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Thursday, September 30, 2010

The "Abenaki" Plot Thickens....Part 5: September 21, 2004 Article (again)~Misc. April Merrill Media Comments about VCNAA~Brad Barrett Letter and April Merrill's Repsonse, Etc.~Abenaki Justice Comments and Responses~Luke Willard Huffing and Puffing~Luke Willard Interview w. WDGR~Sevens Days Online Article

September 21, 2004
The Newport Daily Express Newspaper
Newport, Orleans County, Vermont
Page 1
By Anna L. Squire
"Illustration"
Some of the members of the Nulhegan Band, Cowasuck Abenakis, who are petitioning the Vermont legislature for state recognition. From left to right, rear, Luke Willard (Falling Owl), Dawn Macie (Dancing Light), front row, left to right: Nancy Cote, Silent Thunder, Sparkling Water. (Photo by Anne L. Squire)
In Derby Line
Local Abenakis forming a new band, seeking state recognition
By Anne L. Squire
Express Staff Writer
DERBY LINE -- For 30 years, various groups of Abenakis have petitioned the Legislature and the governors for state recognition. This status would give that group an official status within Vermont. Federal recognition, which has very specific criteria and is usually much harder to achieve, brings benefits such as health access and scholarships. Many tribes that have federal recognition have casinos on their land, which bring the tribes a considerable amount of money because Indian casinos are exempt from federal taxes.
For most of the 70's and 80's the most vocal Abenaki group in Vermont was the group at Swanton, under the leadership of the late Homer St. Francis. That group applied for state recognition, but Attorney General William Sorrell
--------See Abenakis Page Nine.......
Abenakis Continued.....
From Page One
denied their petition in a 254-paged document. Although several other groups within the state have attempted some form of petition, they have been unsuccessful for several reasons.
Most recently, former Gov. Howard Dean rejected state recognition for the Swanton band because he believed recognition would open the floodgates to other Abenaki groups, and would pave the way for a casino in Vermont.
Now, a group of Abenakis meeting presently in Derby Line has petitioned the governor and the Legislature for state recognition. This group, calling themselves the Nulhegan band of the Coosuck Abenakis, originally were part of the group that meets at Evansville, Vermont, under the leadership of Ralph Swett. They left to form their own group.
Luke Willard, elected as their war chief, and several members of the group were interviewed Sunday afternoon.
In only a few months, the group has grown from 15 to around 50, Willard said. The group has been incorporated in Vermont as a non-profit organization, and is seeking federal status as a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization.
Willard said the group has been in contact with local legislatures about the issue, with several of them indicating support for their petition. He said their petition clearly states that they are not interested in gaming or having a casino.
They base their request for recognition on family genealogies that go back many generations of Abenaki -descended people who have lived in the Nulhegan watershed area. Yet this group, along with the other 3 or 4 REFUSE to show and provide any genealogical connections to the Abenaki, to the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs or to the State of Vermont. One of the few land sales records from or to Abenakis is a 200 year old sald of land by an Abenaki named Philip, who sold (illegally) about 300 square miles of territory in the northern Connecticut River-eastern Memphremagog basin area.
Philip's band were called "Cowasuck" or "Coosuk" Abenakis," their name deriving from the Abenaki word "Coös," or "Cowas," meaning that they were the "people who live among the pine trees."
Willard says he hopes, more than anything, to make the Abenakis in this area "more visible." Yet, he mentions none of the Odanak Abenaki descendants who have lived within Orleans County, Vermont for generations!
Group member and business office person Nancy Cote said that, in addition to working on genealogies, the group has also started recording oral traditions and family stories for their archives. She added that the group has started thinking about possibly a museum where people could come and see all the artifacts from this area. Artifacts include stone points, called "arrow heads," as well as other stone tools that have been found in the area.
Cote added that she hopes the group can also encourage pride in being Abenaki in this part of Vermont. She noted that many other Abenaki groups in the state fave fallen apart through lack of communication and a lack of solidarity among the members.
Another woman, Sparkling Waters, noted that people stop and ask her about the medicine bag she wears around her neck.
"People want to know about the Abenakis," she noted.
This group is hoping that their petition will be the one that finally allows at least some Vermont Abenakis to be acknowledged as Vermont's original people.
My Response:
What makes or causes anyone to assume, that this group calling itself the Nulhegan Coosuk (at first)/ now adding onto it's name "Old Phillip's Band" IS NOT "eye-balling" this 1796 Land Grant, and secretly & quietly attempting to take such Land Grant into Federal Court or perhaps even to the United Nations, once they possibly gain Vermont State Recognition now that Luke Andrew Willard has been appointed as "Chair" of the newly re-constructed Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs, that his cohort Dawn Macie is also a member of?

Below is some documented "commentary" from this so-called VT Indigenous Alliance, whose mouth-piece, April Ann (St. Francis) Merrill added her .2 cents worth into the media:
The Caledonian-Record Newspaper
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Governor Signs Bill Recognizing Abenaki May 03, 2006
By Lisa Rathke
Associated Press Writer
Page A16-Continued from Page A3
Donald Warren Stevens Jr. of Enosburg Falls, a member of the St. Francis-Sokoki band, wore a beaded headband with feathers.
As people can read, in early May of 2006, Mr. Donald Warren Stevens had no problem proclaiming himself a member of the Missisquoi group led by April St. Francis-Merrill, and in fact, he supported her group, even while on the VCNAA as an appointed member and as appointed Chair of such.


Abenaki Appeal to Legislators
Saturday, February 16, 2008
She (April nee: St. Francis) Rushlow – Merrill) also said, “that she doesn't trust the seven-member Commission on Native American Affairs to decide which tribes should be recognized. Her band has refused to have an official representative on the commission because commissioners were not required to provide historical documentation that they are Abenaki” she said.

April Merrill stated that she doesn't trust the 7 member VCNAA to decide which incorporation's to recognize is what she really meant. She refused to have an OFFICIAL representative from her group on the VCNAA. YET, Mark Mitchell, Paul Davis Bell, Brad Allen Barratt, Donald Warren Stevens were all connected with Homer St. Francis' group, right along with April, Homer's daughter! So, UNOFFICIALLY, April St. Francis-Merrill DID HAVE REPRESENTATIVES who were appointed by VT Gov. Jim Douglas, yet BECAUSE SHE COULD NOT CONTROL JUDY DOW, JEANNE BRINK, or TIM DE LA BRUERE she threw a hissy fit.

Saturday, March 01, 2008
By Terri Hallenbeck
Free Press Staff Writer
April Merrill said, “She doesn't trust the commission to decide which bands should be recognized and refused to be represented on the commission because members were not required to prove their heritage. Since the 2006 state law, she said, new bands of Abenaki with tenuous authenticity have popped up.”

Yet, April Merrill and her concocted "VT Indigenous Alliance" stated quote, "that they would NOT provide ANY GENEALOGIES to the VCNAA." April Merrill was having an interpersonal conflict and pissing contest with Judy Dow (specifically). BTW, Judy Dow (comparatively-speaking) isn't any more or less "Abenaki" than April St. Francis-Merrill is or isn't. Judy Dow is a factual documented descendant of Marie Kakesik8k8e Mite8ameg8k8e aki. Mitcominqui (an Algonquin Indian woman, possibly Huron) born in ca. 1631 in the area between the Ottawa and the St-Maurice rivers in Québec, Canada. She married to Frenchman Pierre Couc dit LaFleur on April 16, 1657 in Trois Rivieres, St. Maurice County, Quebec, Canada, and she died on 08 January 1699 at Trois-Rivières, St. Maurice County, Quebec, Canada or Montreal, Ile de Montreal County, Quebec, Canada. So as far as April St. Francis-Merrill being MORE or LESS "INDIAN" descendancy, or who on the VCNAA at-the-time was really of Native Heritage, she simply wanted to CONTROL the VCNAA, in who was state recognized and who wasn't allowed to be recognized. She wanted it all, or didn't want anything do with the VCNAA, UNLESS she could CONTROL the process, the podium, etc. Yet, it would appear....that through the Chair Persons of the former VCNAA (Mark Mitchell, Paul Bell, and Donald Stevens)....April Merrill had attempted to CONTROL the process, the writing-on-the-wall so's to speak, from the very beginning! Regardless, she realized quickly that she really didn't have CONTROL, and thus the Chair Person's all resigned, one right after the other, to pull a stunt.

March 2008 (Portion of Letter to the VT Governor)
(4) Letter of Chief April Merrill, Missisquoi
To Whom It May Concern:
For the record, I have been saying for months the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs does not represent me or my Tribe. I have stated this publicly on several occasions. We don't feel they are representing us.
Actually, the B.I.A.'s Office of Federal Acknowledgment made the determination that based on what April Merrill submitted (which was pathetically little), that she and her "Tribe" were NOT a Native American tribe, of well....Indians, let alone Abenakis. The ONLY reason April Merrill feels that the former VCNAA were not representing her concocted "Alliance" is simply because she and they, do not want a FAIR and TRANSPARENT PROCESS for gaining VT State Recognition. They "the Alliance" want to be holding the Recognition Cards, lay them on the table of the Legislature, and grant themselves their own Recognition!

How can these Commission members be given the power to be judge & be the jury of who is and who isn't Abenaki in this state if each one of them have not proven their authenticity and/ or citizenship in one of the remaining historically verifiable bands in Vermont?
Aside from arrogantly claiming that April Merrill or any of these other three or four groups are documentarily from the historically verifiable Abenaki Communities historically within Vermont, I think that I could ask the SAME QUESTION of the current September 2010 VCNAA Commission members. According to research done by my person and that of other persons, none of the current Commission members (Melody Walker, Nathan Pero, Luke Willard, Frederick Wiseman Jr., Dawn Macie) have proven their authenticity of being "Abenaki" whatsoever, from a historical Abenaki community, nor genealogically speaking. Aside from Charlene McManis who has alleged "status" with the Grande Ronde Native community in the state of Oregon, none of them have proven their ancestors over the previous 100 years were identifying as "Native Americans", "Indians", let alone "Abenakis."

Where is the fairness and legitimacy in this process? Geesh, I could ask the SAME QUESTION in September 2010! With that said, the Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi St. Francis/ Sokoki Band and I have no confidence in the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs, as it stands now.
Chief April St. Francis Merrill
Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi
St. Francis/ Sokoki Band

March 20, 2008
Boston.com
By Lisa Rathke, Associated Press Writer
East Montpelier, Vermont -- Three Vermont Abenaki Bands and some former members of a Governor’s Commission on Native American Affairs said Thursday, “they were insulted by a proposed process for recognizing the Abenakis and didn’t trust current commission members who would review their status.”
The bands also said they opposed the criteria for recognition and would not provide their tribe’s genealogy to the commission.
And WHY IS IT THAT THESE GROUPS WILL NOT PROVIDE THEIR "TRIBE'S" GENEALOGY TO THE FORMER VCNAA? BECAUSE THE WHOLE LOT OF THEM KNEW FULL WELL THAT THEIR GENEALOGIES WOULD NOT WORK, THATS WHY. THEY KNOW THEY ARE NOT ABENAKIS, THEIR ANCESTORS FOR THE PREVIOUS 100+ YEARS WERE NOT IDENTIFYING AS "abenakis" nor as "indians." By CONTROLLING and BEING ON THE VNAA Commission in Vermont, these people are are from this concocted "ABENAKI ALLIANCE" CAN MANIPULATE AROUND THE ISSUE OF NOT HAVING THE GENEALOGICAL EVIDENCE TO PROVING THEY ARE EVEN ABENAKIS.

Burlington Free Press
By Terry Hallenbeck
Free Press Staff Writer
March 21, 2008
“We have a flawed commission and a flawed bill,” said Nancy Millette, former chief of the Kosek Traditional Band based in Newbury, Vermont.
YES, THE SAME OL' SONG AND DANCE from none other than Nancy nee: Millette Doucet "that the former appointed VCNAA membership was "flawed" and that the S.222 Abenaki Recognition Bill was flawed as well. If the "Alliance" belly-ached, cried, screamed, and threw themselves on the floor enough times, the "Alliance" was hoping that people would get tired of the continuous "noise" and grant the "Abenaki Alliance" what the "Abenaki Alliance" wanted. Now, that the "Abenaki Alliance" sits on the newly-constructed/ appointed VCNAA, one doesn't hear them kicking, screaming, and throwing tantrums, now does one? Now, the "Abenaki Alliance" sits round the VCNAA table, all smiles and grins, satisfied that the "game" of theirs is nearly done.

September 22, 2008
On September 01, 2008 Mark W. Mitchell resigns from the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs
Mark William Mitchell resigned. It was a campaign of deception, in that if the Gov. Douglas kept appointing April's "stooges" there was some hope, that the VCNAA could actually function on a better level, that personalities wouldn't get in the way. Of course, that was not the "VT Indigenous Alliance" agenda. Each Chairperson would get appointed, and repeatedly each appointed Chairperson would resign that position, pointing fingers at anyone not allied with April Merrill. The former Chairperson's would point their fingers at Judy Dow, Tim de la Bruere, and Brad Barratt as "being the problems." Were these three members actually the "problems", or was it the Chairperson's acting "quietly and secretively" for and with April St. Francis-Merrill to sabotage the former VCNAA, so that the Gov. would "throw-in-the-towel" and appoint member from her own "VT Indigenous Alliance" whom she spoke for herself, onto the VCNAA, so that such a Commission could be controlled?!

November 21, 2008
Charlene McManis Resigns from Native American Commission
By Don Stevens
Don Stevens, Chair of the Vermont Commission on Native Americans announced the resignation of Charlene McManis of Worcester. Appointed in 2006, McManis is the third commission member, including the former Chair, Mark Mitchell, to step aside from the Commission.
Charlene McManis resigned because she also advocates for and with April St. Francis-Merrill. She stated it quite repeatedly in the former Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs BEFORE she resigned. She also was condescending towards Judy Dow and other members on the Commission after Donald Stevens was appointed to be the Chairperson of the Commission.

Vermont Commission on Native America Affairs Sheds Members
By Gale Courey Toensing
Story Published June 03, 2009
Story Updated June 12, 2009
Donald Warren Stevens says some members of the VCNAA appear hostile to the Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi St.Francis/Sokoki Band. He and others, including Chief April St. Francis, have complained to the governor and his staff. The result? After the Abenaki publicly circulated a letter asking the Governor to let three specific members go (that "Open Letter" to the Governor is already posted previous on this blog), Douglas went ahead and reappointed the trio last fall.


Wednesday, 21 January 2009
Governor Douglas silently appoints Paul Davis Bell to Commission
By Mark Mitchell
Paul Davis Bell is a descendant of the Ouimette family from up in Swanton, Vermont which claims to also be "Abenaki" and as such, Paul D. Bell did and does in fact COME FROM the the late Homer St. Francis Sr./ April Merrill bunch in Swanton, Vermont.

Jan 22, 2009 – Governor Douglas silently appoints Bell to Commission
Governor Douglas on January 16, 2009 appointed Paul Davis Bell from Colchester, VT to replace Charlene McManis on the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs.
Paul Bell is a member of the St Francis/Sokoki Band of Abenaki Indians of Missisquoi. He was a former Tribal Council member.
The Legislature’s 2006 bill – S. 117 – recognized Vermont’s Abenaki “people,” created the commission and gave it established powers which are illusory; that is, how can the commission maintain said established powers unless the state concomitantly recognizes Native peoples residing within its borders?”
This question lingers on as the current Commission seems to be lacking continuity and is simply unorganized.
Bell's appointment expires July 31, 2010

March 04, 2009
By Mark Mitchell
Oddly Dysfunctional-Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs
It appears now that the current Commission, (VCNAA), seems to be lacking continuity and is simply unorganized.
Members with their hidden/personal agendas, some feeling a sense of entitlement, some obstructionists, combined with continued in-house fighting, prevent them from moving forward in any significant way.
It's downright silly and unintelligent to think the current direction of this Commission can solve current issues facing the Abenaki people of Vermont.

Mark William Mitchell as well, kept complaining and mocking the former composition of the VCNAA, putting out condescending remarks towards the members of the VCNAA, as did Luke Willard too. It was a verbal/media campaign to remove the three or four persons on the Commission seeking a Fair and Transparent Process for gaining State Recognition. It is a case of "the Weasel's getting rid of the hound dog whose guarding the chicken house door, so that the Weasel's could rebuild that chicken house, that they, the weasel's would then guard themselves. How fair and transparent is that?

May 27th 2009
Paul Bell’s Resignation E-Mail to commission Members:
"After much consideration I am resigning from the Vermont commission On Native American Affairs. I believe that in its current configuration the commission is doomed to failure. Only because April Merrill and the "Alliance" KNEW FULL WELL, that their genealogies, if required, would NOT be adequate proof of their being "Abenakis" and having a LACK of HISTORICAL FOUNDATION other than their INCORPORATION STATUS, they KNEW FULL WELL that their groups were CONTEMPORARY and NOT HISTORICAL ABENAKI COMMUNITIES.
There are too many personal agenda's, power plays, lack of respect for each other and antagonism toward native community leaders by some members to achieve anything meaningful. B.S., the "native community leaders" were orchestrating these personal agenda's, power plays, the lack of respect towards members on the Commission through the Chairpersons, and antagonism's towards those members on the Commission all along. It is unfortunate that the opportunity to help Native Americans in Vermont is being wasted.
I will be sending my letter of resignation to the Governor.
Don's resignation was not to the benefit of the commission, quite the contrary, For what it's worth I believe Charlie would be the best choice for Chairman. Good Luck." (Paul Bell)
Oh, yes, Charles "Megeso" Lawrence Delaney whose own "Abenaki" connections are dubious and questionable as well, whose own relative's state he is being untruthful about "his heritage" and created this "Abenaki" persona. He is also connected with the late Homer St. Francis Sr. and April Merrill. So, to my thinking, he is simply yet another "stooge" "puppet" of the St. Francis/ Sokoki bunch placed into the VCNAA at-the-the-time to manipulate the said Commission for April "behind the scenes."

Jun 18, 2009
Paul Bell, who resigned from the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs, stated that he could no longer serve in such a “toxic atmosphere.”
Governor Douglas on January 16, 2009 appointed Paul Davis Bell from Colchester, VT to replace Charlene McManis on the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs.
The legislature lacks the social consciousness to address S. 117 and provide resolution to their created problem.
It is time for the legislature to define a Native community or abolish the commission.
Native American Netroots
...A Forum for American Indian Issues...
Shaking up the tribe
by: Brad007 Brad Allen Barratt
Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 00:35:04 AM PDT
( - promoted by navajo)
I've always acknowledged my Abenaki heritage and for a long time, I've wanted to take part in the tribal council and the political process it involves. However, the council in my opinion, is a puppet council.
There is no tribal democracy here. Instead, the chief came to power by nepotism and not a fair vote. Her father was chief and she became chief while he was on his last legs.
My email below is an attempt to shake things up and get the gears of change started.
Note: I originally posted this diary at Daily Kos as well.
Brad007 :: Shaking up the tribe

Here's my email in full. There are no actual names of people mentioned as to protect their identities:
~
Feel free to pass this on to fellow Abenakis who are disenchanted with the current state of the St.Francis(sic) band of the Abenakis. I urge you to forward it, especially if you know people who are frustrated and wanting to make change.

If I could, I would consider starting or joining a new branch of the Missisquoi Abenaki Nation. My arguments for doing so will probably seem crass and uncalled for to some people. If this is the case, I feel for people who may take offense and their inability to see what is in front of them.
I feel that younger Abenakis such as myself, need to speak out more about the state of the tribe and assert some sort of authority that elders may be unwilling to assert. We are also Americans and even though our country has not always been fair to us, we are still blessed with the ability to change and evolve.
I feel that the current tribe is un-Democratic. We do not have a say in what our "chief" does. For example, I'm still very disappointed that she moved the pow-wow back by a week.I've always looked forward to attending pow-wows and I'm not happy that I missed the one this year. However, looking back on the current state of the tribe, I'm actually glad that I missed it. After all, it's all about her.
Our "chief"  April Anne (nee: St. Francis) Rushlow-Merrill is a believer in the cult of personality. She loves to take credit for things that she had nothing to do with. She "elects" sycophants and historians to serve on the tribal council, as opposed to real Abenakis. She complains about the injustices lobbied against her, while ignoring the injustices that have plagued our tribe as a whole.
Tell me, has there ever been a mention of Abenakis without a mention of her in the media? Has the media ever bothered to interview real Abenakis and gather their thoughts on the progress (or lack thereof) of our tribe? Why should her opinion have more weight than the opinion of anyone else in our tribe?
I think I've given enough attention to our "chief". She craves attention because all of the years we have fought for our tribal identity, she has taken the credit for it. No more.
It's time to turn my attention to our tribe and what we can accomplish if we can get involved.
We are already in the 21st Century and even though our tribe has statewide recognition,we are still lacking in areas that we should have covered long ago. I personally feel that more should be done to assure that fellow Abenakis have access to education, decent social services and have a sense of pride about their tribe. I know that there are people working very hard for these things and I fully support what they are doing, despite the state our tribe is in.
No more hiding in the shadows. No more fear of our "chief". In the words of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
Our tribe has been marred by years of infighting and corruption. I'm sure that I am not alone among my Abenaki peers when I say that I want to embrace my identity. I'm sure that I am not alone in my frustration towards the way our tribe is run.
I have been blessed with the ambition and desire to better myself. I want to use my desire to make things better for others. This is why I share my opinion, as strong as it may be. Our tribe is in danger of disappearing. When I use the word "disappear", I am talking about allowing the selfish desires of one woman to reign over the desires of our tribe as a whole.
Are we going to make change? Are we going to right the wrongs?
As history has consistently shown, we live in a country of innovative people who have used their courage and knowledge to make things better for others. We have the ability to do it.
~
I have been encouraged to apply to the Vermont Commission on Indian Affairs. I am in the process of doing so.
I also have Barack Obama to thank for my inspiration to speak out. There are not enough young Abenaki voices clamoring for change. I aim to rock the boat and create a wave of change.
Tags: abenaki, Native American, tribal politics, change, (All Tags)
SOURCE: http://www.nativeamericannetroots.net/diary/114/
VCNAA Commissioner Barratt Displays Resentment
Written by Administrator (Mark William Mitchell)
Thursday, 28 January 2010
(e-mail exchange to legislative leaders)
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Brad Barratt and I am a member of the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs. My reasoning behind this email is to express my concerns over a bill that is currently circulating regarding recognition, known as S.0222. As members of the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs, Jeanne Brink, Tim DeLabruere, Judy Dow and I voted unanimously to oppose the current language of a bill currently making the rounds regarding recognition issues. We only support Vested Authority for the VCNAA and the last time we voted on this was at our meeting in November 2009.
However, our chairman has gone against what we agreed upon and has attempted to represent us as supporting the full provisions of H.124/S.0222, which has resulted in questioning from other members of the Native American community in Vermont who feel that we have betrayed them.
I had hoped that Governor Douglas would appoint someone who could be fair and impartial. From my experience as a commission member for the past 2 years, I have mixed feelings on the chairman position and the actions of past chairman, Donald Stevens and current chairman, Charles Delaney-Megeso. I feel that both were too closely connected to April St.Francis-Merrill, which to me, would mean that they were appointed to the commission with the agenda of representing only the interests of April St.Francis-Merrill and the St.Francis-Sokoki band of the Missisquoi Abenaki Nation. I feel that Charles has good intentions and is a good man. Unfortunately, his failure to respect the votes and wishes of other members on the VCNAA has caused even more strife.
I applied to be on the VCNAA for two reasons. Reason number one was to offer a greater voice for Native American people in the State of Vermont, since I have no current connection to the St.Francis-Sokoki Band and no other bands/tribes. Reason number two was to ensure that future generations of Native Americans in Vermont would have better access to employment and educational opportunities.
I did not learn of my own heritage until I was 15 years old. I remember vividly the day my parents took me down to the office of the St.Francis-Sokoki band in Swanton to receive my tribal card. I also learned about my family tree and attended pow-wows. My mother, Christine Barratt, has been involved with the native community in Swanton for years and has taught schoolchildren how to make native american crafts. However, over the years, I have seen enough strife within the native community in this state and personally, I choose not to associate with the St.Francis-Sokoki band. I believe that it is dangerous to put the interests of one group over that of others, since Vermont has several tribes and bands other than the St.Francis-Sokoki band that deserve a voice when it comes to policy-making.  Rather than become involved with the St.Francis-Sokoki band tribal council, I chose a path that I felt would benefit others as much. Thus, Brad Allen Barratt became almost instantly an enemy to bad mouth and attempt to control by April Merrill and anyone else connected to or support of her group.
As a member of the commission, in order for the VCNAA to serve the Native American community in Vermont, we must have the ability to reach out and make compromises that will best serve ALL Native American interests in this state. This is easier said than done and it is something that I have devoted my personal time to working on. I may not have a lot of experience in state politics but if there's one thing that I do have, my heart will always be with my family, my heritage and those who fought for native rights, not only in Vermont, but around the United States as a whole.
Regardless of what the outcome is, I want you all to know where I stand personally as a member of the VCNAA. I will no longer stand down and allow the media to erode the confidence of Native Americans in this state by vilifying the VCNAA. I assure you that Tim, Jeanne, Judy and I have our reasons for being on the VCNAA and we stand united and we will weather this storm much like we weathered the one created by Mr. Don Stevens. So, the "Alliance" had the two political "stooges" Rep. Hinda Miller and Rep. Vincent Illuzzi, "terminate the positions of the former VCNAA appointed positions by Gov. Douglas, and wrote in a restructure plan for the VCNAA in the re-write of the S.222 Abenaki Recognition Amendment in May 2010. Just to get rid of Judy Dow, Jeanne Brink, Tim de la Bruere, and Brad Barratt.
This is not about wielding power. This about serving the best interests of all native people in this state. This struggle will never end until native people get the recognition they deserve in this state. Whether it's by the VCNAA or the Legislature, it simply must happen. State Recognition of these Incorporated groups, WITHOUT THE GENEALOGICAL PROOF/ EVIDENCE of any of them as a majority, descending from an Abenaki Community or otherwise?!
Abenaki Tribal Council Response to Commissioner Barratt
Written by Administrator (Mark William Mitchell or Jesse James Larocque?)
Thursday, 28 January 2010
Mr. Barratt:
We, the Abenaki Tribal Council of Missisquoi (St.Francis/Sokoki Band), want to take this opportunity to address your thinly veiled attempts to seek out genuine dialogue when, in reality, you harbor such resentment toward our Chief-April St.Francis Merrill-that you have become twisted by a hatred and resentment that can only do harm to our attempts to seek out a recognition that can only further enrich and enhance the opportunities that have been started at Missisquoi.
First of all, your insinuation that we had the Commission members appointed is absurd and insulting. We have never sent any recommendations since this commission was established in 2006. No, but nearly each and every Chairperson has been documentarily connected with April St. Francis-Merrill and or her late father Homer St. Francis Sr.! Unofficially, she did have representation on the former VCNAA. We have publicly stated that the VCNAA doesn't represent us or our Tribe as it is made up now. No, because April Merrill COULD NOT "control" the VCNAA members, in creating a non-fair and non-transparent process for gaining State Recognition. After the O.F.A. of the B.I.A.'s Report conclusions, the ONLY way herself and her group could gain State Recognition as a Tribe is by deceit and deception, through having her puppets and stooges sitting on the VCNAA itself!
You say there must be a fair and balanced approach by legislators concerning S.0222. You reveal yourself to be small-minded when in your own "blog" entitled "Shaking Up the Tribe "(June 23,2008) you attack Chief April with a vengeance that borders on the irrational.
You say the Chief craves attention in the media. You apparently have no idea that we have appointed the Chief to act as our spokesperson when contacted by the Press so of course she is mentioned in newspaper articles. And why not? Mr. Barratt: Apparently, you have not been in the greater Swanton area for a long time or you would understand why Chief April is contacted precisely because the accomplishments of Missisquoi are impressive. B.S., these so-called "accomplishments" are nothing but illusory, and it is simply to suck on the Federal Grant Monies for as long as that group can, so April Merrill can get paid for allegedly representing the Abenakis.
Back when you were a young child, the drop-out rate among Heads of Households was 70% with almost 50% of our people leaving school before 9th grade. At the time, we had fewer than 5% of graduating Abenaki High School Seniors going on to any post-secondary education. Through extraordinary efforts by the Tribe we can now say the drop-out rate is below 3%. That's right, Mr. Barratt. Oh, citing statistic's eh? How is this group dealing with the drug, alcohol, and criminal incarceration statistic's?
And do you know that almost 60% of last year's graduating class went on to college? Where exactly have you been? Chief April has long supported these educational accomplishments starting with a very strong tutorial program back in the 1980's. Students who struggled found themselves to be the recipients of wonderfully creative tutors who never gave up on kids, regardless of their handicapping condition. I am in tears now, the sob story is just too much.....
April has always sought out what has been in the children's best interest and for your information, she has been a strong advocate conveying to public schools that if they could not do a good enough job, then an Abenaki student must be allowed to get an education in an alternative placement. We believe this is what a good Chief does: Go up against the tide of mediocrity that would have kept our children down and fight-tooth and nail-to make sure that equality of educational opportunity is alive and well. Violin player.....more tears.....sympathy.....
Perhaps Mr. Barratt you should speak to the hundreds of community members who would say that our Indian Education program has been a godsend to them and for this we are grateful that the Chief has been in the forefront of activities celebrating the children. "Propping their children" up some more, to validate the adults?
Where have you been Mr. Barratt when our "Circle of Courage" After-School Program has
been lauded by the State as one of the most innovative programs these folk have ever seen where we teach dozens of children-grades 2-6-about their traditional culture through dance, drumming/ flute-playing, and other traditional cultural offerings that have sought a way to curtail the high Abenaki rate of cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, and other substance abuse.....That "Circle of Courage" is LAKOTA, NOT ABENAKI! LINK: http://www.reclaiming.com/content/about-circle-of-courage What?....their "alleged and re-invented" Abenaki Culture and Heritage wasn't good enough, they have to use what was created by another native culture instead?
We have had dozens of Missisquoi Valley Union High School (MVU) student volunteers at the Center since they want to "pay back" for the opportunities afforded them. And do you know what, Mr. Barratt? Of the 77 students who have graduated through the Circle of Courage Program only 1 student has gone on to use any substance. What did this student do....take a couple teaspoons of cough medicine or two Tylenol? What is the SOURCE of these so-called "statistics"? Was it Jeffrey Benay?
We are incredibly proud of this statistic yet obviously for you this is no big deal for otherwise how could you say we do nothing at Missisquoi and you want to make sure that Abenakis are afforded real chances with you as a Commission member?
Wow, Mr. Barratt: Kindly tell us what you and your esteemed colleagues on the Commission on Native American Affairs have done since the Commssion's inception? Nothing. The Commission has been plagued by such self-interest that you have done not-a-thing. When the Commission got started, the first order of business was to develop a Scholarship Guide that would benefit all Abenaki children.
MY RESPONSE:
All Abenaki children would not have been able to use such a "Scholarship Guide" because NOT ALL ABENAKI CHILDREN would be recognized by the State, IF April Merrill (and her "stooges") got their way. Charlene McManis created this Scholarship Guide, and once it was created, subsequently it was realized, that for most of the Scholarship's that were available, one FIRST HAD TO BE "Recognized" by the State and or Federal! Well where is the guide? Where are any of your accomplishments?
You are a pathetic soul whose only claim to fame has been to denigrate Chief April St.Francis Merrill. Well, it is April who quit smoking over 3 years ago because she is a role model for the children of the community. Ohhhhhhhh PLEEEAAAAZZZZEEEEE, give me a break, with that pathetic story! Lot's of people quit smoking, for lots of reasons! Can the same be said for you, your family, your colleagues?
It is Chief April St. Francis Merrill who will present a sample of the Abenaki Scholarship Guide to the legislators on Tuesday, January 26th, 2010 because she said we could not wait for the Commission and she facilitated the development of this Guide. Really? What have you facilitated other than hate-mongering and vile accusations. Look deeply into your soul, Mr. Barratt, and ask why are you so very bitter.
Were you not afforded opportunities through our programming? Were you not tutored through our Indian Education Program? Trying to ply guilt? We are sincerely sorry if you did not get these services as hundreds of children did benefit. Indeed, Mr. Barratt: It is Missisquoi that has taken the lead in everything from education to cultural offerings to economic development.
We have been honored by the Federal Department of Labor, Mr. Barratt and, again, we are proud to say that it is the Chief who ran point on initiative after initiative.
Who is it that arranges for hundreds of needy kids to get presents and a visit by Santa year after year through Operation Santa Claus? Chief April St.Francis Merrill. tiny Violin (again)....
Who is it that organizes the Heritage Celebrations in May year after year? Chief April St.Francis Merrill. And finally, Mr. Barratt, who is it that looks to expand that which we offer and bring it to the entire area so that Abenaki and non-Abenaki people can benefit? Chief April St.Francis Merrill. Queen Abenaki RULES over all of N'dakinna. Bow to the Abenaki Queen of B.S. April Merrill. If you don't Brad Barratt, then off-with-your-head! So sayeth the Queen of Missisquoi, April St. Francis Merrill, appointed by her late father NOT ELECTED.
In closing we suggest you come down to the newly renovated Tribal Headquarters for a cup of coffee and visit with us. Yes, do that, so this group can manipulate the brains cells into BELIEVING, and STOP THINKING. It's kind of like an Alleged and Reinvented Abenaki version of the Star Trek and Borg...."resistance is futile." We don't bite, Mr. Barratt, regardless of what you've been told by those who are so very jealous they don't know what to do other than slander us and drag our good name through the mud. Well enough. We are trying our best to be inclusive B.S.! That is an outright LIE!
yet you have to give us a chance. Then decide what to write in your next blog or e-mail to those whose ear you would like to capture...
In Peace:
The Abenaki Tribal Council (This is actually a Incorporation Board of Directors)
Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi
St.Francis/Sokoki Band
Winifred "Winnie" Kuebler
Janice Medor
David Vanslette (now sitting on the restructured VCNAA, along with Takara nee: Matthews, Frederick Wiseman Jr. etc)
Stanley Rollo
Thomas Phillips
Raymond "Jim" Young

LOOK AT HOW THE "ALLIANCE" TALKS CONDESCENDINGLY, MOCKINGLY, AND DEROGATORILY TOWARDS BRAD ALLEN BARRATT, WHILE HE WAS ON THE COMMISSION (VCNAA). It would not surprise me that Mark Mitchell, Don Stevens Jr., Charles Delaney Jr., etc didn't talk the same way towards the members of the VCNAA when they were Chairpersons, because they each had their own inflated ego's, hidden agenda's, power-plays, and antagonism's, and hostilities towards those sitting on the VCNAA.

The following documented communications are from http://abenakijustice.blogspot.com of which Karen Majka a.k.a. Karen Mica stated in 16th of March of 2010. There are no factual presented historical documents posted on her blog, and primarily it is a blog of talk-talk-talk, and as such, her blog, to my thinking, as no substance or foundation for anything this woman, or really anyone else, has posted on that blog since its creation. Regardless, here is the postings (in part) regarding Luke Willard, etc:
Anonymous said...
Yeah, he's such a good genealogist that he pinned the WRONG FATHER of one the Vermont chiefs and still has it posted. I wonder how long he spent doing the wrong guy's genealogy. LOL, Way to go, Trout.. Salmon, Mark, Doug, whoever you are. Actually, I know about the two men who are supposedly Luke Willard's father....Pike and Sackett....but documentarily it was Luke's aunt who documented that it was Sackett who was Luke's father. It matter's not WHO Luke Willard's father really is, personally-speaking.
A. Stevens
March 26, 2010 5:12 PM

Karen Mica said...
Hmm, it is rather contradictory for a person to go to so much time and trouble to uncover and expose the "truth" if one is also covering it up if and when it does not suit a particular end.
That seems like a peculiar way of doing things and is in opposition to the statement put forth that the truth will be uncovered and told... well, is it going to be told in it’s entirety, or only in a selective version? I'll TRY to be MORE INCLUSIVE and INCLUDE MORE PEOPLE on my blog in the future. So that more truthful historical records are brought into the public eye. Shall I start with "Tribal Rolls"? Or MORE genealogies?
This is simply looking like just one more colonel cover up and "white washing" of the facts to me.
If someone is deliberately covering up native in a genealogy, any native and I don`t care if it`s Cherokee, Pima or Cheyenne, it`s still a cover up and is dishonest, no matter how you look at that!
March 26, 2010 8:30 PM

Anonymous said...
Shouldn't that error be taken down or corrected by Douglas? Besides, if you're going to post some one's genealogy without their permission and against their wishes, shouldn't it at least be correct? Just my two arrows...
March 27, 2010 6:57 AM

Anonymous said...
For all of you that claim Salmon is doctoring the genealogies being posted - show where it is wrong or doctored and show the proof of it. Just because you say something is happening does not make it so. He is human and as such he can make mistakes, but, I know for a fact he will correct any
research work he himself did if you can prove he made an error! He is also posting genealogies provided to him by others - if they are incorrect it is because the compiler made research errors - this is not something he has any control over! However, I think he would be willing to make note of these errors as well as long as you can PROVE your claim.
March 27, 2010 9:44 AM

Karen Mica said...
anonymous said:
....if they are incorrect it is because the compiler made research errors - this is not something he has any control over!
However, I think he would be willing to make note of these errors as well as long as you can PROVE your claim....
Objection! If they are incorrect and the blogger has no control over it, then the blogger has no business plastering them on the internet! Oh whine some more, does the person want crackers with that whining? Period. End of story.
And are you "seriously" telling me, that it then becomes the responsibility of the person who has had their genealogy "erroneous" and deliberately used, for nothing more then to make some idiotic point, are then expected to have to argue and "PROVE" these errors for the amusement of the public!
Are you kidding me!
How about this...let the Abenakis sort out who their own people are.
There is no great mystery in who is and who is not an Abenaki descendant for us here and there is simply no reason, good or otherwise to be using any person...or their personal information as a weapon against them like this.
We already know who the pretenders are... do you think for even one minute that we need any help to figure that out! YES, you people need all the help you can get!, Because you all are pretenders, who refuse to provide the genealogical evidence of your claims of being legitimately descendants of the Abenakis, yet you want State Recognition for supposedly being Abenakis.
March 27, 2010 11:42 AM

Anonymous said...
No - I'm suggesting if people are gonna bitch about errors on Salmon's blog - don't insinuate with vague references, man up and state exactly what the
error is and show why you are certain it is wrong! That's the way to CORRECT errors. To do anything else is just playing "he said - she said" like a bunch of gossiping teens. Exactly.
March 27, 2010 3:21 PM

Karen Mica said...
Anonymous has left a new comment;
To Anon: I don't have permission from anybody to discuss the details of their personal business but I've seen the genealogy on Trout's site. I know the chief and I knew the chief's father... the guy listed isn't him - no ifs, ands, or buts about it. B.S., according to the document's from Luke Willard's aunt, it was surmised that Sackett was his father. Of course, I knew all along about the man, Pike, who also claims to be Luke's father. Kinda reminds me of Star War's where Darth Vader cuts off Luke Skywalker's hand and then proclaims, "Ich bin Ihr Vater" (I have the Star War's set in german).
I agree with Karen that it never should've been thrown up there in the first place and I have no doubt that steps are being taken right now to deal with that.
Perhaps that's why they've been so quiet. (Yeah my "quietness" has been due to my puking in the bathroom toilet, after reading all this "nonsense of Abenaki B.S. constantly," or I have been doing "field research" over in Vermont collecting documents on these alleged and reinvented "Abenakis")
But hey, what do I know? I don't think Trout is trying to cover anything up... I think he's just getting bad information from a bad person...
March 27, 2010 3:44 PM

Karen Mica said...
Perhaps if you had gone to Luke himself and gotten that information instead of posting erroneous or simply blatantly false information, to begin with, maybe you wouldn`t be having these problems now. Would you? (Karen "Mica" has a seemingly paranoia problem, in that she assumed I was posting on her idiotic blog. As if I have time to read that nonsense on her blog)
And keep in mind a tribal genealogy is "held in trust" by those who have seen them and did any work on them. B.S. again, when I have asked any Abenaki from Odanak for the genealogies on Watso's, O'Bomsawin's, Benedict's, Degonzague's, Wawanolet's, Nolet's, Laurent's, Gill's, etc to name just a few Abenaki surnames, they DO NOT HESITATE to provide the answers documentarily to my inquiries. Why is it that the people who are now claiming to be from the historical tribe's of Vermont, REFUSE to provide the genealogical evidence as to the merits of their claims of being Abenakis? "In Trust" my arse! The genealogies if provided would PROVE that these groups are nothing more than bullsh** scam artists, pulling the bag over politicians, archaeologists, ethnologists, and anyone else they can manipulate and play their little tiny violins too! That is WHY these groups do NOT want "genealogies" honestly, to be a part of the requirements to gain Vermont State "Abenaki Recognition."
And I really do think that another thing should be factored into this whole genealogy situation being done on a personal web site deal.
When someone is posting on sites like Roots Web or Ancestry etc, it is with the understanding by everyone there, that this is the accepted topic of discussion, thats why people go there.
But when you are putting a person`s entire genealogy on a personal site, and without their consent, even if that is being cloaked as "a public service" for no other reason then to cause harm, harass, defame, and with "Malicious Intent" cause emotional stress to any person and or, the entire family of this person for these singular reasons...
then I do believe a good Attorney would have a field day with it..,particularly concerning those legal terms such as " to cause harm" and with "malicious intent" which of course, as we all know, is the only reason this "other" blog even exists.
I have an ex sister in law who is the office manager for the largest and most publicized Law Firm in New England, so if any of you who have endured this particular form of abuse would like to contact me via Private e mail, please do.
I would have no problem asking her for advice on how to best put an end to this kind of "public harassment" for any of you.
March 27, 2010 4:46 PM

Anonymous said...
as a service to many people targeted by Douglas Lloyd Buchholz, would you ask your ex sister in law what can be done, and post the response here?
March 27, 2010 6:09 PM

Karen Mica said...
I certainly will!
I will try to talk to her this weekend if possible.
March 27, 2010 6:22 PM

Anonymous said...
Why are you threatening this man with judicial harm?..., when all he is doing is putting out documentary facts. This is a genealogy that Mr. Buchholtz received regarding Mr. Willard from another Abenaki. And, since the records are obviously on the blog of this man, the records are in public preview to the Abenaki community.
Therefore, the argument that you people are making, is not seeking the truth. If you truely are people of Abenaki descent, wouldn't you want the truth to be known? One has nothing to hide, if they are telling the truth!
Mr. Buchholtz probably would welcome a challenge, but it seems no one wants to counter him with what facts you say you have? Again, who is this Chief Willard's father? If Douglas has this wrong, show me the proof he is wrong??? Or can you???
March 27, 2010 9:46 PM
Karen Mica said...
There ya go, that's how rumors get started.
Let me clarify a couple of points for you, first no one is threatening Doug with "judicial harm" I am simply going to ask a few questions for people who obviously feel that their personal lives have been violated "beyond a reasonable" measure and want to know if there is legal recourse. This is no threat, this is simply an inquiry, at this point.
Documentary facts?
Then I assume that he has signed and dated releases from all the people agreeing to be in staring roles, or any part of this documentary of his?
This is how it is, Doug has attacked or plans to attack, pretty much everybody.
Most of his "informants" have already seen their names as such, up on his blog.
Which of them, do you suppose is eager for a repeat?
And personally, my own opinion, it appears that his "helpers" are not Abenakis ( or very bad ones ) and care not, one way or another what the outcome of his blog is, or if people are emotionally distressed, upset or even seriously hurt over this "documentary" business.
For instance, what if someone were to become so upset that they did permanent bodily injury to themselves? Or their family.
Or does anyone care about that ? Does he?
I don`t think any of these people do, seems like actually hurting others is fun and games for some folks, sick as that sounds to normal people.
So watch for their names turning up on his " documentary " as well, and do yourself a favor...just avoid them too.And I will say again, if you want any information on or about Luke, then ask him.

And just out of curiosity, why are "assuming" that it was Luke's father that is at issue here?
March 27, 2010 11:25 PM

Anonymous said...
Douglas Lloyd Bucholz's blog has violated invasion of privacy laws, and in some cases, slander and defamation laws. B.S. again. Another idiot who can't tell the difference between the words slander (the spoken word) and libel (the written word) A lawyer's office has already looked at his blog and said so. The problem is MONEY. Most Abenaki people don't have any! A free lawyer is needed, or someone with money needs to come forward to help. Yes, STOP THE SALMON, he's going to EXPOSE us all to be frauds and manipulating wanna-be's. Run for your lives, the "Abenaki" sky is falling, the sky is falling. Run to your wanna-be Abenaki Queen of the Koasek of the Koa or your Abenaki Queen of the wanna-be Missisquoi's.
March 28, 2010 6:02 AM

And then Luke Andrew Willard emails me:

From: Luke Willard
Subject: Genealogy
To: "Salmon"
Date: Tuesday, March 30, 2010, 9:24 PM
Salmon,
Take my children's information off of your damned website or there will be serious problems. My children are minors and I WILL NOT stand for this. I will see you put in prison where you belong if you don't take all my records down from your site. Huff, puff, sneeze and cough, or I will blow your house down went the little Abenaki wanna-be of the Nulhegan/Old Phillips Band Inc. President. Skip Bernier gave you the hand written documents from my aunt Janice...I know that. More paranoia, conjecture, and assumptions. Where you came up with the other stuff is beyond me. Why, Little Miss Luke Willard, didn't you realize that the documents COME FROM your own aunt?! It's all fake crap HAH! Luke Willard wishes it were all fake crap that has been created to advance your agenda and make me look bad. I don't need to make Luke Willard "look bad" heck, even Nancy Cote-Rolls stated publicly that Luke Willard is not who he appears to be. It isn't working.
You take my kids info off now, man. I'm not kidding.
Preying upon little ones? Here is where Luke Willard implies that I am a child minder, and shows that he is a homophobic paranoid person. Anything to intimidate, "Huff and Puff", like a typical threatening dim-witted school yard bully. Are you that low? Leave my kids alone.
Luke Willard

MY RESPONSE:
From: Douglas Lloyd Buchholz
To: Luke Willard
Sent: Tue, March 30, 2010 10:44:28 PM
Subject: Re: Genealogy
Mr. Luke Andrew Willard,

Do not communicate with me further in any way whatsoever Luke Willard. The records on my blog are a matter of public record, in Vermont, and within the Abenaki Community as well. Your demands and threats mean nothing to me. Skip Bernier did not provide me with these documents whatsoever. That is your assumptions Mr. Willard. Perhaps Mr. Bernier gave these particular documents to someone else…. (sic) within the Abenaki Community(?), who evaluated my blog(?), and thereafter thought wise to share with me these documents pertaining to an alleged and reinvented Vermont "Abenaki" Chief. Again, these documents have been obviously in the public/ "Abenaki Community" floating around in other people's possession for some time now, way before I ever received such documentations in the mail. I heard tell, that Ralph Swett got possession of your "tribes" records stored in some "unpaid for" Storage Unit in Orleans County, Vermont? Maybe Ralph Swett sent these documents to me? Vital Records from 1909 to 2008 are online and a matter of Public Record. These records are not certified; they are not usable for "identity theft" or otherwise meant to harm anyone.
If you have a problem with me, I strongly suggest that you have your attorney send communication(s), and upon due review, of such communication(s), my attorney will address the matter with me, and with your attorney and you.
I will forward this communication to the Vermont State Police and the local Police Department here, and also to my attorney forthwith.
This is all I will say to you Mr. Luke Andrew Willard. Thank you for your concern, yet I will not remove the documents off from the site, without a Court Order to do so.
Kindly,
Douglas Lloyd Buchholz

HIS RESPONSE BACK TO ME:
Re: Genealogy
Tuesday, March 30, 2010 11:45 PM
From: "Luke Willard" firstnationslw@yahoo.com
To: "Douglas Lloyd Buchholz"
Then a court order, it shall be. You are the lowest form of life...a truly heartless individual that cares not about anyone but yourself. I wish I wasn't Abenaki, (Apparently, Luke Willard is in denial and still considers his ancestors Nancy Snow to be a Cowasuck Matriarch or a Mohawk woman? I do not think he's "Abenaki" at all) because I never would have met the likes of you. (Actually Mr. Luke Willard has NEVER met my person). I will defend my family and I will see you in court. (Well, I am STILL WAITING....to see Luke Willard and this so-called "Alliance" in a VT or NH Court of Law. It is "not-in-their-legally best-interest" to have me in a Court of Law, because this so-called "Abenaki Alliance" knows I will bring every document I have in my possession and make it all, a part of the Court Record...then it will be determined once and for all, who is and who is NOT Abenaki)
P.S. Ralph didn't purchase any Nulhegan records... I have them safe and sound.
Luke Willard
LINK TO ACTUAL INTERVIEW:
SEVENS DAYS
Vermont's Independent Voice
Identity Politics
Fair Game
By Shay Totten
April 21, 2010
In 1993, Senator Julius Canns (R-Caledonia) introduced a bill to recognize Vermont's original inhabitants: the Abenaki people. Twelve years later, in 2005, Canns died on the eve of a hearing on the issue. He was 82.
Canns, whose ancestors were white, African, American and Cherokee, was a tireless champion of the Green Mountain State's native people.
Fellow Northeast Kingdom lawmaker Sen. Vincent Illuzzi (R-Essex/Orleans) said Abenaki recognition was on of Cann's unfinished tasks--a dying wish, if you will, that he passed on to Illuzzi [1] to fulfill.
This year Illuzzi ushered a bill through his own Senate Economic Development Committee, which subsequently passed the full Senate. At a minimum, a state recognition would allow the Abenaki to sell their arts and crafts with the state's seal of approval -- both in and out of state. Without it, they cannot legally claim their wares as "Native American made."
"This is not about land claims, or federal recognition -- the Abenaki have already been denied that," says Illuzzi. "All we are trying to do is help Native Americans in Vermont be able to officially sell baskets and other arts and crafts. It's that simple." Recognition also helps tribe's access housing and education resources, he added.
The Senate bill recognizes four documented Abenaki tribes -- Missisquoi, Koasek, Nulhegan and ELNU INSTANT SHAKE and BAKE State Recognition of groups who state blatantly that they will NOT PROVIDE THE GENEALOGICAL EVIDENCE/ DOCUMENTATION TO PROVE THAT THEY DESCEND FROM THE ABENAKIS! -- and sets up a process for additional bands and tribes to gain recognition through an expanded Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs Yes, IF the VT Legislature grants these groups "recognition, this so-called Alliance gets a FREE PASS to State Recognition, while ANY OTHER GROUP of alleged Abenakis, HAS TO GO THROUGH A DIFFERENT PROCESS, which is (as of September 2010) controlled by the "stooges of April St. Francis-Merrill" and their concocted "Abenaki Alliance". It also spells out six key criteria for Native Americans to be recognized by the state. YET NO GENEALOGICAL SUBSTANTIATIONS are part of that criteria (that criteria was created by none other than Frederick Matthew Wiseman Sr. PhD who advocates for April St. Francis Merrill and is a member of her group in Swanton, Vermont).
Rather than accept the Senate version, the House stripped out all references to specific tribes and will tweak recognition criteria, and approval process, crafted by the Senate, keeping the VCNAA largely as is.
Both bills charge the VCNAA with reviewing tribal recognition requests and forwarding recommendations to lawmakers.
As "Fair Game" readers may recall, the VCNAA has been plagued [2] by age-old, inter-and-intra-tribal rivalries that may have been exacerbated by insensitive gubernatorial appointments.
"It does not appear to be just or reasonable to recognize any tribes before there [are] criteria in statute for them to meet," said Rep. Kesha Ram (D-Burlington), who has taken the lead on the House version of the bill. "This decision will not only level the playing field, but my firm belief is that it will demonstrate to the Indian Arts and Crafts Board and other federal entities that we are standing on solid ground with our recognition process."
Illuzzi disagrees, "It appears as though she's being influenced by tribes recognized in other states who want to keep their competitive advantage to keep the Abenaki from being recognized," he said of Ram. The result of the House's effort? It's unlikely the Abenaki will see recognition this year, Illuzzi predicted.
Kesha Ram said she has spoken with Abenaki who don't belong to any of the four tribes, as well as other Native Americans. She says they felt left out of the Senate process and wanted to see a "fair and transparent" alternative in place.
The tribes that are named in the Senate bill have a different view of the matter, of course.
"This has been such a long, terrible process," said Luke Willard, chief of the Nulhegan tribe.
Three decades, in fact. Gov. Tom Salmon, a Democrat, first recognised the tribe by executive order in 1976, only to see that overturned by his successor Gov. Richard Snelling, a Republican, in 1977.
"I will say this," said Willard, "with or without a bill, with or without scholars, with or without a commission, we know who we are."

ALSO NOTICE THAT NO WHERE IN THIS RECOGNITION OF NATIVE PEOPLE'S IN VERMONT (S.117, ETC, and S.222), DO THESE GROUP'S MENTION
"MOHAWK'S"
"IROQUOIS"
"POCOMTUC'S"
"MOHICAN'S"
"PENNACOOK'S"
"STOCKBRIDGE INDIANS"
~
WHO
ARE A PART OF
VERMONT'S HISTORY
AS NATIVE RESIDENTS
IN THE STATE.
(oh, that's right...they were ALL HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT)

IMPORTANTLY, IT IS GENEALOGICALLY DOCUMENTED THAT ODANAK, CANADA'S "ABENAKI COMMUNITY," WAS POPULATED BY "VERMONT'S ABENAKI PEOPLE", ETC....

WHOSE PEOPLE
AND THEIR DESCENDANTS
STILL LIVE AND WORK
WITHIN THE STATE OF VERMONT
AND HAVE DONE SO FOR GENERATIONS

YET THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT MENTIONED WITHIN THE ABENAKI RECOGNITION PROCESS AT ALL. SOME ODANAK PEOPLE MAY HAVE "OFFICIAL ABENAKI INDIAN MEMBERSHIP STATUS" AT ODANAK OR IN CANADA;
BUT WHAT ABOUT THEIR DESCENDANTS.....
WHO CANNOT GAIN STATUS AS NATIVE PEOPLE AT ODANAK, OR IN CANADA?
WHY WEREN'T THESE LEGITIMATELY DOCUMENTED ABENAKI PEOPLE (WHOSE GENEALOGICAL CONNECTIONS DO GO BACK TO A KNOWN HISTORICAL ABENAKI COMMUNITY FOR GENERATIONS) NOT SITTING ON THE COMMISSION (VCNAA) TODAY?

WHY WERE THESE DOCUMENTED ABENAKI PEOPLE NOT SPECIFICALLY WRITTEN INTO THIS VERMONT "ABENAKI" RECOGNITION BILL S.222 AMENDMENT?
ANSWER:
APRIL MERRILL EXPECTED HER GROUP TO BE SPECIFICALLY GRANTED INSTANT IMMEDIATE "STATE RECOGNITION" BECAUSE AS SHE STATED, "THEY HAVE WAITED LONG ENOUGH." TO HELL, WITH ODANAK OR ANYONE ELSE, AS LONG AS SHE IS THE FIRST IN LINE, THE FIRST AT THE TABLE, AND SO ON....

WHY WEREN'T THESE ODANAK AND WOLINAK-CONNECTED-VERMONT RESIDENT PEOPLE INCLUDED FROM THE THE VERY BEGINNING INTO THE RECOGNITION PROCESS OF ABENAKI PEOPLE'S?
ASK YOURSELVES THAT QUESTION

OR MAYBE THEY WERE(?)...."IN A ROUND ABOUT WAY," SUCH THAT ODANAK RESIDENTS "CAN APPLY LIKE EVERYONE ELSE," AFTER THE "ABENAKI ALLIANCE" OBTAINS THEIR INSTANT STATE OF VT RECOGNITION FROM THE LEGISLATURE? SOUNDS TO ME LIKE AN INSULT. PERHAPS VERMONT DOESN'T WANT TO RELATE TO OR ACKNOWLEDGE DOCUMENTED ABENAKIS FROM KNOWN HISTORICAL COMMUNITIES? SO INSTEAD, THE STATE WILL BOW DOWN TO DUBIOUS AND QUESTIONABLE "ABENAKI GROUPS" THAT REFUSE TO PROVIDE THEIR GENEALOGICAL FOUNDATIONS OF BEING ABENAKIS IN THE FIRST PLACE?!

And....NO, I am not implying in any way whatsoever....that I "speak for or represent IN ANY WAY, the Abenaki communities of Odanak and or W8linak" at all. I am simply making a valid questions.

Perhaps the "silence from Odanak Abenaki PEOPLE and their descendants living within VT etc today, towards this "Abenaki Recognition" is simply due to a reality....in that they do not need or want anything from the State of Vermont "because they are already Abenakis"? Maybe, the Odanak and W8linak descendants residing in Vermont (etc) are being "silent" because:

1. THEY ALREADY KNOW WHO THEY ARE
2. THEY ALREADY KNOW WHERE THEY COME FROM
3. THEY DO NOT NEED VERMONT'S "LEGISLATIVE VALIDATION" TO ORDER TO VALIDATE WHO THEY ARE, AS BEING ABENAKIS?

So who has their hands out, begging for "Abenaki Recognition" today?
1. April St. Francis-Merrill allegedly of the Missisquoi,
2. Luke Willard and Don Stevens allegedly of the Nulhegan Coosuk-Old Philip's Band,
3. Nancy Millette-Doucet allegedly of the Koasek of the Koas,
4. Nathan Pero-Brian Chenevert-Howard F. Knight Jr. allegedly also  supposedly "Koasek," as well
5. Roger "Longtoe" Sheehan with Melody Walker-Brook both allegedly of the ELNU Abenaki Tribe.

WHY do these VT "Abenaki" groups have their hands out?
Because they WANT Vermont Legislative Recognition to VALIDATE their INCORPORATION'S and themselves, as being "Abenakis".
WHY? Because their historical records, their social histories, and their factual genealogical records DO NOT SUBSTANTIATE their "Abenaki-ness."

Odanak and W8linak members KNOW who they are, where they come from, etc. No one see's them running up the  steps of the State Legislature's, DEMANDING AND BEGGING to be "recognized" as "Abenaki People, Tribes or Bands."

The groups down here in Vermont and New Hampshire, wanting recognition from the State of Vermont and or New Hampshire,  DO NOT KNOW WHO THEY ARE, because THEY ARE NOT ABENAKIS.

THESE GROUPS HAVE NO LEGITIMATE HISTORICAL FOUNDATION(S), AND THESE PEOPLE SIMPLY CREATE(D) INCORPORATION'S SANCTIFIED BY THE STATE OF VERMONT OR NEW HAMPSHIRE ETC, THAT TODAY THESE GROUPS NOW WANT THE STATE LEGISLATURE'S TO REDEFINE AND RE-INVENT INTO "ABENAKI TRIBES OF VERMONT."

WHY?
IS IT BECAUSE OF HISTORICAL GUILT?
POLITICAL-CORRECTNESS?
ALLEGED CULTURAL TOURISM? ETC?

THESE GROUPS would not retrospectively-speaking, have hesitated and protested in providing their genealogical, historical and social documentation IF THESE GROUPS WERE REALLY LEGITIMATE, to either the Legislative Rep's, or to the formerly appointed Commission (VCNAA).

This so-called "VT Abenaki Alliance" has to manipulate the VT "Abenaki Recognition process," to gain what these 4 or 5 groups want.

What is it that these groups of alleged and re-invented "Abenakis" want from the State of Vermont and or New Hampshire Legislature's?

One already can review some of the revealing historical documents (on this blog retrospectively-speaking) aside from my commentary, which clearly indicate quite strongly, that these VT-NH groups (in part or in whole) were (and probably still are) after Casino's, Bingo Halls, and land....MAYBE that which was deeded away in June of 1796?

Who was supposedly "fraudulent or illegal" (historically-speaking) in that 1796 Land Grant? Or how about Bedell's Deed of 1798 as well? Was it "Old Philip, the Indian" who was documentarily confronted (after his death) by the Odanak 7 "Speaker's/ Chief's" of the time (1798) as being a fraud, impostor, and who had "illegally" signed away "Abenaki tribal land"?
Or was it the Euro-American People's, who were in the same room with Old Philip...the Indian that were fraudulent?

Regardless, I do not find today in September 2010, that Odanak "officially" has been perpetuating "some sort of secret, quiet and or orchestrated campaign" of "taking over Vermont."

I do not witness Odanak or W8linak Abenaki (or their descendants) running up State Legislative steps seeking Vermont State Abenaki Recognition in order to validate themselves either.

In conclusion, I do not think that such Vermont descendants from Odanak living within Vermont or New Hampshire (or any other legitimately documented historical community of Native People's for that matter) having the need to "re-write" their People's Histories in order to validate themselves through the seeking of State Recognition, as being Abenakis. 

It is IN MY OPINION, that if these Vermont or New Hampshire groups of alleged and re-invented Abenakis wanted "Recognition" (at least VALID RECOGNITION from Native Communities) they would have went first to the legitimate, already-established-historical-NATIVE communities; instead of these groups "begging, bitching, complaining, whining and hollering" to the State Legislative Representatives of either Vermont or New Hampshire state's, to gain "Abenaki State Recognition."

Of course, IF these alleged-and-reinvented "Abenaki" group's had gone to (say for example)....Kahnawà:ke, Ahkwesáhsne, Odanak, W8linak, Mi'kmaq, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy, and or Penobscot Native Indian Communities...these afore-mentioned Native Communities would have asked first a question
one very simple question....
WHERE IS THE
"CLEAR AND CONVINCING"
GENEALOGICAL DOCUMENTARY PROOF 
FOR THESE GROUPS WHO CLAIM
TO BE "ABENAKIS"?
  
(I hate to be the one to point out the fly in the ointment, but not all local Abenaki are thrilled with the passage of this bill S.222 Abenaki Recognition Amendment. A couple of weeks ago, a trusted friend with connections to the Abenaki community told me of a controversy within the community that concerns the political back-story of this bill, and I am still trying to learn more about the arguments on both sides of the debate. That being said, I hope that promoting this diary to the front page will result in a constructive discussion that will encourage people to share what they know of the issues involved so that we can all be better informed.
(crossposted at vtdigger.org)

On Tuesday, May 4, 2010 the Vermont Senate concurred with the House version of S.222 with amendment.  The amendment was the result of discussions with members of the "Alliance," and has made the bill more complete.  Concessions made in negotiations have addressed important issues to the Abenaki, including but not limited to protecting (more like "hiding"...) their geneology in a way that allows it to be used for recognition purposes but does not allow it to be entered into the public record. (And WHY is it, that the Abenaki want or need to protect or hide their genealogies? I don't think any legitimate Native Community has any problem providing the documentations as to "why they say what they say," with their genealogical evidence connecting them to their Abenaki Ancestors? and no, I am not talking about providing a person's entire genealogy either) So, no one has the ability or can "review/ evaluate/ or confirm," that there is a fair and transparent methodology in place, to validate, that the State of Vermont, or this 3-Expert-member "Review Panel" is actually recognizing legitmately descended Abenakis, or whether or not Vermont is just simply today or in the future, CREATING "Abenakis" out-of-thin-air, so these "white people" (this Abenaki Alliance) can market their art, as "Abenaki/ Native American Made....is that it?) Also written into the bill was language that will restart the Vermont Native American Commission this fall. Of course, the "Alliance" had to get rid of the "Abenaki Problem" (i.e. Judy Dow, Jeanne Brink, Tim de la Bruere, and Brad Barratt who were and are advocates for a fair and transparent Recognition process for all Native People's in the State of Vermont, not just the Abenakis).

If the law passes muster, we can begin, once again, to legally recognize our (?) Native Americans so they may pursue their own lives and culture in a formal and established way. With this recognition, our (?) Native Americans will inherit rights and responsibilities they have been denied for generations.

The House version of the bill has attempted to make a process that was open enough to acknowledge the difficulty of proving certain criteria, including genealogy.  We know that one of the reasons federal recognition was denied to the Missisquoi St. Francis-Sokoki group led by April St. Francis-Merrill was the inability to show a continuous local history Oh, it was far more than this -- a fact exacerbated by the large holes in record keeping that exist in towns across the state due to flood, fire or what have you (not true).  This lack of consistency in birth and death records certainly has affected certain tribes' and bands' attempts to use genealogy as a method for proving their case. No, the genealogy, if legitimately reviewed, would PROVIDE THE EVIDENCE, that these groups are nothing more than incorporation's, whose membership claim to be Abenakis.

Genealogy, however, is not the sole criteria used to recognize tribes. S.222 attempts to utilize criteria that has been collected not only from the original Senate bill, but from statutes from across the country. The way I see it, Native People's need a Congressional Federal Law that not only protects Indian Arts and Crafts but also protects the Native People, Native identity and their limited sovereignty as a People/Nation as well. This bill also establishes a process that we hope, in combination with the criteria, will gain the approval of the Indian Arts and Crafts Board and allow our (?) Native Americans -- including and most numerously, the Abenaki -- to receive full state recognition first (and most importantly) and craft recognition for their artisans.
This bill also creates a process wherein the Native American Commission will work with a review panel and the legislature to process applications from bands and tribes for recognition. This, we hope, will allow the applicants a level playing field and remove personal politics from the decision making process. (not true)

The House version of S.222 is an attempt to right wrongs done to our indigenous people  throughout our history.  We are hopeful that the Senate will concur with our version of S.222, and if it does, and the governor signs the law, and if the federal government approves our criteria, that it will be seen as a crowning achievement for Vermont, for the Abenaki, and for all Native Americans in Vermont.
SOURCE: http://greenmountaindaily.com/diary/6238/vermont-house-passes-native-american-recognition-bill

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