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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Final Determination Against Federal Acknowledgment of the St. Francis/Sokoki Band of Abenakis of Vermont Pages 8 to 13:

St. Francis/Sokoki Band of Abenakis of Vermont (Petitioner #68)
Criterion 83.7(a) requires that the petitioner has been identified as an American Indian entity on a substantially continuous basis since 1900.

Summary of the Proposed Finding
The PF concluded that the evidence in the record was insufficient to demonstrate by a reasonable likelihood that external observers had identified the SSA petitioner as an American Indian entity on a substantially continuous basis since 1900. Consequently, the petitioner did not meet criterion 83.7(a).

More specifically, the PF found that for the period from 1900 to 1975, no evidence in the record provided an external identification of either the petitioning group or a group of the petitioner's ancestors as an American Indian entity on a substantially continuous basis.
From 1976 afterward since their VT State-Sanctioned Incorporation Status, however, the PF found sufficient evidence that external observers identified the petitioning group as an American Indian entity. (See the Abenaki PF 2005, 22-43, for a complete description of these identifications.)
The task for the petitioner during the comment period, therefore, was to submit evidence of external observers identifying the petitioner or an antecedent group as an American Indian entity on a substantially continuous basis from 1900 to 1975.

Summary of the Comments on the Proposed Finding
The Department received three sets of comments on the PF's conclusions that apply to criterion 83.7(a). One set of comments came from the petitioner as part of its August 14, 2006, submission. In its cover letter, the petitioner states that it was "sending a [DVD] disk with a full interview with Alice Roy." This DVD is entitled "Against the Darkness." 5. On the same DVD is a second interview, an interview with Dr. James Petersen, that addresses the PF's conclusions in a way similar to the Roy interview. Although the petitioner did not directly instruct the Department to interpret it as a comment, the Department examined both the Petersen interview and the Roy interview under criterion 83.7(a) and the other criteria.
A second set of comments came from Lester M. Lampman and several individuals associated with the petitioning group. The Department received these comments on May 17, 2006. These comments included a 6-page letter that discussed some of the senders' concerns with the PF and other issues, as well as a photograph, a photocopy of a photograph, and 11 pages of documents to supplement their comments.
5. The video does not contain standard publication and production information, but the DVD has the handwritten date "2-19-06" on its face and, when played, indicates that it is the "Build 37 Working copy." This DVD appears to be an updated version of the "Against the Darkness" video that the Department received in VHS format for consideration with the PF. On April 15, 2005, the Department received a document that contained both an introduction to the "Against the Darkness" video and the video's script. The documents state that Frederick M. Wiseman, Ph.D., wrote both the introduction and the script.
St. Francis/Sokoki Band of Abenakis of Vermont (Petitioner #68)
A third set of comments came from John Moody, an informed party, in his letter that the Department received on May 15, 2006. Among other things, Moody contested the PF's analysis of one of eight unnumbered pages of a Vermont Eugenics Survey (VES) "Pedigree" file, compiled around 1927 to 1930, as it applied to criterion 83.7(a).

Analysis of the Comments
The petitioner instructed the Department to evaluate a DVD interview with "Alice Roy." A video segment entitled "Stories of Visiting the Abenakis ... Vermont Oral History of 1910-1918," contains a recent but undated interview with Mrs. Gerard Roy, a non-member who apparently was a young girl in Vermont in the early 20th century. 6. A transcription of the interview is as follows:

[Mrs. Gerard Roy speaking (n.d., all text sic):] When I was 9 years old, I would bring my books home, and my father was very interested in it, and I told my father that we were studying about Indians. And he said, "You know my girl, there is Indians in Vermont here." He says, "I want to tell you." He says, "My father and I, we took a buggy from Barre, Vermont, and we went to the northern part of Vermont to see what they had called a savage, but they were Indians." And he says, "I was going to ... was curious enough to know that I want to see for myself that they weren't dangerous. So we left from Barre to see the Indians." And he says, "We rode around, and we saw the way they lived." And he said, "We saw their fires, and we saw their ... the wigwam the way they lived." And he says, "We were very satisfied." and then he said, "We took the buggy back home." And he said, "We got home very late." ("Against the Darkness" 2006)

This interview, on its own, does not constitute identification by an external observer of the petitioner or a predecessor group—as an American Indian entity for the following reasons:

1.) Mrs. Gerard Roy did not observe the "Indians in Vermont." It was her father and her grandfather, not Mrs. Gerard Roy herself, who supposedly observed the "Indians in Vermont." Mrs. Gerard Roy's account, therefore, is not an observation; it is an account of one of her father's stories.

2.) Although the interview referenced "Indians in Vermont," it did not identify an entity. According to the interviewee, her father recalled seeing multiple Indians, but it is unclear whether he saw a few individuals, a family or two, or a larger group. It is difficult to discern much about these Indians, especially when the interviewee stated that "the Indians" (plural) her father observed lived in "the wigwam" (singular). 7. Perhaps these
6. The petitioner's August 14, 2006, letter specifically directs the Department to examine an interview with Alice Roy [Frederick M. Wiseman's wife?], but the interview on the DVD video is with Mrs. Gerard Roy of Barre, Vermont, the Department presumes that Alice Roy and Mrs. Gerard Roy are the same person. Additionally, the DVD interview does not indicate when Mrs. Gerard Roy was born, how old she was when at the time of the interview, or any other specific information that would allow the Department to approximate the date on which her father observed the "Indians of Vermont."

7. Another concern with this interview is that the photographs accompanying the video interview are undated and unattributed; it is uncertain how reliable it is as evidence. There is a photograph of several individuals outside a
St. Francis/Sokoki Band of Abenakis of Vermont (Petitioner #68)
Indians all belonged to a single family. Regardless of this uncertainty about "the wigwam," the Department does not accept "[r]eferences to individual Indian descendants or Indian families" as satisfactory identifications of an American Indian entity (Burt Lake Band PF 2004, 34), and there is not enough specific information in this interview that describes any particular entity.

3.) As the PF noted, the interview did not provide "the name of any particular town in the area, or any tribal identification for the Indians he is supposed to have visited" (Abenaki PF 2005, 67). The town of Barre, Vermont, is about 60 miles southeast of Swanton, the claimed geographic center of the petitioner. However, without further information about the approximate location of the supposed Indians, the Department cannot establish that Mrs. Roy was referring to the petitioner's claimed ancestors 8. who lived in or near Swanton. There was no mention of Swanton in the interview; these Indians could have been itinerant Indians (see the upcoming discussion on the Dr. James Petersen interview), perhaps temporarily visiting "the northern part of Vermont" from Canada, Maine, Upstate New York, or elsewhere. 9.

This interview, therefore, is not an external identification of an American Indian entity ancestral to the petitioner.
The second interview on the petitioner's "Against the Darkness" video presentation that the Department evaluated under criterion 83.7(a) is an interview with the late Dr. James Petersen of the University of Vermont's anthropology department. The interview is entitled "Stories of Vermont Basketmakers." In this interview, Dr. Petersen discussed a basket that was:

obtained by my grandmother from an itinerant basket-seller during the years of the Depression, presumably in the 1930's. And my grandmother, when she gave it to me, said that it was obtained ... she got the basket in return for feeding a couple of gypsies—as she called them but then laughed and said, "of course you know they're native people, they were native people who traveled up and down
FOOTNOTE 7. continued: house or a barn, and this photograph is displayed on the screen when Mrs. Gerard Roy is talking about a "wigwam," this contradiction of oral evidence and visual evidence introduces another level of uncertainty into the petitioner's argument.
8. The term "claimed ancestor" is a term used in the PF and the FD to refer to an ancestor who is claimed by at least some of the petitioner's current membership. These claims may or may not be factually accurate, and these claims may or may not be consistent. In short, the term "claimed ancestor" is a problematic term. See footnote 12 on p. 14 of this FD for a further discussion on this point.9.

9. The PF established that, by the late 19th century, itinerant Indians from other areas traveled through northern New England. As the PF stated, "the petitioner and the State both submitted evidence which demonstrated that Western Abenakis from Odanak and Passamaquoddy and Penobscot from Maine traveled to the large summer resort hotels throughout the region, selling baskets and other crafts to tourists," and that "[b]y the 1880's, Abenaki Indians from Quebec and Passamaquoddy and Penobscot Indians from Maine were beginning to manufacture baskets specifically for the summer tourist trade" (Abenaki PF 2005, 68). Thus, the "Indians in Vermont" to which Mrs. Gerard Roy alludes may have been itinerant Indians who were traveling through the area, but who lived somewhere other than northern Vermont.
St. Francis/Sokoki Band of Abenakis of Vermont (Petitioner #68)

old Route 7," and visited her from time to time in her hometown of Salisbury, Vermont. ("Against the Darkness" 2006)

There is no available evidence to conclude that this interview refers to the petitioner's ancestors. This interview shares some characteristics of the Roy interview, and it does not constitute identification by an external observer of the petitioner, or a predecessor group, as an American Indian entity for the following reasons:

1.) Dr. Petersen did not observe "native people." His grandmother, not Dr. Petersen himself, who supposedly observed the "native people who traveled up and down old Route 7." Dr. Petersen's account, therefore, is not an observation; it is an account of one of his grandmother's stories.

2.) Although Dr. Petersen claims his grandmother identified "native people who traveled up and down old Route 7," she did not identify an entity. Dr. Petersen's grandmother did recall seeing "a couple of gypsies, as she called them," but, as stated above, references to individual Indian descendants or Indian families are not satisfactory identifications of an American Indian entity.

3.) These "native people" may have "traveled up and down old Route 7" and visited Dr. Petersen's grandmother in Salisbury, Vermont, a town that is about 75 miles south of Swanton, the petitioner's claimed geographical center. However, the interview does not discuss where these itinerant Indians actually lived. They may have lived in Canada, Maine, or Upstate New York. The evidence does not show that the interview referred to the petitioner's ancestors, and it is especially difficult to determine that the Indians in the interview were ancestors ofthe petitioner without additional specific geographic information, a specific discussion of the itinerant Indians' tribal identification, and other descriptive material.

This interview, therefore, is not an external identification of an American Indian entity ancestral to the petitioner.

The May 2006 submission from Lester Lampman contains several pieces of evidence that might constitute external identifications of an American Indian entity. Most of the documents, however, relate to the petitioner's affairs after 1975. It is not necessary to evaluate each of these submissions with respect to criterion 83.7(a) because the PF has already concluded that there was sufficient evidence to satisfy criterion 83.7(a) after 1975.

An exception that may refer to the period before 1975 is a photograph of the "Grandma Lampman Site Maquam Shore Project" memorial, which is a commemorative plaque affixed to a rock. The Lampman letter provided no description of who "Grandma Lampman" was, how she descended from a historical Indian tribe, or how she is related to the petitioner. 10. The memorial
10. The petitioner's FTM genealogical database lists a "Martha Ann Morits" who was Leonard M. Lampman's grandmother. According to the FTM genealogical database, Martha Ann Morits was born in 1866 in Bedford, Quebec, Canada, and died in 1943 in Swanton, Vermont, after living for 35 years in the United States. Martha Ann Morits allegedly descends from the Morice family, and the PF notes that the available evidence did not demonstrate
St. Francis/Sokoki Band of Abenakis of Vermont (Petitioner #68)
was dedicated in 1995. The location of the memorial and the author of the plaque's text are unspecified. If a member of the SSA group authored the text of the plaque [Louise May nee: Lampman Larivee?], it would be a self-identification and thus not be evidence acceptable under the criterion. Otherwise, the memorial might, based on the dates of "Grandma Lampman's" life, arguably constitute a pre-1975 identification of "Grandma Lampman" as an "Abenaki woman." The memorial also references "her children and grandchildren." However, as stated earlier, references to individual Indian descendants or Indian families are not satisfactory identifications of an American Indian entity. When the memorial's text states, "This site will always be known as Grandma Lampman's by the Abenaki Community and others," it is unclear when or where this "Abenaki community" existed. However, the best estimate is that the "Abenaki community" is contemporary with the memorial itself, which was dedicated in 1995. Any additional post-1975 identifications of an Indian entity are unnecessary because the PF already determined that the petitioner met criterion 83.7(a) after 1975.
John Moody also commented on the PF's evaluation under 83.7(a). Moody disagrees with the Department's interpretation of a statement regarding Mr. Bartoo, a Vermont high school principal, printed in a Vermont Eugenics Survey "Pedigree" file. The VES statement, compiled around 1927 to 1930, is as follows:

Mr. Bartoo says that Back Bay, Swanton, was settled by the French when they thought they were settling in Canada. The result is a French and Indian mixture. He says the St. Francis Indians are a French and Indian mixture. (Bartoo n.d., 1; see also Moody 5/5/2005, 6; Abenaki PF 2005, 27)

In its PF, the Department did not accept this as an external observation of an American Indian entity for two principal reasons. First, Bartoo's first two sentences characterize the ethnic composition of Back Bay, Swanton, rather than an American Indian entity. Second, the Department's reading of the available evidence concluded that Bartoo's use of the term "St. Francis Indians" was "most likely a reference to the historical tribe at Odanak, Quebec,... rather than a contemporary Indian entity in Swanton" (Abenaki PF 2005, 27).
In his comment, Moody concedes that "more research is needed" to accurately interpret this statement, but disputes the Department's second reason for not accepting it as satisfactory evidence. Moody argues that, rather than referring to the historical St. Francis Indians in Canada, Bartoo's statement refers to "the large St. Francis family and their numerous Abenaki relatives in Back Bay in Swanton in the 1920's and 1930's." He did not provide new evidence to corroborate his claim. In contrast, the PF noted that the VES [Vermont Eugenics Survey] "Pedigree" file identified this family as French-Canadian, not Indian." However, even if Moody's statement were demonstrably true—that "the St. Francis Indians" in the VES text were a family it would not satisfy criterion 83.7(a) because the Department does not accept references to individual Indian descendents or Indian families as satisfactory evidence for criterion 83(a).
10. continued that the Morice family descends from a historical Indian tribe (Abenaki PF 2005, 128-132). Whether or not "Grandma Lampman" descended from a historical Indian has no bearing on the evaluation of the memorial under criterion 83.7(a).

11. Furthermore, the PF found that "none of the individuals in this file was identified by the Eugenics Survey as Indian" (Abenaki PF 2005, 27).
St. Francis/Sokoki Band of Abenakis of Vermont (Petitioner #68)
Final Determination's Conclusion on Criterion 83.7(a)
The PF concluded, based on the available evidence, that the petitioner did not satisfy criterion 83.7(a) for the period 1900 to 1975, but that the petitioner did satisfy the criterion from 1975 to the present [because of their VT State-Sanctioned "Under State Laws" Incorporation(s)]. During the comment period, the Department received no new evidence that an external observer identified the petitioner or an antecedent group before 1975 as an American Indian entity on a substantially continuous basis [because the group DID NOT exsist BEFORE the 1970's]. Two interviews in the "Against the Darkness" video provide vague secondhand accounts of unspecified Indian individuals living in, or at least traveling through, Vermont in the first third of the 20th century. However, they are not firsthand observations of an American Indian entity, and the evidence does not demonstrate that the observed Indians were either the petitioner or an antecedent group. Therefore, these two interviews are not identifications of an American Indian entity as required under criterion 83.7(a). The Lampman letter contains material that might constitute external identifications of an American Indian entity. However, this material relates to the petitioner's affairs after 1975, a period during which PF already concluded that there was sufficient evidence to satisfy criterion 83.7(a). John Moody's comment that disputed one aspect of the PF's interpretation of the VES is plausible, especially if corroborating evidence were available. Even if Moody's interpretation were true, it would not be an identification of an American Indian entity. In summary, material the Department received during the comment and response periods did not, together with rest of the available evidence, demonstrate that external observers identified the petitioner as an American Indian entity on a substantially continuous basis from 1900 to 1975.

Based on the available evidence, the FD concludes that there is sufficient evidence of external identifications ofthe petitioner as an as Indian entity during the period since 1975. External observers, however, did not identify the petitioner or an antecedent group as an American Indian entity before 1975. Because the available evidence is insufficient to demonstrate substantially continuous identification of the petitioner as an American Indian entity from 1900 to the present, the petitioner does not meet the requirements of criterion 83.7(a).

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Final Determination Against Federal Acknowledgment of the St. Francis/Sokoki Band of Abenakis of Vermont Intro and Pages 1 to 7:

Summary under the Criteria and Evidence
Final Determination against Federal Acknowledgment
of the
St. Francis/Sokoki Band of Abenakis of Vermont
Prepared in response to a petition submitted to the
Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs for Federal
acknowledgment that this group exists as an Indian tribe.
Approved: June 22, 2007
Carl J. Artman
Assistant Secretary - Indian Affair
Summary under the Criteria and Evidence for Final Determination against Federal Acknowledgment of the St. Francis/Sokoki Band of Abenakis of Vermont
Summary of the Proposed Finding....
Administrative History of the Petition before the Proposed Finding....
Administrative History of the Petition since the Proposed Finding....
Clarification of Simon Obomsawin,
One of the Petitioner's 20 "Primary" Ancestors....

Map of the Colonial Northeast, circa 1660-1725....vi


AG....Attorney General
ADS....Associate Deputy Secretary
ARP....Abenaki Research Project
ASHAI....Abenaki Self-Help Association, Inc.
AS-IA....Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs
ATC....Abenaki Tribal Council
BAR....Branch of Acknowledgment and Research
BIA....Bureau of Indian Affairs
CFR....Code of Federal Regulations
DVD....Digital Video Disk
FAIR....Federal Acknowledgment Information Resource
FD....Final Determination
FTM....Family Tree MakerTM genealogy software
IBIA....Interior Board of Indian Appeals
IORM....Improved Order of the Red Men
OD....Obvious Deficiency letter
OFA....Office of Federal Acknowledgment, formerly BAR
PF....Proposed Finding
SSA....St. Francis/Sokoki Band of Abenakis of Vermont, Petitioner #68
TA....Technical Assistance
U.S. ....United States
VES.....Vermont Eugenics Survey
VFW....Veterans of Foreign Wars (Association)
FIGURE 1: Map of the Colonial Northeast, circa 1660-1725
Colonial Northeast, circa 1660-1725 (Map adapted from Sweeny and Haefli, Captor and Captives: the 1704 French and Indian Raid on Deerfield, 2003; http://1704deerfield.history.museum/maps/northeast.html)
St. Francis/Sokoki Band of Abenakis of Vermont (Petitioner #68)
 Summary under the Criteria and Evidence
for the Final Determination of the
St. Francis/Sokoki Band of Abenakis of Vermont
The Office of the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs (Assistant Secretary or AS-IA) within the Department of the Interior (Department or DOI) issues this final determination (FD) in response to the petition received from a group known as the St. Francis/Sokoki Band of Abenakis of Vermont (SSA or Petitioner #68), located in the town of Swanton, Vermont. The SSA petitioned for Federal acknowledgment as an Indian tribe under Part 83 of Title 25 of the Code of Federal Regulations (25 CFR Part 83), Procedures for Establishing that an American Indian Group Exists as an Indian Tribe.
The acknowledgment regulations, 25 CFR Part 83, establish the procedures by which groups may seek Federal acknowledgment as Indian tribes entitled to government-to-government relationships with the United States. To be entitled to such a relationship, the petitioner must submit documentary evidence that the group meets each of the seven mandatory criteria set forth in section 83.7 of the regulations. The Department shall acknowledge the existence of the petitioner as an Indian tribe when it determines that the group satisfies all of the criteria in 83.7(a-g). The Office of Federal Acknowledgment (OFA), within the Office of the AS-IA, has responsibility to review, analyze, and evaluate the petition. This FD concludes that the petitioner does not meet four of the seven mandatory criteria and therefore is not an American Indian tribe within the meaning of Federal law.
The Department bases this FD upon all the evidence in the record that the SSA petitioner, the State of Vermont, and other third parties submitted, together with information that OFA researchers gathered for purposes of verification and evaluation. Most notably, this FD considers the material submitted during the comment and response periods that followed the Department's issuance of the Proposed Finding (PF). The FD also considers the evidence, arguments, and conclusions discussed in the PF; therefore, this FD report should be read together with the PF.
After the publication of the FD notice, the petitioner or any interested party may file a request for reconsideration with the Interior Board of Indian Appeals (IBIA), under the procedures specified in section 83.11 of the regulations. The IBIA must receive this request no later than 90 days after the notice of the FD is published in the Federal Register. The FD will become effective as provided in the regulations 90 days from the publication unless the IBIA receives a request for reconsideration within that timeframe.
St. Francis/Sokoki Band of Abenakis of Vermont (Petitioner #68)
 Summary of the Proposed Finding
The SSA petitioner claims to have descended as a group mainly from a Western Abenaki Indian tribe, most specifically, the Missisquoi Indians. During the colonial period (approximately 16001800), the Missisquoi Indians lived in northwestern Vermont, near the present-day town of Swanton. The available evidence indicates that by 1800 the disruption caused by colonial wars and non-Indian settlement had forced almost all the Western Abenakis in northern New England (including Vermont) to relocate to the Saint Francis River area of Quebec, Canada, and become part of the St. Francis, or Odanak, village of Canadian Indians. The petitioner, however, contends that its ancestors remained behind in northwestern Vermont after 1800, or moved to Canada until it was "safe" to return. The petitioner also maintains that its ancestors lived "underground," hiding their Indian identity to avoid drawing the attention of their non-Indian neighbors, until the 1970's. The petitioner did not explain the details of this claimed process of living "underground." Some of the available documentation indicates that, over the course of the 19th century, some of the group's ancestors moved from various locations in Quebec, Canada, to the United States. However, the available evidence does not demonstrate that the petitioner or its claimed ancestors descended from the St. Francis Indians of Quebec, a Missisquoi Abenaki entity in Vermont, any other Western Abenaki group, or an Indian entity from New England or Canada. Instead, the PF concluded that the petitioner is a collection of individuals of claimed but undemonstrated Indian ancestry "with little or no social or historical connection with each other before the early 1970's" (Abenaki PF 2005, 44).

Administrative History of the Petition before the Proposed Finding
The SSA submitted a letter of intent on March 28, 1980, to petition for Federal acknowledgment as an Indian tribe. On October 22, 1982, the SSA submitted a documented petition to the Department. The Department conducted a formal technical assistance (TA) review of the petition, and on June 14, 1983, sent the first obvious deficiency (OD) letter to the petitioner. The petitioner responded to the first OD letter on May 23, 1986, with more documentation as discussed in the PF (Abenaki PF 2005, 4-5). The Department did not receive a certain "Addendum C" referenced by the petition, described as containing family histories, an oral history overview, and a pre-1800 historical work summary. On December 1, 1988, the Department informed the petitioner of its absence and asked the petitioner to provide it (Thompson 12/01/1988; Salerno 10/23/2001; Abenaki PF 2005, 5). As of the issuance of this FD, the Department still has not received a copy of this "Addendum C."
The petition narrative also made frequent references to an unpublished 1979 work entitled "Missisquoi Abenaki: Survival in Their Ancient Homeland," by John S. Moody, an individual with informed party status who was formerly a researcher for the petitioner. This manuscript, part of the petition record, made frequent references to primary and secondary sources, including a number of interviews, copies of which the petitioner did not submit to the Department for review, despite being requested to do so (Abenaki PF 2005, 5).
In December 1995 and January 1996, the group submitted a "Second Addendum" to its petition for Federal acknowledgment. On January 17, 1996, the Department placed the group on the
St. Francis/Sokoki Band of Abenakis of Vermont (Petitioner #68)
"Ready, Waiting for Active Consideration" list. On February 4, 2005, the Department placed the petition on "active consideration" and assigned a research team to evaluate it. On September 9, 2005, the Department notified the petitioner of technical issues regarding the governing body's certification of its membership list, governing document, and several other documents. The Department also stated that it was still "awaiting copies of the 1975 and 1983 membership lists."
On November 1, 2005, the Department received a response from the petitioner. In this response, the group's governing body provided a letter dated October 11, 2005, separately certifying the group's "2005b" membership list. The response included another letter from the group's governing body, dated October 11, 2005, certifying the group's recent governing document along with several other documents previously submitted to the Department that needed certification. These certification letters properly addressed the technical issues to which the Department alerted the petitioner in its September 9, 2005 letter. The Department analyzed these documents for the PF on the assumption that the petitioner was in the process of certifying them. This FD notes that the petitioner certified these documents.
In the submission that the Department received on November 1, 2005, the petitioner also enclosed copies of two additional membership lists: one list labeled as a 1975 list, and the other labeled as a 1983 list. The petitioner did not certify either of these lists as a submission. The Department received these documents too late to incorporate into the PF and instead considered them for the FD. 1.
The Department issued a proposed finding on November 9, 2005, which concluded that the SSA petitioner did not meet four of the seven mandatory criteria criteria 83.7 (a), (b), (c), and (e)— and therefore was not an Indian tribe within the meaning of Federal law. (See the PF for a detailed administrative history up to November 2005.)

Administrative History of the Petition since the Proposed Finding
The Department published a notice of the PF in the Federal Register on November 17, 2005 (70 FR 69776). The Federal Register notice stated that its publication initiated "a 180-day comment period during which the petitioner, interested and informed parties, and the public may submit arguments and evidence to support or rebut the ... proposed finding," and that the petitioner would have a minimum of an additional 60 days to respond to any third-party comments.
1. The Department issued a notice on March 31, 2005, which provides guidance for how acknowledgment researchers should handle evidence. The notice, "Office of Federal Acknowledgment, Reports and Guidance Documents; Availability, etc." (61 FR 16513), states that "[u]nsolicited submissions received [more than 60 days after a petition is placed on active consideration] ... will be reviewed for the final determination and not for the proposed finding." The notice also states that the "[a]cknowledgment staff may request additional information from the petitioner ... prior to the proposed finding in order to clarify the arguments or evidence," but that the "proposed finding ... shall not be delayed to obtain this finding" (FR 16514). The Department received the 1975 and 1983 membership lists very late in the PF review process, only eight days prior to the issuance of the PF. In keeping with the intent of the directive, the Department did not delay the PF but instead chose to evaluate these two lists for the FD, as it would with unsolicited evidence.
St. Francis/Sokoki Band of Abenakis of Vermont (Petitioner #68)
The initial 180-day comment period closed on May 16, 2006. On May 15, 2006, the Department received a letter from the petitioner dated May 9, 2006. April St. Francis-Merrill, the leader of the SSA petitioner, and six additional council members, signed this letter requesting that the Assistant Secretary extend the comment period on the PF by an additional 180 days because a "shortage of staff' and "budgetary cutbacks" made it difficult for the petitioner to "compile the appropriate response." The letter also included four brief essays by Frederick M. Wiseman that constituted a partial response to the PF.
Pursuant to 25 CFR 83. 10(i), the Department has the discretion to extend the comment period upon finding of good cause. On June 2, 2006, the Department provided the SSA petitioner a partial extension to the comment period of 90 days. The Department explained that it granted extensions when merited by "good cause," including, in this case, some explanation for why the petitioner did not complete the research and analyses in the required time, along with the specifics of future work. The Department noted that a 2001 report by the General Accountability Office "identified the need to instill a sense of urgency in the Department's acknowledgment process." In balancing these considerations with the request of the petitioner, the Department elected to reopen and extend the comment period by 90 days. However, the Department informed the petitioner that it could submit future requests for an additional extension, postmarked no later than July 31, 2006, and that it should include a description of a future work plan, together with a discussion of why that work remained uncompleted. If the Department did not receive such a request, the comment period would expire on August 14, 2006.
On May 15, 2006, the same day the Department received the letter from the petitioner requesting an extension of the comment period, the Department also received a mailing from John Moody, from Sharon, Vermont. The envelope, postmarked May 10, 2006, contained two letters. In the first letter, dated April 20, 2006, Moody requested interested party status in the 25 CFR Part 83 proceedings as they pertained to the SSA petitioner. The second letter, dated May 5, 2006, was entitled "Initial Response to Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Federal Acknowledgment Proposed Finding and Summary under the Criteria for the Proposed Finding on the St. Francis / Sokoki Band of Abenakis of Vermont, November 9, 2005." The letter was nine pages in length and included an additional nine-page appendix. This letter commented on the PF and requested an indefinite extension of the comment period.
On June 2, 2006, the Department responded to the two letters from Moody. The Department denied him interested party status because he did not qualify as an interested party as defined in 25 CFR 83.1 2. Moody requested interested party status in part to obtain copies of the documents upon which the Department based its decision for the PF. However, the Department emphasized he could obtain the same documents via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request even without interested party status. Furthermore, the Department notified him of the 90-day
2. According to the definition in 25 CFR 83.1, an "interested party means any person, organization or other entity who can establish a legal, factual or property interest in an acknowledgment determination and who requests an opportunity to submit comments or evidence or to be kept informed of general actions regarding a specific petitioner. 'Interested party' includes the governor and attorney general of the state in which a petitioner is located, and may include, but is not limited to, local governmental units, and any recognized Indian tribes and unrecognized Indian groups that might be affected by an acknowledgment determination." Moody's past research did not establish a factual interest within the meaning of the regulations.
St. Francis/Sokoki Band of Abenakis of Vermont (Petitioner #68)
extension to the comment period, provided him a preliminary inventory of the SSA petition to assist him with a FOIA request, and confirmed the receipt of his initial comments on the proposed finding. 3.
On May 17, 2006, the Department received a letter, dated May 9, 2006, and postmarked May 10, 2006, from Lester M. Lampman and several individuals associated with the petitioning group. 4. The letter requested an extension of the comment period and contained comments on the PF. Attached to the letter were a photograph, a photocopy of a photograph, and 11 pages of documents to supplement their comments. The letter also alluded to "oral history" tapes in possession of the family, but the letter did not provide copies of the tapes or transcripts of them. Furthermore, the letter mentions documentation that was "left in files at the tribal office." The Department responded to this letter on June 2, 2006, notifying the senders of the 90-day extension to the comment period and confirming the receipt of their initial comments on the proposed finding. Despite being notified of the additional 90-day extension to the comment period, neither Lester M. Lampman nor the cosignatories of the letter submitted copies of the "oral history" tapes allegedly in possession of the Lampman family, transcripts of the tapes, or copies ofthe documents that allegedly were "left in files at the tribal office."
On August 22, 2006, the Department received a letter, dated August 11, 2006, and postmarked August 14, 2006, from the petitioner. This letter contained comments from the petitioner, consisting of a set of photocopied treaty documents, four Internet essays entitled "Abenaki History," a DVD video presentation entitled "Against the Darkness," and a collection of meeting minutes from the 1970's, 1980's, and 1990's. There was no accompanying narrative explaining how the materials addressed the criteria. The letter also requested an additional extension of the comment period, indicating that staff shortages were hindering progress. The petitioner's letter
3. The Department, on three subsequent occasions, addressed Moody's requests to have interested party status and to extend the comment period. On August 14, 2006, the Department received a fax from Moody requesting interested party status and an extension of the comment period. The Department responded on August 31, 2006, stating in further detail that he was ineligible for interested party status, but that his ineligibility had not prevented him from commenting as an informed party on the PF during the original 180-day comment period or the additional 90-day comment period extension. The Department informed him that the comment periods had closed and that he could make requests for documents under the Freedom of Information Act. On September 13, 2006, the Department received a letter from the Honorable Bernard Sanders, Congressman from Vermont. Moody had asked Congressman Sanders to persuade the Department to extend the comment period and grant him interested party status. On October 16, 2006, the Department responded to Congressman Sanders, and explained its position on the matter. On December 22, 2006, the Department received a letter from the Honorable Patrick Leahy, Senator from Vermont, to whom Moody had appealed for assistance. On January 18, 2007, the Department responded and further explained how Moody did not qualify as an interested party.

4. The letter was from Lester M. Lampman; Mark Wayne Rollo, Sr., Louise Lampman Larivee; Larry LaPan, Sr., Colleen Brow Plante, and Lisa Lampman Rollo. Their letter begins with the assertion, "We are members of the St. Francis/Sokoki Band of the Abenaki Nation of Vermont." However, only one of these individuals appears on the petitioner's August 2005 "Al" list, the list that the petitioner's governing body formally certified and the Department used to conduct its evaluation. The rest of these members appear on the petitioner's "A2" list. In a letter the Department received on August 23, 2005, the petitioner defined the "A1" group as members with complete membership files. According to the petitioner, "A1" members are the only members eligible to vote in the group's elections (ATC Minutes 08/12/1997, 2). The "A2" individuals are described as "Abenaki," but cannot vote until they complete their files as requested" (St. Francis-Merrill to AS-IA 2005, 1). For more information on the "A1" and "A2" lists, see footnote 21 on p. 43 of this FD and the Abenaki PF 2005, pp. 88-89, 140-146.
St. Francis/Sokoki Band of Abenakis of Vermont (Petitioner #68)
was not postmarked on or before July 31, 2006, as requested by the Department's June 2, 2006, letter, nor did it include a detailed work plan as the Department requested.
The Department responded to the petitioner on August 28, 2006, indicating that the petitioner had not filed its latest extension in a timely fashion and had not submitted a detailed work plan. However, the Department indicated that it would consider reopening the comment period if the petitioner submitted, as soon as possible, a "more thorough justification and description of the work you need to complete." Pending the receipt of such a request, the Department noted, the 60-day response period would close on October 13, 2006. During this response period, the petitioner could respond to comments on the PF made during the original and extended comment periods.
On October 13, 2006, the response period closed, without the Department having received either a response from the petitioner or a detailed request to reopen the comment period. During both the original comment period and the extended comment period, the petitioner did not submit critical materials that the PF requested. In particular, the petitioner did not submit any of the materials that would help the petitioner establish descent from a historical Indian tribe. Overall, given the petition's deficiencies in meeting criteria 83.7(a), (b), (c), and (e), together with the explicit requests in the PF, the petitioner's comments were few in number and did not substantively address the PF.
On November 6, 2006, the Department sent a letter to the petitioner, interested parties, and informed parties, stating that the comment and response periods had closed. The letter also stated that, in accordance with 25 CFR 83. 10(k), the Department would consult with the petitioner and interested parties to establish an equitable timeframe for considering all comments and responses in preparation of its final determination. As part of this consultation, the letter stated that the Department anticipated beginning the final determination for the petitioner in January 2007.
On February 27, 2007, the Department telephoned the petitioner's contact person of record. The Department discussed with her a schedule for completing the FD. This schedule would begin consideration of the comments and responses on March 1, 2007, and tentatively produce the FD on June 15, 2007. The Department then faxed a letter describing this schedule to the petitioner, and mailed copies of that letter to the petitioner, interested parties, and informed parties.
St. Francis/Sokoki Band of Abenakis of Vermont (Petitioner #68)
The following summary under the criteria for the FD is the Department's evaluation of all the evidence in the administrative record to date. This FD [Final Decision] concludes that the available evidence is insufficient to satisfy four of the seven mandatory criteria: criteria 83.7(a), (b), (c), and (e). The PF concluded, based on the available evidence, that the petitioner did not meet these same four criteria. Therefore, this FD affirms the PF's conclusions, and the Department finds that the St. Francis/Sokoki Band of Abenakis of Vermont is not an Indian tribe within the meaning of Federal law.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

State of VT's Response to Petition for Federal Acknowledgment of the St. Francis/Sokoki Band of the Abenaki Nation of Vermont: Pages 230 to 244:


Federal Census Records and Community
One of the criteria that petitioners must meet for federal acknowledgment focuses on community. The federal regulations, 25 C.F.R. 83.7 (b), require that

A predominant portion of the petitioning group comprises a distinct community and has existed as a community from historical times to the present.

This is a very difficult criterion to examine for the petitioner, because there appears to be no historical times from which to begin. However, assuming the historical times are the late 1700's, the only time there appears to be a community of Abenaki Indians in Vermont is prior to 1765, when Robertson's lease was signed. Instead of tracing the descendants of members of that community down to the present, the petition attempts to show a community by listing all of the people who may have surnames similar to today's members. The petition lists both people who have married in to the group, who are non-Indian, as well as those who may have Indian ancestry. This confuses the issue. In various forms of the petition submitted at different times, census records are used to show the appearance of persons from whom the modern-day community may descend.
In examining the federal censuses for all available years, and especially the 19th century, I find the ancestry of today's petitioner looking much like the rest of the communities that were predominantly French Canadian. Many had the same occupations, such as farm laborer, day laborer; many could not read or write English.
Their uniqueness from the other communities appears to be that they or their parents were born in Canada. They did not identify in the records as Indians, and were living intermixed with other French-Canadians, and many others. Although the petition attempts to give reasons for this phenomenon, the fact is there were other persons listed in Vermont as Indian when these censuses were taken. For instance, in 1880, in Grand Isle, Grand Isle, Vermont, William and Mary Bomsawin [sic] were listed as Indians. They are not ancestors of the modern-day community members. The ancestors of the modern-day community were consistently listed as white on Federal Census records.
The petition stresses that the ancestors of the modern-day community lived in the Back Bay section of Swanton. From the 1870 census records, I was able to determine that these people were scattered through Back Bay and Swanton. They were often as many as 5 or 15 houses away from each other. This entire area was populated by French Canadians. It was not a neighborhood uniquely populated by the petitioner's ancestors.
The several Federal censuses for communities in the 19th century show that the families are not only scattered about, but they do not appear to be interacting with one another. They were not distinct from their non-Indian neighbors. Few, if any, were identified as basket maker, broom maker, hunter, fisherman, etc., as found in other Indian tribes. Rather, their occupations were given as day laborers, masons, farmers or farm laborers. In the 1870 Federal Census, there were scant listings of anyone as basket maker. One found was that of Mary Francis, 23, who was living with Elizabeth Francis, 44, both born in Maine; Mary was listed as a basket maker. Another woman in the same household,

Eunice Francis, age 77, was also listed as a basket maker. She was born in Canada. (In the same household was a child, Lewis Francis, age 3, born in Vermont and Frank Ross, 22, basket maker, born in Canada.) None of these persons is claimed to be an ancestor of the modern-day petitioner.
In addition, the petitioner worked hard to present what may look like interacting communities of people, listing the numbers and surnames shown on many censuses. These appear in the many appendices submitted with the Addendum to the Petition in 1986. Researching many of those names in vital records, I discovered that the majority of the people listed were not ancestors of the present-day petitioner, nor even of documented Indian descent.

In recent findings, the BIA has said,

In this case, the DTO's [Duwamish Tribal Organization's] interpretation of historical events pertaining to its ancestors is not accurate or complete, even when the circumstances of contact are taken into consideration. For example, [petitioner's expert] does not give specific descriptions ofeach ofthe petitioner's isolated family enclaves which the writer says were widely distributed in the Puget Sound region. The PF [Proposed Finding] found that many Duwamish maintained contact with one another or those who moved to reservations, despite the impact of Euro-American settlement. However, these Duwamish were not the petitioner's ancestors. The petitioner's ancestors were not in contact with the Duwamish tribe.

(Final Determination for the Duwamish Tribal Organization, p. 18)

[T]he primary problem is that the petitioner is a group that was formed in recent times, specifically during the last two decades of the 20th century.
(Webster/Dudley Band of Chaubaunagungamaug Nipmuck Indians Proposed Finding, p. 104)

Descent From a Historic Tribe
One of the tribal acknowledgment criteria applied by the Bureau of Indian Affairs is 25 C.F.R. 83.7(e)(1), which says

The petitioner's membership [must] consist[ ] of individuals who descend from a historical Indian tribe or from historical Indian tribes which combined and functioned as a single autonomous political entity.

The problematic wording of criterion 83.7(e)(1), "who descend from a historical Indian tribe," may imply that any historical Indian Tribe will do. However, the last portion of the criterion, "which combined and functioned as a single autonomous political entity," clearly shows that the tribe must have functioned as a political entity. This means the group must have behaved as a political entity throughout time, since first contact. Though the petitioner may be able to show that its members descend from people considered Indians, the political entity was nonexistent. If there was a historical tribe of Abenaki, it was in Canada by the time of the formation of the United States.
The tribal acknowledgment process requires an examination of just who the present-day members of the petitioner are. Though the petitioner has submitted many community surveys, census surveys, etc., those materials include many persons who are not listed as ancestors on the Family Descendancy Charts submitted in 1995. Perhaps the petitioner was attempting to make a more all-inclusive list of Indians, but what they compiled was a more all-inclusive list of French Canadians and their non-
Indian spouses' families. This method of attempting to produce a base roll of ancestry is flawed at best. The most effective way to identify ancestry is to look at the 18th-century lists that did identify Abenaki in or near Vermont, attempt to find those individuals on the earliest census records of Franklin and Grand Isle counties, and follow them through the more recent census returns. In attempting to research in this manner, tracing such individuals did not lead to the petitioner's members.
In an effort to identify individuals and spouses who may be Indian, I have searched through church, vital and war records. Many of the church records were located in Canada, and are written in French. Other names submitted on the petitioner's Petition Addendum Appendices were searched in the Vermont vital records and federal census records. These were examined and most of the individuals were found to be non-Indian. None was listed as Indian. Rather, many of them were born in Canada and listed as white in the vital records. No trend of immigration was noted.
From all of the records, it appears that descent from an Abenaki tribal entity is not only non-existent, but impossible to document. That some families may have Indian ancestry is not in question; it is the tribal ancestry that is lacking.
In the 1900 and 1910 federal censuses, when self-identification was recommended to census enumerators, giving special attention to Indians and Indian tribes, the compilation of the total number of Indians for the entire State of Vermont listed 5 Indians in 1900, and 26 in 1910. In Franklin County, in 1900, not a single Indian was listed. In 1910, 5 were listed, but they were from one of the New York tribes and none of them were the ancestors of the
modern community of Abenaki. These Franklin county census records are significant,
because Franklin County was the residence of the majority of the ancestors of the modern community. The census of 1920 showed no Indians in residence in Franklin County as well. (U.S. Bureau of the Census, Fourteenth Census of the United States taken in the Year 1920, vol. III, Population, (1922), p. 1049 (listing figures for 1900, 1910, and 1920)).
Some familial connections were extracted from information of burials in the St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery in Swanton. Ledoux, Tom, and family, "St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery, Swanton, Vt.," Swanton Historical Society, August 1993. There does not appear to be a distinct burial pattern, but the information about the persons buried was helpful to identify maiden names and familial connections. The graves of the ancestry of the petitioner appear to be scattered throughout the cemetery, and no specific "Indian Burials" were noted. Just as with the census information regarding residence and occupation patterns, nothing in the burial records suggested that the petitioner's ancestors were any different from the rest of the French Canadians in Swanton.

Did the Eugenics Survey Identify the Petitioner's Indianness?
The Eugenics Survey of Vermont in the 20th-century included some of the ancestry of today's petitioner. It has been given a great deal of weight in the public statements of the petitioner as a reason for lack of evidence necessary for federal acknowledgment as an Indian tribe. Because the Eugenics Survey has been misinterpreted and misused by the petitioner, I comment on it here.
The Eugenics Survey (hereafter called the Survey) in Vermont was one of many eugenic programs of the 1920's and 1930's in the United States, especially on the East Coast. Established in 1925 in Vermont, the Survey was organized and directed by Henry F. Perkins, Chairman of the University of Vermont Zoology
Department. In 1927 the Survey was expanded to address all factors affecting rural life. It became part of the Vermont Commission on Country Life. The Survey ended its activities in 1936. (Gallagher, Nancy, summary of Eugenics Survey of Vermont, Vermont Public Records website: www.bgs.state.vt.us/gsc/pubrec/referen/eugenics.htm).
According to a paper read by Perkins and reprinted in The American Eugenics Society, Inc.'s publication Eugenics in 1930, the aim of the Survey was "to secure usable data upon the hereditary aspects of what we have called the Human Factor." He went on to describe the ethnicity of Vermont, stating that "[t]he largest single foreign element is French-Canadian." (Perkins, Henry F., "Hereditary Factors in Rural Communities," Eugenics, vol. III, no. 8, August 1930. Offprint in Vermont Historical Society pamphlet collection, Montpelier, Vt ). He explained that some fifty-four families were worked up, some including 5 to 7 generations per family. I examined those family charts and quote from some of them in this paper.
While it is true that the Survey included some of the ancestry of today's petitioner, I do not find that they survey was directed toward Indians. I have researched the Survey in depth, and found that the ancestry of the petitioner was not targeted as Indian, but perhaps as French Canadian. Some of these French Canadians mentioned their Indian ancestry, but that was not the focus of the Survey.
In looking at communities from which to study the inhabitants, the eugenics program looked at the community of Grand Isle and reported that:

[There are] Two distinct classes. Quite old settlers (Democrats) and the French who have come in from Canada (Catholics). The French Canadians
farm and are gradually buying farms of their own. They do not mix with the others. The former class of people are well read and intelligent. They are said to buy more magazines than most other towns. They are not all college graduates but seem to be quite well educated. They do not allow the French-Canadians to mix with them, although of course, the children of both classes go to school together. The French-Canadians take an active part in politics and have social organizations of their own. They have been in Grand Isle a long time. French Village is part of the town, where some French-Canadians have settled. Few Catholics go to high school and they are not as educated as the other class. One of the Catholic organizations is the Woodmen's Club.

(Eugenics Survey Papers, "Towns Suggested for Study, Grand Isle," p. 1)
Though some of the persons in Grand Isle that were French-Canadian may have had Indian ancestry, it is clear that they were not targeted as Indians, nor identified as Abenaki.
She says that Old Antione had Indian blood and had something to do with the Kickapoo. (Agent H.E.A. thinks that the above statement is probably rather doubtful except for the fact that Old Antione did have Indian blood and probably was related to some of the inhabitants of an Indian reservation in southeastern Canada.)
(Eugenics Survey Papers, "Phillips General History")
She came from an Indian Reservation Caughnewaga, sixteen miles from Montreal.
(Eugenics Survey Papers, "Phillips General History, Delia Bone, Generation II")
Interestingly, one of the writers on the Survey team used the term of "tribe" when discussing the above-mentioned families, but she used the term in the context of a family.
Peter Phillips and all his tribe were constantly traveling. They traveled all over northern and eastern Vermont, the Vermont border of New York State, the Vermont border of New Hampshire, and went as far as Belfast, Maine.
For a great many years and probably until his first wife Delia Bone died, the headquarters of the tribe was South Burlington. Peter's children call that part of the country "The Plains. " Here the tribe camped down in winter and devoted themselves to making baskets and collecting horses. In early spring as soon as they could travel they started out selling baskets. When their baskets were sold they started to trade horses.
After Delia died, on one of their trips they camped for a while in Danville and Peacham. While there they found "Old Jake" Way (whose mother was Sarah Jane nee: Woodward, daughter of Darius Woodward and Nancy Taylor) and his daughter living in Paradise Alley in Peacham, near West Danville. The Phillipses joined forces with the Ways in Paradise Alley and made their rendez-vous [sic] for some time, when they were in the eastern part of Vermont.
(Eugenics Survey Papers, "Phillips General History, Generation II, Delia Bone")

Though the term, "tribe" was used in that passage, nowhere in the entire papers of the Survey were the people ever identified as belonging to an Abenaki Tribe. Indeed the term "Abenaki" was never used, only "Indian," and that very sparingly.
Years later, after some of the claimed Abenaki descendants began their campaign for recognition as Indians, writers began writing about the Eugenics movement as including those of Abenaki descent. This story caught the attention of the media and received a great deal of coverage.

In 1991, Kevin Dann wrote that the Survey's purpose was "to gather information, as full and accurate as possible, that can be used for the social betterment in Vermont." (Dann, Kevin, "From Degeneration to Regeneration: The Eugenics Survey of Vermont, 1925-1936," 59 Vermont History 5, 8 (1991)). In the gathering,

[no] people represented a mobile, uncontrolled social group in Vermont better than the first two subjects of the Eugenics Survey investigations - the "gypsy" and "pirate" families. Principally of Abenaki and French - Canadian
ancestry, the "gypsies" moved freely about a wide part of the state, almost entirely outside mainstream economy and society.

(Kevin Dann, p. 14)

I found no evidence that these families were Abenaki. He added,

That the program of the Eugenics Survey was still largely a racist hereditarian endeavor was betrayed by the first section of the Third Annual Report, which was a list of English corruptions ofFrench names. Such corruptions, especially those whose spelling changed through successive generations, "might throw one offthe track for a long time. " Seemingly an allusion to the difficulty that the Eugenics Survey fieldworkers had with French names in their genealogical detective work, the publication of the list, accompanied by the statements that the Eugenics Survey had a cross index of ninety such names, was clearly intended to alert readers to the ethnic background of third and fourth generation Vermonters of French-Canadian descent whose ethnicity might not be apparent by their surnames. Indeed one of the names in the list was that of the family upon whom the Rector narrative was based. A strong current of anti-French-Canadian bigotry runs through the work of the Eugenics Survey.
(Kevin Dann, p. 15)

The Eugenics Survey of Vermont was disbanded in 1936, yet it smoldered on during WWII when a paper on mental deficiency was written. Statistics had been released following WWI that showed,

Vermont...had the highest number of rejections except Rhode Island of any state in the Union for nervous and mental diseases, mental deficiency, epilepsy, psychoses, neuroses...When returns from the induction centers in the present war gave us no better reports we became a bit panicky.

(Ainsworth, Lillian M., "Vermont Studies in Mental Disorders,"
[1944], typescript, Vermont Historical Society, MS/613.94/Ai66.)
The author continues by praising the Survey and the 1941 law setting up a Board for Control of Mentally Defective Persons. Again, identification, registration, segregation, education and supervision of mentally defective persons were codified in law. If the same families were targeted as were in the Survey, no wonder the families felt more anxiety than did those of other Vermonters. Clearly, French-Canadians were targeted; some of the ancestors of the petitioner were French-Canadians. Thus, family tradition may have blamed the Survey for causing Indians to hide their identity as well, regardless of whether they had any Indian identity to hide.
As time passed, the role of the Eugenics Survey took on more significance in writings about the Abenaki. Since the "emergence" of the Abenaki in the early 1970's, there were marked changes in the literature. In a history kit published by the Vermont Historical Society in 1998, an explanation was given for the absence of Abenaki history.

History books have long claimed that the Abenaki "disappeared" from Vermont. While some Abenaki did leave Vermont for Canada, many others remained. As the Abenaki began to speak French or English and adopted European dress, historians of the nineteenth century assumed that the Abenaki had vanished. The Abenaki families who remained in Vermont survived in a variety of ways. Some lived a nomadic life and were called "gypsies." Others remained on the outskirts of their communities and lived off the land as they had for centuries- hunting, fishing, and trapping.

From the 1920's through the 1940's the Eugenics Survey of Vermont sought to "improve " Vermont by seeking out "genetically inferior peoples" such as Indians, illiterates, thieves, the insane, paupers, alcoholics, those with harelips, etc. ... As a result of this program, Abenaki had to hide their
heritage even more. They were forced to deny their culture to their children and grandchildren ...

("Abenaki in Vermont," A History Kit for Students and their Teachers, p. 31)

It is interesting that the kit made up to teach Vermont's children about the Abenaki does not mention that for at least 100 years prior to the 1920's, the purported Abenaki in Vermont did not identify as Indian on any public documents. They do not self-identify as Indian in census records or military records. It is incorrect to blame the Eugenics Survey for the denial of their culture to the public, and certainly incorrect to blame it for the denial of their identity to their children and grandchildren. The Eugenics Survey of the 1920's has been used as a tool to try to explain why the Abenaki have no presence in the 200 years of history from the time of the American Revolution to the time of the Abenaki "emergence" in 1972.
As time went on, the flame of the Eugenics Survey ignited. In 1999, Nancy L.
Gallagher wrote a book about the Survey. When writing about it she said,

The "Gypsy family " of Vermont was one of the first and most extensively studied kinship networks in the survey. Harriett Abbott's genealogical work had traced the family line back five generations to an ancestor from Quebec of "mixed ancestry with apparently very strong doses of Indian and Negro. " His descendants, Perkins claimed, retained "their ancestor's roving or Gypsy tendency. ... What is startling about the Gypsy family is that, over a period of four months, Abbott had been able to triple the number of descendants and relatives of these families, bring their numbers to 436. ... They bore a resemblance to the "inferior class" of French Canadians that Rowland E. Robinson claimed had "infested the state" and then mysteriously disappeared, but they also seemed a lot like the Native American nomadic families that nineteenth-century Vermonters had also called Gypsies. ... The descendants of the French Canadians who settled in Vermont, after moving back and forth across the border for seasonal work, represented, in Robinson's analysis, an "insidious and continuous invasion" of remnants of a defeated enemy.
 (Gallagher, Nancy, Breeding Better Vermonters: The Eugenics Project in the Green Mountain State (1999), p.81)

Frederick M. Wiseman, in The Voice of the Dawn: An Autohistory of the Abenaki Nation, written in 2001, spoke of the Vermont Eugenics Survey, as follows:

Soon the lens of genocide was trained on the Gypsies, Pirates, and River Rats, as well as other ethnic groups. Employing the latest genealogical research and statistical record keeping techniques, the survey added new technologies to the list of ancient genocidal procedures used by New English authorities against the Abenakis. In addition, they provided social and police organizations with lists of families to "watch. " Unfortunately, the social gulf between elite Anglo culture and the village dwelling River Rats and Pirates was not so wide that they could entirely escape notice. Major Abenaki families at Missisquoi were especially at risk. The more "hidden" families and the Gypsies partially escaped unheeded - for a while. But then began ethnic conflict incidents as Gypsies and Pirates had their children taken from them. The theft of children and the hatred emanating from the burning cross and Ku Klux Klan rallies are still recalled by Abenaki and French Canadian elders in Barre, Vermont. Any family who still had thoughts about standing forth as Abenaki, due to the tourists' continued interest in our arts and culture quickly retired to obscurity as the tide of intolerance rose. We continually needed to be on our guard with the police, the tax man, and the school board, the eyes and ears of the survey.

(Wiseman, pp. 147-148)

Mr. Wiseman became a member of the Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi in 1987, and later became a citizen ofthe St. Francis - Sokoki band. (Wiseman, p.231)
In the papers of the Survey, clearly the Indians were NOT targeted, but French-Canadians were. The survey may have included some persons with Indian descent, and especially two families that intertwine with others of Indian descent. However, there is no documentation that these people were Abenaki. So how did the ALLEGED and RE-INVENTED Abenaki use the Eugenics Survey to their benefit?
1) By using such a disagreeable subject as ethnic cleansing to excuse their lack of documentation as a tribe.

2) By eliciting sympathy from Vermonters who were no doubt ashamed of their state's participation in the Survey. (This is an especially effective tool after WWII and Hitler's ethnic cleansing.)

3) By swaying public opinion towards allowing less documented facts and more


4) By influencing historians and others writing about them to include undocumented suppositions on the grounds that the Eugenics Survey had made real evidence scarce. Examples of this include:

a. Colin G. Calloway's The Abenaki in the Indians offorth America series. His information is mostly about the Maine Abenaki, but he generalizes it to apply equally to Vermont, as if one branch of Algonkians s equal to another. Generalizations are abundant.

b. Gordon Day's study of Odanak/St. Francis. It was quoted widely in the Abenaki Petition, but Day does not document the people in Vermont. He does mention that some have probably remained, but in his own journal, he notes that he went to Swanton, yet does not mention visiting with any Indians there. (Day, "Abenaki Journal," Dartmouth College, 1955).


As I examined the petition, and the genealogical and historical material, and compared it with my understanding of federally acknowledged Indian tribes, I came to the conclusion that this petitioner cannot satisfy the criteria for federal tribal acknowledgment. There is no continuity of community or political authority evident
in the petitioner's records. The genealogical materials related to petitioner's ancestors do not establish descent from an Abenaki tribal entity. The petitioner simply does not have the necessary Historical-Genealogical or Social characteristics of an Indian Tribe.


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