Daniel Poorneuf [Portneuf],
Jeanssis[?] or Jeanoses[?],
Charlotte widow of the late chief of the Abenackque Nation at Missisque,
Marian Poorneuf [Portneuf],
Ther[e]sea Daughter of Joseph Michel,
Magdalaine Abernard, and
Joseph Abomsawin (99.)
Charlotte [no surname], identified as the "widow of the late chief of the Abenackque Nation at Missisque[?]," not identified specifically as Indian or as Abenaki in the document, although it is implied. Nor are any of the other grantors identified as Indian or as Abenaki. Three of the grantors have two of the surnames which are found on the 1873 and 1875 Canadian censuses of the St. Francis Abenakis (Recensement du Villages 1873; Recensement du Villages 1875) and on the 1893 pay list of Interest Distribution for the St. Francis Abenakis Band (Indian Distribution Pay List 1893.05.09) – namely, Poorneuf [Portneuf] and Abomsawin [Obumsawin/Obomsawin]. Along with the grantor Poorness [Portneuf, two of the neighboring Indian landowners (see below) have names that are very similar to those found on the above-mentioned Fort Saint-Frederic register – namely, Momtock [Mantoch or Mantok] and White Head [Tete Blanche]. In addition to the grantors named on the Robertson lease, several other individuals, identified as Indians, are named as holders of 12 farms bounding the property being leased, all of which are located on the "Missisque" [Missisquoi] river, including
(on the south side of the river)
Annome [Announce?] Suisse[?],
Jean Baptist the Whitehead, and
and (on the north side of the river)
Old White Heads,
99. Another person, Kapen Segou, is named by Richard McCarty in his witness Statement for this document. None of the petitioner's members claim descent from Kapen Segou.
Annus Jean Bapt. Momtock, and
The lease indicates that the neighboring landowners are Indians, and it is probable that tile grantors as well as the landowners named oil the Robertson lease are Indians. Other than the statement that Theresa is the "Daughter of Joseph Michel," no information is provided concerning kinship or other relationships between the grantors or between any of the grantors and other landowners named in the lease or a tribal affiliation for them. The grantee, James Robertson, is not identified as Indian; in fact, the wording of the document implies that he is not Indian. The three witnesses recorded on the lease (Edward Simmonds, Peter Hanby, and Richard McCarty) are also not identified as Indians, and it is implied that they are not.
As indicated by this document, the geographical proximity of property held by numerous individuals who were identified as Indian implies that there was an Indian settlement at this location. (100.) Comparison of the names of the individuals identified on the 1765 Robertson lease with other records does not reveal a connection to the petitioner's known or claimed ancestors, although the SSA goveming document allows descent from individuals on this 1765 lease as eligibility for membership.
The petitioner submitted a photocopy of a 1766 speech (in Abenakis with an English translation) of the "Misiskoui Indians at St. Francis" to the governor of Quebec Province, regarding the appropriation of their lands at "Misiskoui" by English settlers (Misiskoui Indians 1766.09.08). This document contains no names and thus this does not provide genealogical evidence to determine ancestry for any of petitioner's members or ancestors of petitioner's members. It does indicate that there were already Missisquoi Indians at St. Francis in the mid-18th century.
The petitioner submitted a photocopy of a 1788 declaration (written in English) of Louis Outalamagouine, identified in the document as "an Abenaqui Indian of Misiskoui," which discusses an expedition to "Misiskoui" (Outalamagouine 1788.09.01). This document also mentions "another Abenaqui Indian named Xavier" [no surname]. Both Outalamagouine and Xavier were to serve as French-Abenaki interpreters. This document is a report to Lt. Col. Campbell at Montreal concerning incidents which took place on an expedition from St. Johns (Canada) to "Misiskoui" to investigate complaints made against the Indians there. Thus it provides some evidence of an Indian presence at Missisquoi as late as 1788. The petitioner does not claim either of these persons as ancestors of its members. Department researchers were unable to trace the petitioner's ancestry to these individuals.
A photocopy of an 1874 petition of the "Abenakis Indians of St. Francois" (in French), submitted by the State, contains a list of 36 signatories, all male, many of whose names also appear on the
100. Since the grantors were leasing their land for 91 years, this document may indicate that at least a number of the community embers were relocating, although it is not known whether they relocated to other holdings they many have had in the area or to more distant locations, such as Odanak/St. Francis. The document hints that at least some of the grantors might have been planning to reside in the area for at least a part of the year since, as a condition of the lease, Robertson agreed "to plow as much land for each of the above persons [grantors] as shall be sufficient for them to plant their Indian corns every year..." (Robertson 1765.05.28).
The register of Fort Saint-Frederic identified approximately 65 Missisquoi Indian individuals (Roy 1946, 268-312). However, the register recorded only 4 identified Missisquol Indians with surnames: Andre Mantoch, Pierre-Jean dit le Tete Blanch [sic], Pierre-Thomas Cadenait, and Francois Mantok. These individuals could not be linked to the petitioner's known or claimed ancestors and no members of the petitioning group claim or demonstrate descent from these individuals.
Fourteen decennial U.S. censuses taken in 1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1.920, and 1930 (U.S. Census 1800-1880, 1900-1930) provide information on persons residing in Vermont and on the eastern shores of Lake Champlain. The State submitted copies of portions of some census records for selected towns and counties as well as copies of census indexes compiled from Family Quest (Heritage QuestTM) census software. OFA researchers examined the submitted documents as well as full copies of these censuses available at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). None of the individuals claimed by the petitioner as members or ancestors of members were enumerated as Indians in these records (see discussion under criterion 83.7(e) – Analysis).
Eight members of the petitioning group claim descent from Elvine (Obumsawin) Royce (18861967) who lived in Montpelier, Vermont. (101.) The petitioner's 2005 Family Tree MakersTM (FTM) database contained the names of 22 of her descendants (including the 8 who are members). Elvine was the younger sister of William Obomsawin (abt.1879-1959) and Marion Obumsawin (1885-1980), all three of whom were informants for Gordon Day (Day 1948.07.00-1962.11.13). William and Marion lived on Thompson's Point in Charlotte, Chittenden County, Vermont. (102.) These three siblings were the children of Simon Obomsawin (1850-after 1930), who is likely the
101. Elvine (Obumsawin) Royce is enumerated on the 1930 U. S. census for Duxbury, Washington County, Vermont (U. S. Census 1930). However, according to Day she was living in Montpelier, Vermont, in 1955, and in a nursing home in Graniteville, Vermont, in 1961 (Day 1948.07.00-1962.11.13).
102. Another William Bosawin [Obomsawin] (1879-?), and his wife Mary (1882-?), both born in Canada, were enumerated as Indians on the 1880 U. S. census for Grand Isle, Grand Isle County, Vermont (U. S. Census 1880, Grand Isle County, Vermont). However, their kinship to William, Marian, and Elvine Obomsawin is unknown at this time. None of the petitioner's members claim descent from these two individuals, and none of the petitioner's claimed ancestors were enumerated as living near this William and Mary.
The censuses do not document any of the petitioner's members or ancestors as living near the Obomsawins between 1880 and 1930, and no documentation has been submitted to indicate that the Obomsawins had any interaction with the petitioner's group before the 1970's. In addition, these records do not document any other groups or groups of Indians who are ancestors of the petitioner's members. The 1870 and later censuses enumerated some individual single Indian families in Vermont but the petitioner has not identified them as ancestors of its members. (105.) However, some census records provided genealogical information, Such as age, birth year of birth, place of birth, household relationships, and parents' birthplaces, for some of petitioner's members and ancestors of members, which was useful in verifying lineage submitted by the petitioner.
The State submitted five "Pedigree" charts from the Vermont Eugenics Survey (VES) conducted in the late 1920's; the information on these charts was derived from records at the Vermont Industrial School and Vermont Social Services Department (Pedigree SF 1927-1930) (see discussion under criterion 83.7(b) for historical background of EVES and analysis of its records). These charts generally contained information on an individual, the individual's spouse, children and "nationality," comments on "mentality," and the source of the information. One of the charts also contained information on the individual's siblings. The charts recorded the "nationality" (ancestry) of the individuals surveyed, including some claimed "Abenaki" ancestors of the petitioner's current members, as "French" (for four individuals from three families) or "Irish" (for one individual). The petitioner's current 2005b membership list includes 112 members who claim descent from one family identified by VES as "French," 14 members who claim descent from another "French" family, and 12 members who claim descent from the "Irish" family. The petitioner does not claim the third "French" family as a Missisquol Abenaki ancestral family, but it is linked by marriage to the other two "French" families and the "Irish" family, as well as to six other "primary" ancestral families. (See discussion under criterion 83.7(b) for a detailed description and evaluation of these documents.) One of the families ancestral to some members of the petitioner was described in the VES as having some members with Indian ancestry, but the tribal affiliations were not Abenaki. In addition, the petitioner has
103. The widowed Simon Obomsawin was enumerated on the 1930 U. S_ census for Charlotte, Chittenden County, Vermont (b.abt.1848, male, Indian), apparently living with his children, William and Marion, and a grandson, Fred Remington (abt. 1916-aft. 1930) All four individuals were identified as "Indian." One "A2" member of the petitioner also claims descent from Fred Remington.
104. When referring to any of the 20 ancestors claimed by the petitioner to be original "Missisquoi Abenaki" progenitors, the designation "primary" ancestors or "primary" ancestral lines will be used. Sec discussion under "Criterion 83.7(e) – Analysis."
105. Some of the individuals claimed by the petitioner as Indian ancestors of members were enumerated on the U.S. censuses as white and born in Canada. However, being born in Canada is not evidence of Indian descent.
106. The document submitted is missing 24 pages, so the information is incomplete.
107. Dates listed are those shown on the gravestone (Ledoux 1993.08.00). Birth years preceded by "abt." are calculated from age at death as shown on the gravestone.
The petitioner submitted a partial transcription of town "scholar's [sic] lists" for the period 18221 858 from Swanton, Vermont (SSA 1990.0 1.17, Appendix 3, 118). Photocopies of the original documents were not submitted. According to the petitioner, the transcription was taken from a "periodic" (most years, but not every year) report for the town of Swanton, recording families who sent their children to district one-room schools in the month of March. According to the petitioner, the document contained a listing of names, ordered by year and then by school district, and "[o]nly the father of the children was listed in most cases." This statement suggests that some of the names are those of students, which seems to be so for one of the petitioner's claimed ancestors, Antoine Colombo (1822-?) (discussed below), as he would have been only 10 years old in 1832 when his name first appears. No information on students' names, ages, mothers, siblings, or race or ethnic ancestry was provided in the record. Only three names oil the lists were identified as probable names of ancestors claimed by the petitioner: Lewis Colomb (1802-1887), Richard Colomb (1808-1866), and Antoine Colomb 109 (1822-?), three sons of the petitioner's claimed "primary" ancestor, Jos. Colombo (abt.1775-?). Other surnames which appear on the lists, including Melrose and Medor, may denote other ancestors of the petitioner. Thus, although this document, at minimum, provides the names of male individuals residing in the town and verifies that they were alive during a particular year, it does not provide information on genealogical relationships or evidence identifying individuals as Indian or as descendants of Indians.
(4) Affidavits of recognition by tribal elders, leaders, or the tribal governing body identifying present members or ancestors of present members as being descendants of a historical tribe or tribes that combined and functioned as a single autonomous olitical entity.
No such affidavits were submitted by the petitioner.
(5) Other records or evidence identifying present members or ancestors of present members as being descendants of a historical tribe or tribes that combined and functioned as a single autonomous political entity.
(a) County, City, and Family Histories and Commentaries, and Personal Records
The petitioner submitted abstracts of land records from Highgate, St. Albans, and Swanton, Vermont (SSA 1996.01.17, Appendix 4, 124). Photocopies of the original records were not submitted. Individuals named in these records appear to include one of the petitioner's claimed "primary" ancestors, John Morits; some descendants of other claimed ancestors, Lewis Colombo, Richard Colomb, Peter Medor, Edward Medor, and Mitchell St. Francis, as well as possible ancestors of lines that married into the "primary' ancestral lines, such as Sisco, Lampoon, Lefevre, Bessette [Bassett], Vansalette, Cota, Champing [Champange?], Lapan, Greenia, and
109. Possibly listed as Antoine Column in 1832 (Back Bay/Bow of the River/Dist. #9) and 1933 (Back Bay/Bow of the River/Dist. #9), as Antwine Coolum in 1934 (Back Bay, Bow of the River/Dist. #9), as Antoine Colomb in 1841 (Back Bay/Bow of the River/Dist. #9) and 1847 (Swanton Jct./Dist. #2), and as Antwine Coolom (Swanton Jct./Dist. #2) or Antwine Colom (Back Bay/Bow of the River/Dist.#9) in 1850.
The petitioner also submitted a transcription of poor farm records from the Sheldon, Vermont, town offices for the years 1891 to 1948 (SSA 1996.01.17 [Part B Appendix 3]). Photocopies of the original records were not submitted and the petitioner is encouraged to submit them along with its analysis. The submission introduction stated that "[d]eath records of the farm have generated the following list of Abenakis who were living there [the Sheldon poor farm] at the time of their death[s]." The attached list contained the names of 52 individuals with the years of their birth and death. Only one of the petitioners' claimed ancestors from the "primary" ancestral families can be identified: Mary Hoague 1844-1914. Other names include individuals with surnames of families that married into the "primary" ancestral lines (Barrett, Laplant, Greenia, Ploof, Lampman, Cota, and Martell). Some individuals had the same surnames as some of the petitioner's "primary" ancestral lines, but could not be identified as descendants or relatives. The document did not provide any genealogical information regarding family relationships.
No family histories, commentaries, or personal records were submitted.
The petitioner derived much of the information used in its historical narrative from academic publications on the history of Missisquoi, Becancour, and St. Francis Abenaki Indians by Day (Day, 1981), Calloway (Calloway 1987.12.30, 1990, 1990a), Haviland (Haviland 1994 (Revised Edition; first ed. 1981)),and Wiseman (Wiseman 2001). A thorough discussion of these publications is provided under criteria 83.7(a) and 83'.7(b). These publications did not provide information concerning a continuously existing Missisquoi or Western Abenaki tribal entity that included the petitioner's ancestors. Nor do they provide names of individuals identified as members of the historical tribe, that is, persons documented as Missisquoi or Western Abenaki in the United States or Canada, or their genealogical connections to the petitioner's claimed ancestors.
(b) Oral Histories
The petitioner submitted transcripts of interviews with four individuals (see discussion under criterion 83.7(b) for additional analysis). All informants claimed descent from one of the primary" ancestors and all were born in the early part of the 20th century in Swanton, Vermont. These transcripts included a discussion of individual ancestors, relatives and kinship relationships, and memories of neighbors and schoolmates. However, while these records provide some limited insight into the petitioner's claimed relationships and activities (see discussion under criterion 83.7(b)), and contained some genealogical information on parents, grandparents, siblings, and cousins, they did not contain information leading to the documentation of Indian descent, since the informants' lineages were not systematically explored. What little information was obtained about ancestors was primarily anecdotal "family tradition." The petitioner needs to submit photocopies of birth, marriage, and death records, or other reliable evidence to substantiate claims made in the oral histories.
In its petition narrative, the petitioner names 20 specific "primary" ancestors (see below), none of whom are identified as Indian, Missisquoi Abenaki, or Western Abenaki on any historical documents or from information found in the petitioner's submissions. (110.) The petitioner submitted 6 family ancestry charts (SSA 1982. 10.00, Chart 1), 7 individual history charts (IHC 1982), 20 descendancy charts (one for each of the 20 "primary 110 ancestors (SSA 1995.12.18), and member information compiled in a Family Tree MakerTM (FTM TM) genealogical database (SSA. 2005). The family ancestry charts diagramed multiple family lines through 4 to 5 generations over a period of approximately 120 years and included contemporary heads of households. The individual history charts were standard genealogical forms and, for these records, contained the name of an individual, the name of the individual's parents, and (in a few cases) the name of the individual's spouse, children, and siblings. The descendants charts were outline descendant charts produced with FTM TM software using the petitioner's genealogical database. Although these charts were useful in evaluating genealogical relationships, they were not accompanied by copies of vital records documenting birth, parentage, marriage, or ancestry. OFA researchers confirmed some of the dates and relationships through examination of census records. Nevertheless, the petitioner is advised to send documentation verifying birth, death, and marriage dates of its "primary" ancestors and succeeding generations of their descendants.
(d) Other Sources
Numerous newspaper articles dated from 1892 to 2002 submitted by the petitioner, arid particularly three obituaries (Lampman, Leonard Sr. 1987.05. 10, Laurent, Stephen n.d., (111.) St. Francis, Homer 2001.07.09) submitted by the State of Vermont, provided some confirmations of information from primary sources. However, the reliability of newspaper accounts vary according to the type of event, the source of information, and the perspective of the writer. For example, contemporary notices of marriages, births, or deaths are generally more reliable than reminiscences of genealogical connections to historical figures. Although these obituaries provided some useful genealogical information on the individuals discussed, such as birth or death dates, and names of spouses, children, siblings and parents, none of the information contained in these documents provided evidence of a contemporaneous Indian entity of which the petitioner's ancestors were a part.
Analysis – Descent from a Historical Tribe
In order to meet criterion 83.7(e)(1), the petitioner must demonstrate descent from a historical tribe, or from tribes which combined and functioned as a single entity. When it is documenting descent from members of the historical tribe or tribes, the petitioner must show that the persons claimed as Indian ancestors were descendants of the particular historical tribe.
110. The information on Simon Obomsawin (1850-after- 1930) was either submitted by the State or located by OFA researchers.
111. It should be noted that Stephen Laurent was not a member of the petitioner and is not listed on any membership list or in the petitioner's genealogical database.