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Friday, May 29, 2009

When I first thought about relocating to N'dakinna.....

I legally changed my name to Salmon Raven Deer on September 21, 1991 in Port Angeles, Washington, stupidly thinking that such name change would reflect my Native People's ancestry. I was very naive. It was in the late summer of 1993, I had been genealogically researching for several years, my Woodard ancestry and knew that they were from Vermont. Knowing that one line of my relatives went from Walden, Caledonia County, Vermont to Phillips County, Kansas in October 1879, and the other line (siblings to my Woodard 4th Great Grandparents) had relocated to Fitch Bay, Stanstead County, Quebec, Canada in about 1845-1850, I decided to contact the Vermont Historical Society there in Montpelier, Vermont to request communication with anyone working with "the Abenaki" of Vermont. They wrote back giving me the name of John Moody. So, I called him up on the telephone, explaining my frustration. His reply was for me to keep genealogically researching the families of Woodward and Sawyer, and communicate later. So about a year later I did call him back. His words were, "didn't I tell you the Woodward's and Sawyer's were Abenaki?, you need to contact the Sovereign Abenaki Nation up in Swanton, get an application, and send it in". That was on or about July 20, 1993. Around this same timeframe, I had run across a Mentonoket Newsletter from down in Greenfield, N.H. on the table of my Annishnabe friend, wherein was indicated a "fluent Abenaki speaker" by the name of "Rick TwoBears", living in the Midwest area whom was giving language classes. Naturally, I was curious and contacted him. He told me that to write Salmon Raven Deer in Abenaki, one would write it "Meskwakchimolka". Of course, I didn't know the man was full of b.s., and so I used it on my application form. I shipped the family information I had at the time, which didn't amount to much at all, via U.P.S.

My "application" for membership into the Sovereign Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi/ Abenaki Tribal Council P. O. Box 276 Missisquoi, 05488 (802) 868-7146 was "O.K. Chief" dated 9-7-93 (September 07, 1993). All I had was oral history from various Wood(w)ard descendants. I thought (at the time) that I was applying for membership into a bonefide, legitimate Abenaki Community of legitimate Abenaki People. How naive I was at the time. In October 1993, I wrote to Michael and Ina Delaney up in Swanton, Vermont inquirying about the Abenaki language. I was then thinking on at least "visting" Swanton, Vermont at some point in the future.

By March of 1994 I had made the conclusion that however it would be put into reality, I would relocate to Swanton, Vermont or the surrounding area. I wanted to learn the Abenaki Language.

I had been living in a Layton Travel Trailer on the Elwha River for some time, I was 26 years of age, and couldn't see myself down the years of life in the same place, doing the same thing, being in the same town. So, I decided to sell the travel trailer, and buy a decent vehicle that would get me and the hound dog across the USA to Swanton, Vermont. I bought a 1975 Dodge van. I left Port Angeles in late March 1994 and hit the road eastwardly. I went through NY State up towards Rouses Point, NY and Alburg, Vermont. At one or the other places, at 4 a.m. or so, I took a left and unbeknownst to me, I "ran the Border" between the USA and Canada, having crossed a bridge, setting off the alarms. I turned around and figured out my way into Alburg, Vermont or Swanton. I pulled over and began to get directions to Swanton. At 4 a.m. I was trying to find the Swanton Abenaki Tribal Center. Well, I drove to Burlingon, Vermont havng driven through Swanton and called family out in Washington. Then I called Dee Brightstar to inform her I had indeed arrived in N'dakinna successfully. That is how I landed in Vermont, right smack in the middle of a mess, I at-the-time could never have foreseen getting into. I'll tell more later, of my experiences of April 1994 etc.

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