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TO THE HONORABLE SENATE
The Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs to which was referred Senate Bill No. 222 entitled “An act relating to recognition of Abenaki bands and groups as tribes” respectfully reports that it has considered the same and recommends that the bill be amended by striking all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:
Sec. 1. FINDINGS
The general assembly finds the following:
(1) State recognition of Vermont’s tribes is necessary in order for the Indian Arts and Crafts Board (IACB) of the Bureau of Indian Affairs to permit them to market their arts and crafts as authentic Indian products and to provide tribal members access to state, federal, and private aid for cultural, artistic, and educational endeavors.
(2) In May 2006, the general assembly passed S.117, Act No. 125, in an effort to recognize the Abenaki people and created a Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs. The act failed to comport with the recognition requirements of the IACB, and therefore prevented Vermont Native Americans
from marketing their arts and crafts as authentic Indian works.
(3) Fifteen other states have recognized their resident Native people as American Indian Tribes, without any of those tribes previously or subsequently acquiring federal recognition.
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(4) According to a public affairs specialist from the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) state recognition of Indian tribes plays a very small role in regard to federal recognition. The only exception is when a state recognized a tribe well before 1900.
(5) Recognition of a tribe by a state at this time will play no significant role in any subsequent effort to gain federal tribal recognition.
Sec. 2. 1 V.S.A. & 852 is amended to read:
& 852. VERMONT COMMISSION ON NATIVE AMERICAN AFFAIRS
(a) In order to recognize the historic and cultural contributions of Native Americans to Vermont, to protect and strengthen their heritage, and to address their needs in state policy, programs, and actions, there is hereby established the Vermont commission on Native American affairs (the “commission”).
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(1) Be composed of the following members, who shall serve for no more than two consecutive three-year terms:
(A) Three members appointed by the Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi, St. Francis Sokoki Band, which is composed of the three Missisquoi Bands.
(B) One member appointed by the Koasek Traditional Band of the Koas Abenaki Nation.
(C) One member appointed by the Nulhegan Band of the Abenaki Nation.
(D) One member appointed by the ELNU Abenaki Tribe of the Koasek.
(E) One member appointed by any additional Abenaki tribe following recognition by the general assembly.
(F) Two or three at-large members to assure an odd number of members on the commission, to be appointed by the other commission members.
(2) Elect a chair to serve for two years.
(c) The commission
(1) Assist Native American tribes recognized by the state to:
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(A) Develop and market Vermont Native American fine and performing arts, craftwork, and cultural events in and outside Vermont.
(B) Secure social services, education, employment opportunities, health care, housing, and census information.
(2) Assist bands and groups of Native Americans who are unrecognized to organize and develop a representative tribal organization in or order to petition for legal tribal recognition by the state.
(3) Review petitions for tribal recognition, and, if satisfied that petitioners have complied with recognition criteria, file with the general.......
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......assembly a copy of the petition together with a recommendation to recognize the band or group as a recognized tribe. The so called "Alliance" of the Alleged and Re-Invented Abenaki "groups" (which are Incorporations UNDER State of Vermont Law) would gain INSTANT Shake and Bake Recognition from the State through this Bill S.222 Amendment, whereas EVERYONE ELSE will have to go through a completely DIFFERENT Recognition process, which would be influenced by these 4 groups, and the Vermont general assembly. "Recommendation" does not mean any other petitioning group would gain official Vermont State Recognition.
(4) Develop policies and programs to benefit Vermont’s Native American population.
(d) The commission shall meet at least three times a year and at any other times at the request of the chair. The division of historic preservation of the agency of commerce and community development shall provide administrative support to the commission.
(e) The commission may seek and receive funding from state, federal, and other sources to assist with its work.
Sec. 3. 1 V.S.A. & 853 is amended to read:
& 853 RECOGNITION OF ABENAKI PEOPLE
(a) The state of Vermont recognizes all Native American people who reside in Vermont as a minority population.
(b) For the purposes of recognition, a Vermont Native American tribe must demonstrate that it has all of the following:
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(1) A physical and legal residence in Vermont.
(2) An organized tribal membership roll along with specific criteria that were used to determine membership, include evidence of kinship among tribal members.
(3) Documented traditions, customs, and legends that signify Native American heritage.
the meaning of signify: [signi,fai] 1. to indicate, to suggest, to imply or portend.
(4) A tribal council (Incorporation), a constitution (By-Laws), and a chief (President).
(5) Been and continues to be recognized by other Native American communities in Vermont as a Vermont Native American band or group. One Incorporation created out of another, or one Incorporation "recognizing" another Incorporation, is not one Native American community in Vermont recognizing another Native American community in Vermont.
(6) Been known by state, county, or municipal officials, as a functioning Native American band or group in Vermont. Obviously, these Vermont Incorporations are reinventing themselves into "Abenaki" communities have interacted with state, county, or municipal officials, alleging that they function as Native American bands or groups in Vermont. Yet, ONLY since 1974-1976 onward...
(7) Not been recognized as a tribe in any other state, province, or nation.
(8) An enduring community presence within the boundaries of Vermont that is documented by archaeology, ethnography, physical anthropology, history, genealogy, folklore, or any other applicable scholarly research and data.
(c) A band or group of Native Americans not identified in subsection (e) of this section may file a petition for recognition with the commission. If after thorough review of the petition and evidence supporting recognition, the commission determines that the petitioning group has complied with the......
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......criteria under subsection (b) of this section, the commission shall recommend to the general assembly that the state recognize the tribe. Yet, these 4 alleged and reinvented "Abenaki" groups gain Instant Shake & Bake Official State Recognition, if this Bill S.222 is passed. How is the Vermont Public or anyone else assured that equal thorough review of these 4 groups of this "Alliance" have met the same standard and complied with the criteria of subsection (b) of this section. These 4 groups gain Instant Official State Recognition as "Tribes" and or "Bands" what, because "they were the first to the dinner table", and everyone else has to get a "recommendation"?!
(d) After a group or band is recognized by the general assembly as a Native American tribe, the band or group may refer to itself as a recognized tribe, and the tribe may appoint a member of that tribe to the Vermont commission on Native American affairs.
(e) Having complied with the criteria in subsection (b) of this section, the following groups or bands are recognized as Native American tribes by the state of Vermont: Where is the evidence that these (4) groups calling themselves "The Abenaki Alliance" complied with the criteria in subsection (b) of this section? Why are they not equally having to go the same thorough review and having to SHOW and PROVIDE the genealogical-historical-and social history i.e. documentary evidence of their claims and proclamations AT THE SAME TIME AS ALL OTHER GROUPS, that would have to go through a DIFFERENT process of obtaining State Recognition than these (4) groups?!
(1) The Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi, St. Francis Sokoki Band, composed of the former Missisquoi, St. Francis and Sokoki Bands. April Ann (nee: St. Francis) Rushlow-Merrill
(2) The Koasek Traditional Band of the Koas Abenaki Nation. Nancy Lee (nee: Millette) Doucet
(3) The Nulhegan Band of the Abenaki Nation, historically known as The Northern Coosuk/ Memphremagog/ Old Phillip’s Band. Luke Andrew Willard
(4) The ELNU Abenaki Tribe of the Koasek. Roger "Longtoe Sheehan
(f) Native American tribes recognized by the state of Vermont may freely practice their traditional culture, lifeways, arts, language, and religion without interference, provided there is no violation of law. Oh, does this mean that we as Abenaki People and descendants thereof can subsist within Vermont upon our usual and accustomed hunting and fising places, without fear of intimidation, harrassment, and or arrest from State or Federal authorities? For 300 + years, the Abenakis have freely conducted their traditional culture, lifeways, arts, language, and religion without interference, WITHOUT ANY PERMISSION from ANYONE. WHY would we need Vermont permission at this time or at any other time?!
(g) All documents related to recognition of any Vermont Native American tribe shall be maintained by the division of historic preservation and made available to the public.
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(h) This chapter shall not be construed to recognize, create, extend, or form the basis of any right or claim to land or real estate in Vermont for the Abenaki people or any Abenaki individual and shall be construed to confer only those rights specifically described in this chapter. Abenaki tribes and other Vermont Native American tribes and individual members of those tribes are subject to the laws of the state. These (4) "groups" that have formed this so-called "Vermont Abenaki Alliance" since 2006 or thereafter, are ALREADY (as a group or as individuals) subject to the laws of the state of Vermont. All of these groups incorporated UNDER THE LAWS OF VERMONT ~AFTER~ 1975 and 2000. Anyone that incorporates UNDER the LAWS of the State, are NOT SOVEREIGN.
Sec. 4. EFFECTIVE DATE
This act shall take effect on passage.
FOR THE COMMITTEE
FURTHER RESPONSE to S.124 and S.222:
The ONLY reason some particular Vermont politicians are willing to interact and officially recognize these (4) four "groups" of alleged and re-invented "Abenaki" "groups" now, is because of "political correctness," "they don't want to acknowledge or relate to the legitimately documented Abenaki descendants living within the State of Vermont (and or New Hampshire), and it is all about the monetary gain of State or Federal dollars, through "grants" and so forth. Genealogically-speaking has anyone legitimately reviewed, evaluated, and concluded the merits of any of these groups ancestral connections, connecting them factually to the Abenakis?
This S.124 and S.222 (and HB 1610 over here in New Hampshire) will allow the re-writing of Abenaki History within Vermont by these FAKES, FRAUDS, and WANNABE'S. I know it. They know it. We all know it.
Just ask these two questions for yourself:
1. Where were these alleged and reinvented "Abenakis" BEFORE their incorporating within the State, and under State law?
2. Why has not the Odanak Abenaki descendants living within Vermont and or New Hampshire been mentioned and a part of the "recognition process" within these bills. HB 1610 in N.H., and in Vermont S.124 and S.222?
If the readers of this blog are still naive or ignorant, the documents will be shown and provided to prove my words to be true.
If it ONLY takes "a group" of alleged Native Americans to gain State Recognition, by merely becoming "an incorporate" under State Law to become a "Tribe" or "Band" and be shielded from prosecution by IACB (Indian Arts and Crafts Board), etc., then this is destructive to legitimately documented Native People's Sovereignty and Identity.