Sharing Abenaki Educational Resources with Classrooms Across N'dakinna.

November is Native American Heritage Month

Did you know it’s Native American Heritage Month? The Vermont Abenaki Artists Association has partnered with several institutions to host events all over Vermont.

Hood - Lori Lambert

November 4 & 5, 10 AM to 4:00 PM – Native Heritage Weekend –  Fort at Number 4, Charleston, NH. For more information visit

November 7, Wearing Our History: Abenaki Artists Panel Discussion

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

Presenting Abenaki Culture in the Classroom

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


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]

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