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Monday, November 16, 2009

Step 7 Forward Along The Yellow Brick Road of the Reinvented Abenakis of Vermont and New Hampshire:

Document 01: January 29, 1977 Page 01 Bennington Banner Newspaper. Snelling Withdraws Abenaki Recognition. "Gov. Richard Snelling Friday withdrew the state's formal recognition of a special council that claims to represent the alleged Abenaki Indian tribe. Snelling's action revoked a Thanksgiving Eve proclamation by then Gov. Thomas Salmon recognizing the status of the Abenaki Tribal Council. Snelling said he had asked Salmon not to issue the order and had told him he would not feel obligated by it after he took office. At an unscheduled news conference Friday, Snelling told reporters the Abenaki Tribal Council is a private organization that represents possibly only one tenth of the people in Vermont with an Abenaki heritage. He also objects to singling out the Abenakis for special treatment by granting their request for unrestricted hunting and fishing rights in the state."

Document 02: February 02, 1977. 2nd part of a article regarding Vermont Governor Richard Snelling. "On another matter, Snelling said the alleged Abenaki Indians are still eligble for federal funds despite his revocatioin of the state's formal recognition of the tribe's special council. Last week Snelling withdrew the recognition given by former Gov. Thomas Salmon to the Abenaki Tribal Council, saying the governor does not have the right to grant recognition to the Abenakis as a nation or tribal council. He said if the Indians have the right to recognition, they can enforce it in court, and if not, they should work through the legislature to obtain it. A new executive order issued by Snelling on January 28, 1977 creates a five-member Vermont Commmission for Indian Affairs. Unlike the former order, it does not give the Abenaki Council authority to appoint members to the commission.

Document 03: February 22, 1977 Page 03 Bennington Banner Newspaper. Panel on Indian Rights called Feb. 26 at UVM. "A public forum on Abenaki Indian hunting and fishing rights will be held at the University of Vermont on Saturday, Feb. 26, at 2 p.m. in Benedict Auditorium, Marsh Life Sciences Building. The panel for the forum will consist of members of the Vermont Abenaki Tribal Council, Chief Walter Watso of all Abenakis from Odanak, and a member of the Becancour Band Council. Dr. William A. Haviland, chairman of the anthropology department, will moderate. A few of the sponsors from the forum include the anthropology department , sociology department and student anthropology club at UVM."

Document 04: March 01, 1977 Page 03 Bennington Banner Newspaper. Abenakis say food, not sport, is motivation. "Abenaki Indian leaders say their efforts to extend hunting and fishing rights are not for sport but for food and preservation of their culture. We don't hunt for sport, we hunt for food, " said Kent Ouimette. Speaking at the University of Vermont, Ronald Cannes, an Abenaki and representative of the American Indian Movement, said Saturday the Indians' request for unrestricted hunting and fishing rights means unrestricted by the state. The Abenaki Tribal Council would regulate the Indians' hunting and fishing, he said. Last month, Gov. Richard Snelling rescinded an executive order by former Gov. Thomas Salmon which awarded official recognition to the Abenaki Tribal Council. Both Caans and Ouimette said the Abenakis' right to fish and hunt were given by their "Creator." In a related development, House Speaker Timothy O'Conner, D-Brattleboro, called Sunday for an investigation into Abenaki claims and demands. O'Conner warned against granting special treatment to the alleged tribe without first conducting a probe to determine the validity of the claims. He said granting special privileges would "open a Pandora's box" of similar claims against the state. His position was backed by four other legislators, including House Fish and Game Chairman Ernest Earle, R-Eden.

Document 05: March 15, 1977 Page 11. Outsight ~ Hatchery story. "Snelling speaking to the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs at Randolph, disclosed for the first that he considered former Gov. Thomas Salmon's recognition of the alleged Abenaki Indians to be a violation of a governor's powers. Snelling said a governor's job is to implement law and that he has no power to make it. Snelling said the people of northern Vermont who were claiming to be Indians were actually claiming the right to become a seperate nation. The governor said his office does not have the power to endow any group with nationhood. That end must be sough by the alleged Indians through the court or the Vermont Legislature."
Snelling said he will seek answers from the Indians at the first meeting of the newly created Indian Commission in Swanton on April 06, 1977. At that meeting, he said he will seek to discover how many Abenakis there are in Vermont and how they are authenticated as bonefide Indians. He said he will also seek to determine how the rights of minorities are assured within the group which claims to be the Abenakis ruling council. The governor indicated emphatically that he will ignore attempts by the Abenakis Tribal Council to dictate members of the Indian Commission and to have one of its "Indian" members thrown off. Wayne Hoag, a man who claims to be an Abenaki, and a former head of the Abenakis Tribal Council, has been rejected by the Tribal Council now, both as a member of the Indian Commission and as a member of the alleged Abenaki tribe. Another tribal official said Sunday that Hoag's genealogy was suspicious and there was doubt now that he was in fact an Abenaki. Hoag has charged the Abenakis Tribal Council with undemocratic procedures and unexplained use of federal funds. IN CONNECTION with the alleged Abenakis' claims to having inherited Vermont from God, Snelling observed that he has not been able to find the recorded deed.

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