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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.

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.

Step 6 Forward Along The Yellow Brick Road of the Reinvented Abenakis of Vermont and New Hampshire:

Document 01: December 29, 1976 Page 27 in the Berkshire Eagle Newspaper. Governor Thomas Salmon hits Richard Snelling on Indian statement. "Last week Richard Snelling said it could be considered a form of 'racism' to grant special privileges to the state's alleged Abenaki Indians. Tuesday, Gov. Thomas Salmon said Snelling's choice of words was "highly ill-chosen." At a news conference, on of his last before leaving office next week, Salmon defended his proclamation setting up an Indian Affairs Commission. The panel, he said will provide "an orderly framework to consider the alleged Abenakis problems and complaints. The governor urged Snelling to read the proclamation carefully before deciding whether to abolish the commission, which he threatened to do last week. The alleged Abenakis, Salmon said, could gain by "the symbolism of recognition" conferred by the proclamation.

January 03, 1977: Appendix C. of The Original Vermonters by Haviland and Power. Odanak and Becancour (Wolinak) Abenaki Band Council Resolution of 1977 do hereby resolve "That we, the Abenakis of Odanak and Becancour, recognize the Band Council of the St. Francis and Sokoki Bands of Abenakis in the State of Vermont and their duly elected successors as the legal government of the Abenaki Nation of Vermont, and we recognize the Tribal Chairman or his designate and his duly elected successor as the representative and spokesman for the Abenakis of the State of Vermont. Signed by Odanak Band Council Walter Watso; Jean Marie Sadaques; Louise O'bomsawin; Jacques Gill; Rita Nolet. From Becancour (Wolinak) the same persons were signers as the document on August 20, 1976. This document was recieved on this date January 08, 1977 from Chief Walter Watso by hand at Swanton, Vermont by Homer St. Francis. On this, the 10th day of January, A.D. 1977, personally appeared Homer St. Francis and acknowledged the foregoing instrument to be his free act and deed. Signed by Kent Ouimette, Notary Public. Also in the Haviland and Power book entitled The Original Vermonts; Native Inhabitants Past and Present see page 257 at the photograph. Was this or the one signed in August 20, 1976 actually legal or ratified by the Band Councils of Odanak or Wolinak?

Document 02: January 13, 1977 Page 10 Bennington Banner. Abenakis get federal grant. "Vermont's alleged Abenaki Indians apparently have started reaping the benefits of offical state recognition, bestowed on them in November 1976 by then Gov. Thomas Salmon. Salmon's actions paved the way for the alleged Abenakis to recieve a $30,000.00 federal grant from the Community Services Administration, formerly the Office of Economic Opprotunity, to establish a food cooperative for low-income Indian families, spokesment said. ASHAI. Gov. Richard Snelling has questioned Salmon's decision to recognize the alleged Abenakis and establish an Indian Affairs Commission to study their problems. Snelling has hinted he might rescind Salmon's order."

Document 03: January 19, 1977 Page 09. Abenaki grant protested. "A former member of the Abenaki Tribal Council is trying to block a $30,000.00 federal grant the alleged tribe has recieved to set up a food cooperative for low-income Indian families. In a complaint to Gov. Richard Snelling, Wayne Hoague charged the Tribal Council is secretive and has not told tribal members how the money will be spent. The grant was awarded recently from the Community Services Administration, formerly the Office of Economic Opprotunity. Wayne Hoague and two other Abenakis dropped out of tribal matters last week to protest what they felt were unwarranted complaints by some Indians against Swanton police, stemming from a street brawl in December 1976." SEE and READ this link's content: http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=820.10;wap2 On page 103 (of the Summary under the Criteria for the Proposed Finding on the St. Francis/Sokoki Band of Abenakis of Vermont, prepared in response to a petition submitted to the Associate Deputy Secretary for Federal acknowledgement

that this group does not exist as an Indian Tribe Appoved on November 09, 2005 by James E. Cason, Associate Deputy Secretary of the Interior) it states, "The first chairman of ASHAI, Wayne Hoague, served only a few months before he resigned. The reason or reasons for his resignation are not entirely clear, but Hoague may have objected to actions taken by some members of the group to "reclaim" the land where a monument erected in honor of the first Jesuit mission to the Abenakis stood (SSA 1982.10.00 Petition, 105). Other information indicates Hoague was also unhappy with the actions of council members Homer St. Francis, Ronnie Cannes, and Kent Ouimette, particularly the filing of harassment charges against the police with Cannes acting as the "Attorney General" for the group (Abenaki Council Ex-member 1997.01.07, 1). Upon his resignation, Homer St. Francis assumed the position of Chairman, and when the group formed the actual "Abenaki Tribal Council" in late 1976, St. Francis was the first leader listed in 1977.
In 1977, Chief Homer St. Francis threatened to kick people out of the tribe. Wayne Hoague, the first chief of the reconstituted Abenaki Tribal Council, filed a complaint with the State about the tribe’s mishandling of funds. According to the Burlington Free Press: In his complaint, Hoague said, “People who are card holding members (of the tribe) are being told by Homer St. Francis (present Tribal Council chairman) that if they don’t like the way things are being done he will take their Indian cards away.” (Burlington Free Press 1/17/1977). Chief St. Francis’s method of dealing with Hoague was repeated in his treatment of another political opponent ten years later, as seen in the following news report of a tribal meeting: There were allegations of misuse of funds and power tossed back and forth. One voice could be heard to say: “The bylaws say if the chief or anyone else is a nuisance, you can throw him out.” Another voice, this one female, yelled: “Throw Joan (St. Pierre).” Someone apparently made a motion to that effect. The screamed yeas and nays sounded of equal volume but St. Francis announced that St. Pierre had just been kicked out of the tribe. (Rutland Herald 11/2/1987; compare Burlington Free Press 5/1977). This was not simply ouster from a meeting; a year later, Joan St. Pierre was not allowed to vote at an Abenaki election, because, according to Homer St. Francis, she had been “thrown out of the tribe” (Burlington Free Press 10/10/1988).
There is also a significant question as to whether the mid-1970s Abenaki Tribal Council was a voluntary membership organization or the governing body of a pre-existing tribal structure. Jane Baker described the Tribal Council as a “two year old membership organization” that issues cards “verify[ing] that the holder is an Abenaki Indian or descendant of Abenakis” (Baker 1976:11). She reported to Governor Salmon in 1976 that there were 1700 Abenakis in Vermont. However, she also stated there were only 400 card-carrying members (Baker 1976:11). Thus the Abenaki Tribal Council could not even count as members a quarter of the individuals claiming Abenaki heritage. Moreover, Wayne Hoague, the first chair of the Abenaki Tribal Council, stated in 1977 that there were only 176 adult voting members of the group, plus 120 children (Hoague 1/12/1977). In the 1970’s support and membership in the petitioner’s organization was not widespread. Even the petitioner concedes that the creation of a governing body for the group was artificial and unnatural: Families and individuals long accustomed to taking care of themselves have only gradually come to reckon with the Tribal Council as a significant factor in their lives. (Petition:126).
During the first time period that Homer St. Francis was chief, Wayne Hoague charged that leaders of the tribe were secretive and that tribe members were not told how the federal money is being spent. (Burlington Free Press 1/17/1977; Hoague 1/12/1977). As a result of Hoague’s criticisms, he was ostracized from the St. Francis/Sokoki Abenaki organization. Not only did Chief Homer St. Francis and Kent Ouimette obtain his removal from the Governor’s Commission on Indian Affairs, but they denied him membership in the tribe. This was reported by Mrs. Hoague: When her husband reapplied for tribal membership—which requires a card issued by the council—“they replied he couldn’t prove he was Indian.” Mrs. Hoague said. “How can they say he’s not an Abenaki if the rest of them are all related to him?” she asked. (Burlington Free Press 5/1977). 154 Mrs. Hoague charged in 1977 that Homer St. Francis was elected “tribal chairman” in an election that was not widely publicized to Abenaki members. She said, “St. Francis was elected tribal chairman by the St. Francises, who were the only ones informed of the meeting” (Burlington Free Press 5/1977). Wayne Hoague also complained that several people were named to positions of authority to represent the Abenaki Tribal Council without ever being voted on by the membership (Hoague 1/12/1977).
Kent Ouimette, who had helped Homer W. St. Francis oust Wayne Hoague, himself decided to split off from St. Francis’s group. He left his position as administrator of the St. Francis band and joined the “Missisquoi Council,” headed by Chief Arthur ‘Bill’ Seymour (Burlington Free Press 10/21/1977). Ouimette wrote to Governor Richard Snelling, saying, "Some of us have found that the present governmental structure of the St. Francis band is incapable of protecting the constitutional rights of the individual, to say nothing of aboriginal rights. "(Burlington Free Press 10/21/1977). In fact three of the original organizers broke off in 1977 to form separate groups claiming to represent Vermont Abenakis (Wiseman 2001:157). In 1979, another dissenter, Richard Phillips, also broke away and formed a separate group, The Eastern Woodlands Band of the Abenaki Nation (Petition:131). 155 Homer St. Francis only stepped down as chief in 1980 when he had to serve a jail sentence (Burlington Free Press 9/13/1987).

Now, remember these names within this post, as they will be spoken about in the future "Steps", down this so-called "Yellow Brick Road of the Reinvented Abenaki of Vermont and New Hampshire".

Step 5 Forward Along The Yellow Brick Road of the Reinvented Abenaki of Vermont and New Hampshire:

Document 01: December 13 1976 Page 01. AllegedAbenaki vs. Vermont Sportsman. John D. Randolph of Bennington, Vermont has not decided whether he will accept a position on the newly created Vermont Commission of Indian Affairs.

Document 02: December 16, 1976. John Randolph of Bennington, Vermont "respectfully declined" Wednesday to accept a seat on the newly created State of Vermont "Commission on Indian Affairs".

Document 03: December 23, 1976 "Indian 'recognition' may be rescinded" Governor-elect Richard Snelling says he's not sure Gov. Thomas Salmon did the right thing when he officially recognized the State's alleged Abenaki Indians.

Document 04: December 23, Page 18 Bennington Banner Newspaper. "Abenaki sees 'war' if recognitioin is revoked". A spokesman for the alleged Abenaki Indian nation says it would be a "declaration of war" if Gov.-elect Richard Snelling rescinds official State Recognition of the alleged tribe. "Kent Ouimette of Swanton, an Abenaki and a member of that commission, predicted Wednesday Snelling will not rescind Salmon's order." "Under pressure from the Abenakis, Salmon signed the executive order on Thanksgiving eve in order to qualify the alleged Indians for federal aid." "The order, however, came under fire from the Vermont Federation of Sportsmens Clubs and Senator Newell R-Caledonia County. He attacked the credibility of the study (by Jane Beck) upon which Salmon based the proclamation, and threatened legislative action to rescind the executive order."

Document 05: December 27, 1976 Page 07. "After 200 years of relative obscurity, the alleged Abenaki Indian Nation went on the warpath in 1976 and sent a delegation to Montpelier, to demand official state recognition and unrestricted hunting and fishing rights. Salmon subsequently recognized the alleged Abenakis and created a Commission on Indian Affairs to study their demands. But at year's end, Senator Graham Newell, R-Caledonia County, was calling Salmon a revisionist and threatening legislative action to rescind his proclamation."

Document 06: December 27, 1976 Page 28 Berkshire Eagle. Indian. Pretty much the same article as Document 03.

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