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Monday, November 16, 2009

Step 8 Forward Along the Yellow Brick Road of The Reinvented Abenakis of Vermont and New Hampshire:

Document 01: March 17, 1977. Abenakis laugh at notion of a hearing. The governor Richard Snelling explained, "The Vermont approach to the claims of certain people representing themselves as alleged Abenakis has far greater consequences that just hunting and fishing. They claim to be a nation. They demand sovereignty, and for the tribal council to be recognized as the government of that nation. A governor does not dispense sovereignty, period." He continued, "I have not been able to find out how one gets on the tribal council or how to get to be an official Abenaki. There are some 136 card-carrying members and they decide who's in and who's out." Snelling then read the demands made in a letter to the tribal council. One called for the council to have the right to remove or appoint members of the governor's Commission for Indian Affairs. The other demand was for removal of Wayne Hoague from the Commission. Snelling said a public hearing would be held April 08, 1977 in Swanton to determine "how many alleged Abenakis there are in the state, who determines which people are allegedly Abenakis, a list of all the names and addresses of alleged Abenakis, whether the tribal council is a corporation and whether it has by-laws, and what is being done to protect the rights of those claiming to be allegedly Abenakis but not recognized by the tribal council." Tribal administrator Kent Ouimette reportedly responded to the idea of a hearing by laughing. He said it would be absurd for the alleged Abenakis to have to prove before a commission how much indian blood they have. "We gave up bleeding for people a long time ago," he said. Ouimette added that "even the FBI and CIA do not have a list of all Abenaki names and addresses." Asked about the Abenakis claim to land along the Missisquoi River, Snelling responded: "When they told me the land was given to them by God, I told them I couldn't find where God had registered the deed."

Document 02: March 18, 1977 Page 14 Bennington Banner Newspaper. Abenakis petition Snelling , charge 'racism' toward tribe. "The Abenaki Support Committee handed Snelling a four-count citizen's indictment, charging him with racism toward the Indians. The Committee want the order  (that Gov. Thomas Salmon signed) reinstated. In addition, they said the state's Commission of Indian Affairs, Wayne Hoague, is "antagonistic and unacceptable to the government of the alleged Abenaki people."

Document 03: March 18, 1977 Page 19 Berkshire Eagle Newspaper. Abenaki Indians demand state recognition. Pretty much the same content as Docuemnt 2.

Document 04: April 05, 1977 Berkshire Eagle Newspaper, Massachusetts. Program on Indians to open in Bennington. "And Homer St. Francis , Abenaki Tribal Council Chairman, and Kent Ouimette, Abenaki tribal administrator, will talk about "The Abenaki of Vermont".

Document 05: April 15, 1977. Lecturer will discuss Abenakis' culture. Dr. Gordon Day, who will speak in Bennington, Vermont on April 23, 1977, is a student of the Abenaki Indian culture in Vermont. Day, senior ethnologist for eastern Canada with the National Institute of Man in Ottawa, will address the annual membership meeting Saturday, April 23, 1977 of the Bennington League of Women Voters.

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