Thursday, April 29, 2010
Open Letter to Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas of late March 2008 Pages 32-35:
Kwai Nidobak (In Abenaki, this means "Hello, my friends ")
the following is from my blog at www.morningstarstudio9.com. It is not intended to "bash" anyone, but to recount the events as I saw them to provide the facts from my perspective. Most of the facts can be verified by the speakers own words which were video taped during the meeting.
Morningstar (Jeanne Antoinette nee: Lalime - Lincoln - Kent)
MEETING - Wanaskôwadin
Kwai, Nidoba (In abenaki this means "Hello, my friend)
I attended the Hearing on @ (sic) S.117 on Friday and was disappointed that more "Indians" did not attend. It was mostly "chiefs". This concerns a lot of people who are not making their thoughts heard. There is still time to write to the Senators on the matter. Chief April and Nancy Millet (sic) Millette-Doucet spoke factually and well regarding their thoughts on the amendment as written. They expressed thought which I agreed with and which others might have, had they heard the original statements. As elequently as Judy Dowd's (sic) Dow's thoughts were expressed, she seemed to still be under the impression that it was the intention of the two major groups to exclude others, which was not the intent at all. While there was a great deal of emphasis on the fact that the amendment they added would somehow be exclusive of others that was not their intent at all and it was so stated at the hearing. (Which was video taped). The difficulty is that the Abenaki in particular have for two lifetimes (Chief Homer Walter St. Francis Sr. 's and Chief April Ann nee: St. Francis - Rushlow - Merrill 's) worked government to government (NO, that was Government to Incorporation) on many local issues. They have protected grave sites, continued to teach the young lanugage, dance and culture as well as crafts. They have provided cultural events in their Native territory and were recognized by name in the original S.117 (No, that was recongition of the HISTORICALLY DOCUMENTED MISSISQUOI ABENAKIS of the Swanton-Franklin County, Vermont area...NOT St. Francis/ Sokoki Band of the Abenaki led by April Merrill). It seems redundant to have them go thru another recognition process when the government itself has been recognizing them for nearly 100 years (100 years?! No, that group only incorporated *under Vermont State Law, in 1975-1976).
Both Chief April Merrill and Nancy Millette - Doucet testified that other Bands would be welcome to go through the application process to be recognized. That cannot be made clear enough as others keep acting as scare mongers trying to prevent things from moving forward.
At this point in time, I have serious doubts about the professionalism and qualifications of some of the Commission members. I am certain there are others who are dedicated and honest, but there is room for doubt on some of the them. For instance, Jeanne Brink took some of her time to once again state that she was not connected with Odanak, yet has (more than once) stated in publication that she is a citizen of it. (NO, Jeanne Brink may or may allegedly have said that at that time, the reporter Terry Hallenbeck, the Burlington Free Press reporter stated that Jeanne Brink stated this).
Wed. October 3, 2007
article by Terri Hallenbeck
"...I think it will solve the problem," said Jeanne Brink of Barre, an Abenaki basketmaker who is a member of the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs. She is able to sell her work as Native American as a citizen of the Odanak Reserve in Quebec, but she said she works with other Vermont Abenaki artists who cannot."
Not only is this contradictory to her testimony at the Friday hearing, it is contrary to the Arts and Crafts laws which state that in order for someone from Odanak to sell crafts here, they would have to be made on the Reservation there and imported here. It is quite clear that this is not the case. Further, she has threatened that if the commission's version of
the amendment is not accepted, she will recommend that no recognition of any kind be given to anyone. So much for a willingness to compromise for the wellbeing of the Abenaki People.
In his speech, "Chief" Paul Pouliot openly admitted that he provides Artisan Certificates from his Cowasuck group and has every intention of continuing doing so. He has stated that he is going thru recognition (he has a letter of intent on file, but not an application at this time), while defying the Arts and Crafts Law openly. Last summer he openly displayed one of those certificates at the Swanton Heritage Day celebration even as Vermont Craftsmen struggled to do things legally. That is hardly doing things the "right way". His speaking style, as always, introduced key inflammatory words such as "casinos" and "land grabs" in an attempt to frighten the Senate members. It is and never has been the intention of the Missisquoi or Koesucks (sic) Koasek or Koas to seek either, but at least one other band (Inc. Nulhegan group led by Luke Andrew Willard) has approached their Representative for money to purchase a building to house a museum bar and gambling establishment. A little like the pot calling the kettle black. A point which has not been made publicly clear is that that if the Missisquoi and Koesucks (sic) go thru the same process as everyone else at this time, it will be at least another year or two before anyone is recognized. Having at least one group recognized in the short run would alleviate the pressure being placed on Artisans by the Federal Government. Todd Hebert also noted that without some form of recognition, the upcoming Centennial celebration would be without any recognized Native Bands. It makes that even moot. This happened in Virginia and could happen in Vermont.
I still support the recognition of the Missisquoi and Koesucks and the continued efforts to recognize all bands who qualify. I do not feel the Legislature should be involved for legal reasons and for the time constraints it will place on the process.
Following is a copy of my statement at the hearing:
Kwai Kwai, Nidobak
Good mornings, Ladies and Gentlement of the Senate and all who have come here today.
My name is Jeanne Kent, B.F.A., M.A., Ed., aka Morningstar (Spozowialakwz). I am a retired art instructor and current owner of Morningstar Studio. I am Abenaki of the Bear Clan through the Watso/ Capino family of Odanak and signers of the Robertson's Lease in Missisquoi County. I currently reside in Winchester, CT, but have a daughter, her family and two grandchildren residing in Vermont. I also have a son and two more grandchildren residing in Connecticut. I am not currently enrolled so I speak as an individual, family matriarch, and as an artist/ craftsperson.
I wish to commend all who have worked on both sections of the amendment and thank you for your hours of dedication. However, I was very surprised when I saw the new guidelines set forth by the Commission as they are almost identical to those set forth by the Federal government for Federal Recognition. I had always been under the impression that State guidelines were less stringent in recognizing tribes at State level. That is not apparent here.
As history has shown, it too 33 years for us to have the little recognition currently offered and one has to wonder how long it will take for the new process to recognize the State bands. It should be clear that most of the Bands and family clans, have little or no money or resources to prepare the kind of data being requested. It is obvious that some form of identification is necessary, but what is being asked for would require money and
man hours that most groups do not have. They are still Abenaki. But proving it to these standars could be a hardship.
If the two groups which have historically been active in Vermont were to be recognized, they could then act as a conduit for grant money to help these smaller groups to do the research necessary for their recognition. Asking each group to do their own, places an undue burden on them. I place before you my own genealogy (I placed three notebooks on the table).....
(what happened to Jeanne Kent's other 3 notebooks she claims to have? See http://www.abenakijustice.blogspot.com/ partial quote "I [Jeanne Kent aka Morningstar] don't think anyone proved that I am not descended from Odanak. While I have not reviewed all of my genealogy on Douglas' site, I do have enough information that fills six notebooks which says I do. I simply do not meet the requirement for enrollment there...So, no, I do not meet the requirements, but that does not mean I am not a descendant. Apparently you do not understand that the Capino/Pineau families are descendants of the Watso family." dated April 26, 2010).....
....which took nearly 20 years to complete, numerous hours, travel, costs, correspondences phone calls and trips to the genealogical library and Canada, and the hiring of professional genealogists. Merely printing this and binding it for you today cost about $200.00 (yet she didn't apparently leave the 3 notebooks of her alleged genealogy for anyone in the Legislature to review). Multiply this times each individual or each band, and the matter is an economic challege for all concerned. (There is currently NO budget alloted to the VT Indian Commission.)
Much of the heated discussions have been over power and personalities, but the reality for many of us, it is neither. We are getting on in years and would like to see recognition before we cross over. We have already lost some of our historians, leaders and valued Elders. We are slowing dying from paper genocide.
I am concerned at this time about the matter of privacy of information. This past week, private emails passing between individuals and Commission members found their way onto the Internet. This makes me and others wary of where personal genealogies and band information will be housed and how carefully it will be handled. In as much as this action was defended by the Commission Chairman (Mark Mitchell at the time), I would request stronger guidelines regarding the handling of Commission information and correspondence.
There are those who are verbally attacking the two major Abenaki groups on personal levels, but they seem to forget that leaderships are no longer inherited (EXCEPT April Ann nee: St. Francis - Merrill) . They are voted in. Rather than destroying the entire Abenaki Nation to take revenge upon a few people, it would seem more rational to appoint two groups and use them as leadership to work with the government (I should have said "continued"). It would be manditory rather than optional. This would also mean that leadership would be by vote and not by self-appointment. It would also mean that the Abenaki would have a voice and unified leadership.
To clarify: I do NOT support the Legislature. I DO support having the Commission approve Bands, NOT individuals. That should be left to the Bands. I also support the appointment of two major bands to handle the research and approval of all other splinter groups.
I have been an artist since I was old enough to hold a crayon (most Kindergartner's can say the same thing!) , and often shuffled four jobs to pay for my college education in the arts. I will continue to do my art with or without a disclaimer. But being able to label my work as Abenaki, would authenticate it as not only Native Made, but made by someone who has dedicated recent years to researching and producing woodland arts in order to help preserve our culture. It would mean being able to produce museum quality work and to teach others about us. I would also like the right to designate my artwork as Abenaki because when the arts, music, language, and stories are taken away from a People, we cease to be a People. For now we still have enough left to preserve, but soon, it will be gone.
As noted, I have done my genealogy and it is documented. I have a home, a retirement plan, medical insurance, a car and an education as well as a business of my own. I ask
nothing of the State of Vermont or the government. I was Abenaki yesterday. I am today and I will be tomorrow. What I do want is the right to SAY it (No one is stopping anyone from SAYING they are alleged Abenaki). I would like my alleged and self-declared birthright to be who I am without question. Too Indian for the white community; too white for the Indian community, I always see to be walking between two worlds. I would like to die having found balance and peace between them.
Will Vermont help to preserve it's history and the history of the Abenaki People? (Or allow these Incorporated Wanna-be Fake False Pretenders who have seemingly mis-appropriated an Abenaki Cultural Identity that doesn't belong to them at all to RE-WRITE the truthful Vermont history and Abenaki Ancestors and descendants blood, sweat and tears?!). You hold a beating heart in your hands. It is our heart. Please handle it with care. (Mohawk style!).
Oliwini (In Abenaki this means to imply that what is given is received only to be given outwardly again...circular...."what comes around subsequently goes around" "what one puts out eventually one gets back in return").
Thank you for allowing me to speak today
aka Jeanne Kent, B.F.A., M.A., Ed.
So...when in late February to at least April 2008 (including the latter half of 2007) Rep. Hinda Miller and Rep. Vincent Illuzzi were retrospectively-speaking working to craft an Amendment Bill to S.177 Vermont Abenaki Recognition bill, these various persons and groups of alleged and re-invented Abenakis of Vermont (along with other persons outside the State of Vermont...including myself were involved in the Abenaki Recognition dynamics, debate, and either advocated or obstructed positively or negatively.
From this retrospective look back at the early part of 2008, these "groups" of alleged and reinvented Abenakis in Vermont (the St. Francis-Sokoki, the Nulhegan, the Koasek, and El-Nu) were simply paranoid and obstructing ANYTHING that had to do with Odanak descendants who have lived within the state of Vermont for generations, and most importantly ANYTHING to do with GENEALOGICAL VERIFICATION, SOCIAL VERIFICATION, and HISTORICAL VERIFICATION that these INCORPORATION'S they themselves have created *under Vermont State Laws, to VERIFY, SOLIDIFY and SUBSTANTIATE their claims and proclamations that these Inc.d groups, their "Grand Chiefs" "Co-Chiefs" "Sub-Chiefs" their "Ambassadors" their "Senior Advisers their "Elders" their "Medicine People" or what have you, were and are legitimately descended and connected to the Abenaki Ancestors.
Genealogy TERRIFIES the Thieves and Liars, the Mis-Appropriators. The one's who "hide-in-plain-sight"
SO, in April 2010....the Abenaki Circus of Vermont and New Hampshire continue to attempt their deceptions, their manipulations, their lies, their "stories" and their distortions. These alleged and reinvented Abenakis of Vermont and New Hampshire, and IF anyone cares to read this blog, the PUBLIC and Academia would ALSO know this FACTUAL REALITY.
The TRUTH will set N'dakinna free, and the Alleged and Reinvented "Abenaki Circus" led by these Vermont and New Hampshire Incorporation's afore-mentioned, will either travel on...fading into the dark from whence they came from; or the State Legislature's will grant Official State Recognition to these Alleged and Reinvented Abenaki Clowns, WITHOUT having done their research to honestly validate the DECEIVERS from the LEGITIMATELY HISTORICALLY BASED and GENEALOGICALLY DOCUMENTED Abenaki People living in Vermont and New Hampshire.
TIME WILL TELL. So will the factual historical and genealogical documents on this blog.......