(1) A physical and legal residence in Vermont.
Headquarters, Abenaki Nation at Nulhegan
190 Cross Road
Newport, VT 05855
(2) An organized tribal membership roll along with specific criteria that were used to determine membership, including evidence of kinship among tribal members.
Genealogical census of families; ongoing registration of births, marriages, and deaths. Census committee oversees new registrations based upon documentable descendency from known Abenaki families within Nulhegan/ Memphremagog/ Coos ancestral territory.
(3) Documented traditions, customs, and legends that signify Native American heritage.
Detailed historical/geographical data compiled by Frederick Wiseman submitted Jan 22. Summary review appended as Appendix 1.
(4) A tribal council, a constitution, and a chief.
(a) Tribal council
Legislative: Tribal Council
Judiciary: Elders Council
Asst. Chief (Sogomis)
(5) Been and continues to be recognized by other Native American communities in Vermont as a Vermont tribe.
All Tribes are united in an Alliance (The Vermont Indigenous Alliance) and after a vigorous three year vetting process (2006-2009) each tribe of the Alliance recognizes all others as Indian tribes. See cover letter.
(6) Been known by state, county or local municipal officials, or the public as a functioning tribe in Vermont.
Fred Wiseman (Researched post-1790 history of Nulhegan; Attachment 1).
Our "First nations Powwow and Heritage Weekend" in June is co-sponsored by the City of Newport. Worked with City of Newport on various projects (Attachments 2 & 3)
Our yearly Pow-wow in the Newport, VT area, is our main public awareness/ public relations event where the local and regional public learn of our distinct local Native culture and heritage. We have been featured in local newspaper articles (Attachment #4)
(7) Not been recognized as a tribe in any other state, province, or nation
The Nulhegan Band of the Coosuck has never been officially recognized as a tribe in any other state, province, or nation
(8) An enduring community presence within the boundaries of Vermont that can be documented by archaeology, ethnography, physical anthropology, history, genealogy, folklore and/or other applicable scholarly research. (Appendix 2)
To: Who It may Concern
From: Frederick M. Wiseman, Ph.D
RE: Nulhegan Band
February 20, 2010
I am writing this. letter of support for the Nulhegan Band of the Abenaki Nation. Although I have known Nulhegan elders, such as the recently deceased Nancy Cote, for many years, I was unaware of the tribal structure and local history of the Nulhegan band until 2006, when it became obvious that I had to study and understand this group in order to resolve political friction that was occurring between Nulhegan and Missisquoi. It has been a joy to work with Chief Luke Willard and Band members such as Ms. Cote's daughter Dawn Macie over the last several years in helping design their cultural center, assisting with grant writing for their social services wing AHA, Inc. (Abenakis Helping Abenakis), and completing a research project (with Chief Willard) concerning their local band history for my upcoming book Against the Darkness (to be published by University Press of New England). I was also present at the opening of the VT Quadricentennial "Indigenous Celebration" where Chief Willard proudly represented his people before the crowds of tourists at the Burlington Waterfront.
I am entirely convinced that the Nulhegan Band is currently and has been a functional Indian Tribe in Vermont. The Band exercises a measure of political oversight of their population, and relate to their Vermont neighbors in cultural, historical and other ways in a positive manner. l know that Nulhegan has been an enthusiastic partner in the Vermont Indigenous Alliance, and has initiated contact with the Elnu Tribe to have them participate in their pow-wow, so I expect that Nulhegan will be a growing and positive influence in the VT Native world.
Charlie Elliott - John Ward, Jr., City Manager
James D. Johnson, City Clerk/Treasurer
1. Call the Meeting to Order
2. Approve Minutes of February 4, 2008
3. Consider Approval for March of Dimes Walk America on Sunday May 4, 2008
4. Consider Approval of Resolution for VCDP Senior Housing Grant
5. Consider Appointment to Development Review Board
6. Consider Appointment of Town Service Officer
7. 7:30 Public Review and Comment on the City of Newport Solid Waste Implementation Plan
8. Discussion of AEA, Inc Cultural Museum & Education Center Project
9. Consider Landfill Leachate Proposal
10. Request to Replace Flooring in Police Department
11. Discussion on Boat Storage at Water Tower
12. Request to Approve Grants Management Contract with Northeast Kingdom Learning Services Inc.
13. Review Income/Expenses thru January 08
14. New Business
15. Old Business
16. Set Next Meeting Date
17. Executive Session – Personnel Issue
18. Executive Session – Union Issue
19. Executive Session – City Manager Evaluation
City Council: Ellwood Guyette, Mayor Paul Monette
John Ward, Jr., City Manager
James D. Johnson, City Clerk/Treasurer
1. Call the Meeting to Order
2. Approval Minutes of January 22, 2007
3. Approval Minutes of January 29, 2007
4. Approval Minutes of January 30, 2007
5. City School Board Budget Presentation
6. Causeway Traffic Light Discussion with Passumpsic Savings Bank
7. Review Passumpsic Savings Bank Traffic Access Plan New Building Consider Moving Location of Gardner Street
8. Consider Coin Drop Requests
9. Community Justice Center Legislation
10. Consider Cultural Museum Proposal from The Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk-Abenaki People (previously tabled)
11. Action City of Newport SRF Loan Documents (Arsenic Mitigation) Resolution and Certificate
General Obligation Bond
Certificate of Registration
IRS Form 8038-G
12. New Business
13. Old Business
14. Executive Session – Personnel Issue
15. Set Next Meeting Date
Some of the members of the Nulhegan Band, Cowasuk Abenakis, who are petitioning the Vermont legislature for state recognition. From left to right, rear, Luke Willard, Dawn Macie (Dancing Light), front row, left to right: Nancy Cote, Silent Thunder, Sparkling Water. (Photo by Anne L. Squire)
The Express (Newport, VT) May 16, 2002
Mr. Frederick Matthew Wiseman PhD I guess, forgot (?) to INCLUDE, the article that attached to this particular photograph in The Express Newspaper of Newport, Vermont. Here is the LINK: http://reinventedvermontabenaki.blogspot.com/2010/02/nulhegan-group-article-in-express.html so that people can KNOW exactly the FULL DETAILS and CONTEXT of the photograph itself.
§ 853 (b) (3) Documented traditions, customs, and legends that signify Native American heritage.
The Nulhegan Band of the Coosuck retains a significant fund of traditional knowledge and customs that can be tied to a native heritage through ethnography or folkloric studies, as detailed in Appendix 2. Below is a sample of data to specifically address criterion § 853. (b) (3) "Documented traditions, customs, and legends that signify Native American heritage." Many of these data have been abstracted from the more detailed Appendix 2
Traditions and Customs
At Nulhegan it is hard to separate traditions and customs of modern and recent band citizens and so both will be considered together. According to tradition recounted by both Nulhegan and Koasek (see below) citizens, a well-known Derby Line, VT family ("The Ramos") was accepted as Abenaki by everyone "before it became cool to be Abenaki" (in the 1950's). The most important modern tradition/custom at Nulhegan involves land use. Author and Nulhegan Band Chief Luke Willard noted in an e-mail to Wiseman that "Each branch (i.e. "core" family band) has land on their respective bluffs (of the Clyde/Nulhegan Rivers) and each branch is separated by approximately 3-4 Miles of river. Relations between the branches are strong among the older ones... not so much in the younger ones." These "branches" evolved slightly different life ways: one "branch" was involved in commerce, one in tribal affairs, another was known for its hunting and trapping, and one for gardening and fishing. This family-based geographic (and to a certain extent economic/political) segregation is identical to the Indigenous Wabanaki land tenure system described by Frank Speck on pages 212-229 of his Penobscot Man, to reconstruct Indigenous land tenure and use but heretofore without local VT confirmation. One of the most complete examples of "Northern Indigenous Horticulture" agricultural custom is the "Curtis family branch" garden of bean, corn, and squash at Salem Lake. It was planted in traditional large mounds illustrated as "a typical Indian corn hill" on page 71 of Kerry Hardy's 2009 book Notes on a lost flute: A field guide to the Wabanaki (Downeast Press). According to family oral history recorded from several Nulhegan Band members; heirloom seed varieties, a few of which may still remain, were also planted there. This geographic and environmental information on Abenaki family distributions and adaptations makes the Nulhegan zone one of the few regions in VT that we can trace ancient Indigenous-style, family-based land use zones that remained functional into 20th century living memory. In addition to land-use, there are traces of distinctive local water-based Native customs, such as an enigmatic steel apparatus -- a recycled, 1920's tubular steel fishing rod tipped with a very sharp spring wire spike, flanked by two outward curved spring wire prongs and lashed together with two diameters of flex steel wire. Unfortunately, we have missed its customary use by one generation in that the modern owner of the spear did not know what it was used for, but only that it came from his father's house in Lake Park (North Derby, VT). This contraption was clearly an Indigenous Wabanaki style fish spear (see Appendix 2 for more detail), one of only two documented examples that have come from anywhere west of Maine in the last 20 years!
Unfortunately the only documented legend from the area was recounted to Wiseman in Magog, QC, of an underwater creature in Lake Memphramagog that is probably the supernatural creature tatoskok, the underwater serpent. More cannot be said to this matter.
§ 853. (b) (8) An enduring' community presence within the boundaries of Vermont that can be documented by archaeology, ethnography, physical anthropology, history, genealogy, folklore and/or other applicable scholarly research.
This information is extracted from the "Something of Value" paper delivered to the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs on Jan 22, 2010.
The most northern locus of Vermont Indigenous presence is a zone on the southeastern side of Lake Memphremagog, extending to Salem Lake and the Clyde/Nulhegan Rivers and down to Wells River in Orleans, Essex, and Caledonia Counties. This Abenaki cultural zone has a "Crossroads Before and Beyond" exhibit at the Memphremagog Historical Society of Newport (in the State Office Building); but does not have a published detailed history, like Missisquoi's Voice of the Dawn, or The Original Vermonters. Years ago, local Abenakis complained about this lack of published history to historian Mariella Squier (Squire). On page 155 of her 1996 dissertation, Contemporary Western Abenakis, she quotes a young man: "I just finished reading Haviland (The Original Vermonters' first author) and he doesn't mention us at all. If we're not in Haviland, do we really exist?" So obviously, much more ethnographic and historical detail is necessary.
A scanned "pdf" document on file in the Wôbanakik Heritage Center (Swanton) archives shows that in 1796 a Chief "Philip," Chief of Upper Coos, as well as Molley Messel (a.k.a Marie Michel/Mitchell) and Ms. Mooselek Sussop signed an important document called the "Deed of the Coos Country." This deed gave up the indigenous land legal ownership of the "Coos Country," but reserved rights of taking fish in all waters forever by Indians who used this tract of land, as well as the "liberty of four bushels of corn and beans." In addition to being a good place to begin the historical narrative, it geographically lays out the "Upper Coos" region. The deed explicitly noted that Lake Memphramagog (then called Mamsloobagogg), the carrying place (canoe portage) to the Clyde River, then the upper Nulhegan (called Nulpeageawnuk) River and the east side of the Connecticut south to the mouth of the Ammunoosuck (Ammonoosuc River, more or less at modern Wells River, VT), are Upper Coos territory.
Historian Gordon Day pointed out on pages 58 and 59 of his 1981 The Identity of the St. Francis Indians, that this deeded area encompassed persistent Indian settlements, often of traditional birch bark wigwams, in the post 1780 period -- at Salem Lake, Lake Seymour, Crystal Lake, Lake Elligo (still retaining its Native name derived from eligo-sigo), and near Craftsbury. This is the region I consider in this section of the narrative. And so, unlike the more well-known Missisquoi, or even Koas, the foundation of this culture zone's confirmation of collective Vermont Indigenous identity rests not on a settled, widely known village, but instead on mapping ancestral residency, supported by a rich legacy of artifacts, ethnobotanical knowledge and photographs that have descended in modern Nulhegan Band leaders', and members' possession; and whose kind sharing of these materials and genealogies is the basis of this historical geography.
Historical "players" in the Upper Coos
The Upper Cowass area has a long subsequent history of Indigenous settlement, especially on or near the significantly named "Indian Point," a high bluff land jutting into the Vermont portion of Lake Memphramagog from the East. It was here that historian Gordon Day, in pp. 58-59 of his Identity of the St. Francis Indians asserted that Captain Sozap (Pierre Joseph Wawanolet) positioned his band's main village -- where first known Roman Catholic Mass in the area was performed in 1840 (see also catholicparishesofnortheastvermont.com/stmary/history_htm). Another important locus of Indigenous presence is Salem Lake, just to the east of Derby, VT, that was formerly known as "Lac d' Abenaquis." Vermont Historian Katherine Blaisdell in her 1979 book Over the River and through the Years (Courier Printing Company), notes that at least one traditional bark wigwam was on the shores of Salem Pond in the mid 19th century; home to "Old Joe Indian," and his wife Mary. V. Downs, in his 1960 Vermont Life (14 11 14) "Indian Joe" article, noted that his hunting grounds apparently extended south-to Cady's Falls, near Morrisville, VT. There is a slight possibility that he was Captain Sozap of Indian Point, but more
This ethnic enclave was on the divide between the larger north trending St. Francis River drainage, and the smaller, east trending Clyde/Nulhegan River. This place was such an important canoe trail between the St. Francis and Connecticut River that it was called the "Indian Stream" in the 1842 Webster-Ashburton Treaty that set the US Canadian border. Although St. Mary's parish (Newport) was founded in 1873 when Rev. J.S. Michaud became its first resident pastor, many local Indigenous people continued to register their children's baptisms at St. Francis, a 19th century affirmation of ethnic connection. For example; one of Totoson's turn-of-the 20th century descendents from Derby, VT who was genealogically well-documented in the Nulhegan Band's tribal record files; had most of his children baptized at St. Francis. But most importantly for a claim of VT residence -- they all died in Derby or Newport; VT -- documenting an American, rather than Canadian residence of these people during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. One of those children was born in modern Stanstead, Quebec in 1905 when it was Derby, VT (the border was
Artifacts and imagery
In addition to "Indian Characters" and kin-group geography, there is other, more empirical evidence of cultural continuity in the Upper Cowass. Probably the most telling image of regional, mid 19th century Indigenous life in Vermont is Cornelius Krieghoff's famous 1854 painting "Indian Encampment, Lake Memphramagog" (Figure 2), complete with important pictorial data on local canoe construction, clothing styles and an atypical conical bark lodge.
Figure 2. "Indian Encampment, Lake Memphramagog," 1854, Cornelius Krieghoff
Canoe maker and scholar of the craft, Aaron York has found an early canoe (late 18th or early 19th century) from the Lake that he considers evidence of a discrete canoe building tradition at Lake Memphramagog. This canoe served as the basis of his 2007 recreation of a 1609-era canoe now curated at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. York notes that the thwart and gunwale construction is distinct from the typical 19th century "St. Francis" (Odanak) canoes such as the ca. 1880 example (probably made by the binational Panadis family) as curated at the Abenaki Tribal Museum in Swanton, VT. York infers that these design differences are evidence of a technological tradition that is distinct from Odanak, an important point that supports a culturally separate Indigenous technological tradition in the Lake Memphramagog area.
Independent evidence of local Native lacustrine (lake) adaptation is an enigmatic steel apparatus found in a garage sale in Newport, VT. It is basically a recycled, 1920's tubular steel fishing rod tipped with a very sharp spring wire spike, flanked by two outward curved spring wire prongs. The whole assembly is wired together with two diameters of steel wire (Figure 3). This is a diminutive version of the highly distinctive Wabanaki fish spear (see Missisquoi Appendix, Figure 7) executed in metal rather than wood. It shows the
There are minor 19th and early 20th century material indicators of a local ash-splint basket making and selling tradition in the area. The main evidence for the practice is a wooden basket gauge (Figure 4) from Troy, VT; and a well-documented horse-feed basket (curated at the Wôbanakik Heritage Center, Swanton, VT), made and sold in Newport, VT, which points to a local tradition. In addition, a unique regional "fancy basket" characteristic pointed out to Dr. Fred Wiseman years ago by VT ethnographer John Moody, is the incorporation of over-weave of cherry root as a design motif in an early 20th century example. At this time, there are no written records of north-central VT basket makers to date, describe or otherwise corroborate evidence of this economic activity. However, given the abundance of evidence for Native-style behaviors in other media and cultural realms, a basket making component would be expected.
Not only are the family members phenotypically native, the matriarch wears a blanket in the historical Indian style for the photograph illustrated as Figure 5. Ms. Cote also donated a copy of ca. 1930 photograph of her relative (unfortunately unnamed, but probably Antoine Cote according to author Chief Luke Willard) in typical Eastern Native, early 20th century "cut cloth fringe" interpretation of Plains-style regalia that we illustrate as Figure 6.
There is an important digital copy of a tin-type photograph in the Wôbanakik Heritage Center in Swanton, labeled "Chief old Antoine (Anthony) Phillips Sr. Born 1787 at Lake Memphramagog, Vermont." His Native ethnicity (and VT residency!) is validated by the VT Eugenics Survey as having "French and Indian Blood" (Vermont State Archives Case B, Drawer 4; in Phillips Pedigree folder Page 2). This annotated photograph is one of only three 19th century records that exist of an Indian "chief" in Vermont (the others are Ben Gravel's chief at Swanton (See Missisquoi petition appendix); and the dying chief of Bellows Falls (mentioned in the Elnu appendix). The Phillips family is still resident in the Lake Memphramagog area. Author Chief Luke Willard acknowledged in an e-mail to Wiseman, "Yes, there is a bunch of Phillips over here (north-central VT). They're definitely Abenaki and they know it." In addition, "Chief” Antoine was himself the direct forebear of numerous VT Indigenous people. For example Chief Phillips had a son, Pierre Phillips (b. 1809), who had a daughter, Rosa Delphine Phillips (b. 1868) who had a daughter; Lillian "Delia" Bessette (b. 1909) who had a daughter, Margaretia Burbo (b. 1931), who has a son, Donald Stevens (b. 1966), who is an active member of the Vermont Indigenous community, most recently having been Chair of the VT Commission on Native American Affairs. An interesting detail is that the tintype (detail, Figure 8) distinctly shows "Chief Antoine" wearing moccasins that have the ethnically distinct vamp-top that forces the front bottom sole to rise; as well as pointed side-flaps of a type made by many Indigenous peoples throughout the Northeast in the late 19th century.
There is a pair of almost identical construction at the Wôbanakik Heritage Center from Lac Brome, Eastern Townships; only 20 miles from Lake Memphramagog. (but of course in Canada). In the 19th century Far
Historical geography of Indigenous subsistence zones
In the early twentieth century, there were several major extended Indigenous family bands in the "Upper Cowass," each with its own exclusive culturally semi-autonomous regions; that still form the core of the modem Nulhegan Abenaki community. This community lay at a "continental divide," with direct access to the St. Lawrence River, Lake Champlain and the Connecticut River. From west to east, the family groups were located in a trend from 1.) Troy (originally "Mesesco," a geographic variant of "Missisquoi" from the Abenaki language), below the Big Falls of the Missisquoi River (Lake Champlain Drainage), to 2.) Newport, on Lake Memphramagog (St. Lawrence River drainage), to 3.) Salem Lake, between Lake Memphramagog and the Clyde River (Connecticut River Drainage), to 4.) Pensioner Pond in Charleston, VT (Connecticut River Drainage), and 4.) nearby Seymour Lake in Morgan, VT (Connecticut River Drainage). There is another important active Upper Cowass focal point -- just to the south -- in the Brownington and Barton VT area. All of these families knew each other and, as repeatedly documented in the modern Nulhegan Band's genealogical files, routinely intermarried. Author and Nulhegan Band Chief Luke Willard noted in an e-mail to Wiseman that "Each branch has land on their respective bluffs and each branch is separated by approximately 3-4 miles of river. Relations between the branches are strong among the older ones... not so much in the younger ones." It is also interesting that these "branches" seemed to also have evolved slightly different life ways based on cultural and natural environment. One regional "branch" was involved in Euroamerican commerce, one was involved in tribal affairs, another (in the poorer uplands) was widely known for its hunting and trapping expertise, and one (which was located on good lakeside soil) was more involved with gardening and fishing. This family-based geographic (and to a certain extent economic/political) segregation is identical to the Indigenous Wabanaki land tenure system described by Frank Speck on pages 212-229 of his Penobscot Man, a source used (e.g. Haviland and Powers, 1994 The Original Vermonters) to reconstruct VT Abenaki land tenure and land-use but heretofore without local VT confirmation. This pattern is confirmed for at least three areas in Vermont. The last "branch" listed above has always been located on the shores of Salem Lake (formerly Lac des Abenaquis), VT, and was widely known for its gardening prowess. Its oral history, as recounted by modern Nulhegan Band members, gives good ethnobotanical evidence of longstanding local Indigenous tradition. One of the most complete descriptions of the persistence of "Northern Indigenous Horticulture" into the mid 20th century is the technologically unique garden of a "Curtis family branch" at Salem Lake. They maintained a "huge" garden of beans, corn, and squash planted in traditional large mounds -- mechanically different from the row cropping as practiced by contemporaneous Euroamericans This ethnically distinct "horticultural mound" system is illustrated as "a typical Indian corn hill" on page 71 of Maine ecologist Kerry Hardy's 2009 book Notes on a lost flute: A field guide to the Wabanaki (Downcast Press). According to family oral history recorded from several Nulhegan Band members; heirloom seed varieties, a few of which may still remain, were also planted there. Modern Nulhegan Band citizens garden this same plot of land with smaller, residual "corn hills," but distinct enough to show clear evidence of ethnobotanical continuity. This geographic and environmental information on Abenaki family distributions and adaptations makes the Nulhegan zone one of the few regions in VT that we can trace ancient Indigenous-style, family-based land use zones that remained functional into 20th century living memory. However, there was exogamy (out-marriage) of these family bands with family bands in other tribal areas. In 2006, Wiseman learned from Nulhegan Band Elder and tradition keeper Nancy Cote that his grandmother's "Ouimet lineage" grandfather is Cote's Nulhegan ancestor.
The Upper Cowass/Nulhegan Renaissance
The Upper Cowass renaissance was spurred in the third quarter of the 20th century by Nancy Cote (who reported much Nulhegan area history to me in the early 1990's), and to a certain extent, Elsie "Moonbeam" Davis (a close friend of Missisquoi Chief Homer St. Francis) in the 1970's. This unique, long-standing female-centric tradition is expressed in one of the modern Nulhegan Band's governing polities, the Ladies' Judiciary (now the Elder's Council). At first Cote, Davis and other locals participated with Missisquoi in their regional renaissance. In the early 1980's the re-coalescing political community became included in the more regionally restricted Abenaki bands that were forming, dividing and reconfiguring in the
In this section we have provided internally consistent evidence of a long-term Vermont Indigenous settlement area in the Troy, Newport and Derby VT area in the 19th and 20th centuries. They divided the area into subsistence/settlement sectors, as was done by the Penobscots and other allied bands in Maine. Like their more eastern Native neighbors, the micro-regional bands, such as the Curtises of Salem Lake, communicated and intermarried to create an integrated river-based autonomous region covering many square kilometers. There is a wealth of genealogical, material, oral-historical, botanical and other evidence of a cooperative, kinship-based entity – an entity that maintained collective control over territories during the critical post-1790 period, adapting to European land tenure – so much so that modem descendents retain deeded title to their lands. We have material and oral history evidence of distinct basket making, fishing and horticultural technologies that can be stylistically or technologically related to known "Indian" examples from neighboring areas. The modem "Nulhegan Band of the Coosuck Abenaki" polity evolved from an inter local assembly composed of citizens from these micro-regional bands, and exercises political power internally, as well as represents its citizens in local and state Euroamerican politics. We therefore contend that Nulhegan is a regional autonomous VT Native community that meets the criteria for political designation as an Abenaki tribe.
Within this blog, documents retrospectively show and provide the conclusive evidence that Luke Andew Willard (whether Sackett or Pike is his paternal father matters not to me particularly, yet he does carry his mother's surname) is NOT who he appears or claims to be. Documentarily, he is shown to have been (retrospectively-speaking) a part of Ralph Skinner Swett's "Clan of the Hawk, Inc." (of which Mr. PhD Wiseman claims "in his opinion" that such incorporation does not constitute an "Abenaki Tribe or Band") as was Nancy Lee Cote and her daughter Dawn Macie. Also, Luke Andrew Willard was retrospective part of the late David Andrew Hill's group (and also David Hill's Inc. successor Reynold Choiniere's group "North American People of the Dawn, Inc.)"