Thursday, April 29, 2010
Louise May (nee: Lampman) Larivee E-Mail Communications w. Douglas Lloyd Buchholz in March through to April 2010:
I was not ASKING the Governor of Vermont, nor was I asking the office of the Attorney General of Vermont either.
I was ASKING Louise May (nee: Lampman) Larivee
All I got was...Nothing but...
3. Unsubstantiated "Stories"
and...if she or they were allegedly and supposedly "tricked" by Jeffrey Benay into going to this event led by inherited "Chief-For-Life" April St. Francis-Merrill's "protest of whining, bitching and complaining" and so on...then why didn't Louise Lampman-Larivee (and her family members) simply not just turn around and leave the premises, once they got there? Why didn't they object vocally (or in the media) to "appearing" as if they were in support of the St. Francis family, if alleged...as Louise Lampman-Larivee has stated "that the Lampman's were and are NOT in support of April St. Francis-Merrill at all?"
Again, all one needs to do is "review all of the historical records" and the answer's are readily available.
Yet again, there are a lot of questions , and not enough answers...
Talk is cheap.
Committee on Economic Development:
Senator Vincent Illuzzi, Senator Hinda Miller, Senator Carris, Senator Condos, and Senator Racine
Senator Illuzzi and Committe Members:
I am appalled by what is going on within the Native communities. I have received many phone calls and e-mails from all over in regards with all the stuff that is being said on how this amendment is affecting everyone's lives.
In 2005 I was sent a letter from the Native American Federal arts and crafts board informing us that unless there was state recognition as a tribe we could not sell our crafts. In turn, my brother Lester Lampman had set up an appointment with Suzanne Young about this topic.
I, my brothe Lester Lampman, Larry Lapan Sr. and Connie Brow attended this meeting which was held in Montpelier. We are unsure if any thing was said to any one else about this meeting. I ask myself why didn't Jeff Benay ex-Chair of the Governor's Commission for Native American affairs which I sat on for two terms with him...why didn't he ask me to speak. I had seen him on a regular basis, for our offices were just down the hall from each other. He was and is aware of the different fractions within the Abenaki Nation. He has known about stuff for many years.
In January of 2006 I testified for State Recognition, being asked by Senator Carolyn Branagan.
When I finished my testimony that went for 45 minutes, if not longer, I was commented on about how professional I was and one had commented on wanting to know why I was not first to testify, as it would have answered a lot of questions about who these other bands were.
When the New Commission was set up, me and my brother Lester did approach the commission with this letter about the arts and crafts. Chairman Mark Mitchell and Mrs. Brink along with Mrs. Dow were concerned enough to start conversations going. My family being one of the oldest family bands allegedly from Missisquoi tribe, has been in contact with this commission and we have given input to the effects of this amendment. Most of my family are working people who cannot take time away from their jobs to testify at hearings.
I guess one question would be...has anyone from the committee ever listened to my testimony (more likely the question ought to be...has ANYONE from the April 2010 Committee or ANYONE ELSE ever actually obtained actual pre-1970's documentary and genealogically clear and convincing evidence that the Lampman's...or anyone from Swanton, VT...is actually Abenaki, or descended from the HISTORICAL Missisquoi community, say prior to 1820? I know I have not seen one shred of evidence from Louise Lampman at all to date, as to the merits/ foundation, of her words/ testimony...I have politely and respectfully inquiried and she made excuses and declined my request...and no, this public statement of inquiry is not TABOO, nor disrespectful to her or anyone else...TALK is cheap....Abenakis do not have "secret societies" or operate as if such People's were or are "cults"!). Considering this amendment is to rectify a bill.
I would like to correct some information that Mr. Frederick M. Wiseman has been passing around, especially when it concerns my reputation and family. For his information, I represent my family band, which there are 250. This would be siblings, their children and first cousins, and second cousins. This does not include a few out there that I did not add in to this.
If he had such a connection within the larger Abenaki community of Franklin County he would know of this, and he does not mention the LaPan family band or the others. Family bands which it has always been the way of the head of a family spokesperson for-the-family, but the one who is willing and able to speak. Why didn't he contact all of the heads of these family bands?
I find it insulting that he claims himself to be the tribal historian of the alleged and reinvented Abenaki people, when he does not know who the people are. What knowledge could he possibly hold if he has never spoken to me or any member of my family? Does he not realize that I have been involved in tribal affairs (actually that is INCORPORATE affairs) for over thirty years, long before he, or Jeff Benay were ever in the picture? I remember when Jane Beck did the interviews with my father (Why weren't these tapes/ transcripts submitted and used in the Petition of the St. Francis-Sokoki to the Bureau of Indian Affairs? According the BIA such alleged tapes or transcripts were NEVER submitted! Do these tapes even exist?) . We still have the transcribed copies along with many tapes of my grandmother who said on the tape that she was born in a cave, not the Fortin one, just to correct a rumor going around. These interviews were done before the first time the State gave Recognition (November 1976 by VT Gov. Thomas Salmon) only to have it subsequently taken away (early 1977 by VT Gov. Richard Snelling) for lack of genealogical merit and foundation, then it was just the St. Francis / Sokoki bands.
I also feel it is important to remember that the St. Francis band are those that lived on the St. Francis river, not the family name (St. Francis) which after doing seven years of cultural competency trainings this isse always comes up.
The tribe they all belonged to now should be the Missisquoi Tribe. This amendment is not about who is Native, or Indian. It is about amending a law that was done wrong for the aboriginal people. To acknowledge more than one Tribe within Vermont, takes away the rights away from those of us who know who we are (Knowing who we are, does NOT make that group of persons, families or group what they ASSUME they are...Again, anyone SAYING that their Abenaki is one dynamic; and yet where is the Clear and Convincing Evidence of that self-proclaimed identity? Especially when seeking VT or NH State Recognition based on that Self-Identification of Ethnicity or Race?) .
There is no simple answer to this and by far, there is no means to rush something that is so important, is unfair to all of us. It is the responsiblity for the State of Vermont's government to make a right of a bill that was done wrong, but not the right of a State government to decide who the Indians are by listening to a few people.
This amendment has turned alleged Native against reinvented Native and allowed some to think they have the Abenaki scholar experience about tribal qualifications. Some have gone to the length to ridicule people who have passed on; this in my book is one of the lowest things possible for someone to do.
(What one of the lowest things possible for a "group of persons" collectively-speaking in my book to do, is mis-appropriate Abenaki Cultural Heritage, and Language in attempts to deceptively unsurp an identity from a legitimate Native People, for the benefit of themselves, with blantant disregard to the truth of their own historical reality and their ancestors).
It should also be known that the Nulhegan, Koasek and El-Nu, for they have called themselves bands or groups...they are not TRIBES...but maybe bands that belong to the Missisquoi Tribe.
Now, that to me, sounds JUST like something the late "Chief" and/ or "Grand Chief" or "Chief-For-Life" Homer Walter St. Francis Sr. would say!
How "seperated from/ and or supportive towards" allegedly "retrosepctively-speaking" Louise Lampman-Larrivee been regarding the St. Francis family up in Swanton, Franklin County, Vermont? one does have to ask one's self.
Pictures speak louder than words
Louise (nee: Lampman) Larivee is, in this photograph standing behind the right shoulder of April Ann (nee: St. Francis) Merrill dated in mid to late November 2005. SWANTON, Vt. - The chief of the St. Francis/Sokoki Band of the Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi said the tribe will continue its quest for federal acknowledgement despite a preliminary denial by the BIA. The BIA issued a proposed finding Nov. 10, 2005 saying the St. Francis/Sokoki Band's evidence failed to prove its members descended from the historical Abenaki tribe, that it existed as a tribe from 1900 to 1975, or that it was identified as a continuous community with political authority from first contact with non-Indians.
April A.(nee: St. Francis) Merrill inherited the title of chief from her father, the late Homer Walter St. Francis Sr., who died in 2001.
(So much for Jeanne Lincoln - Kent stating...that April Merrill was VOTED in...NOT!)
SO HOW SEPARATED (DISCONNECTED) FROM APRIL ST. FRANCIS (OR SUPPORTIVE) REALLY WAS LOUISE LAMPMAN, IN REALITY?
ALL APRIL ST. FRANCIS-MERRILL HAD TO DO....
WAS SIMPLY TURN AROUND!
Here is the actual article that accompanied the above photograph:
Vermont Band Denied Federal Recognition
Indian News Country Today Article
November 22nd or 23rd, 2005 by Gale C. Toensing
The remainder of Louise (nee: Lampman) Larivee's letter to the Senate Committe:
In closing, I hope everyone remembers what the Native American Commission was set up for. A commission made up of Native people to make choice for the Native people. It is unfair for all to bad mouth a group of volunteers who gave up many hours of their time to put people in a position where discussions are today. Amending a Bill that was set up for Minorities, not the Aboriginal people.
For Bennington County was sold by the Mahigan: Or have we forgotten this?
Louise Lampman Larivee
Daughter of the Late Chief Leonard "Blackie" Miles Lampman Family, who was recognized by his Tribe (the Missisquoi)
Louise Lampman - Larivee's response(s) to Douglas Lloyd Buchholz regarding the photograph attached in this posting, etc...is as follows in the next posting:
Kwai Nidobak (In Abenaki, this means "Hello, my friends ")
the following is from my blog at www.morningstarstudio9.com. It is not intended to "bash" anyone, but to recount the events as I saw them to provide the facts from my perspective. Most of the facts can be verified by the speakers own words which were video taped during the meeting.
Morningstar (Jeanne Antoinette nee: Lalime - Lincoln - Kent)
MEETING - Wanaskôwadin
Kwai, Nidoba (In abenaki this means "Hello, my friend)
I attended the Hearing on @ (sic) S.117 on Friday and was disappointed that more "Indians" did not attend. It was mostly "chiefs". This concerns a lot of people who are not making their thoughts heard. There is still time to write to the Senators on the matter. Chief April and Nancy Millet (sic) Millette-Doucet spoke factually and well regarding their thoughts on the amendment as written. They expressed thought which I agreed with and which others might have, had they heard the original statements. As elequently as Judy Dowd's (sic) Dow's thoughts were expressed, she seemed to still be under the impression that it was the intention of the two major groups to exclude others, which was not the intent at all. While there was a great deal of emphasis on the fact that the amendment they added would somehow be exclusive of others that was not their intent at all and it was so stated at the hearing. (Which was video taped). The difficulty is that the Abenaki in particular have for two lifetimes (Chief Homer Walter St. Francis Sr. 's and Chief April Ann nee: St. Francis - Rushlow - Merrill 's) worked government to government (NO, that was Government to Incorporation) on many local issues. They have protected grave sites, continued to teach the young lanugage, dance and culture as well as crafts. They have provided cultural events in their Native territory and were recognized by name in the original S.117 (No, that was recongition of the HISTORICALLY DOCUMENTED MISSISQUOI ABENAKIS of the Swanton-Franklin County, Vermont area...NOT St. Francis/ Sokoki Band of the Abenaki led by April Merrill). It seems redundant to have them go thru another recognition process when the government itself has been recognizing them for nearly 100 years (100 years?! No, that group only incorporated *under Vermont State Law, in 1975-1976).
Both Chief April Merrill and Nancy Millette - Doucet testified that other Bands would be welcome to go through the application process to be recognized. That cannot be made clear enough as others keep acting as scare mongers trying to prevent things from moving forward.
At this point in time, I have serious doubts about the professionalism and qualifications of some of the Commission members. I am certain there are others who are dedicated and honest, but there is room for doubt on some of the them. For instance, Jeanne Brink took some of her time to once again state that she was not connected with Odanak, yet has (more than once) stated in publication that she is a citizen of it. (NO, Jeanne Brink may or may allegedly have said that at that time, the reporter Terry Hallenbeck, the Burlington Free Press reporter stated that Jeanne Brink stated this).
Wed. October 3, 2007
article by Terri Hallenbeck
"...I think it will solve the problem," said Jeanne Brink of Barre, an Abenaki basketmaker who is a member of the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs. She is able to sell her work as Native American as a citizen of the Odanak Reserve in Quebec, but she said she works with other Vermont Abenaki artists who cannot."
Not only is this contradictory to her testimony at the Friday hearing, it is contrary to the Arts and Crafts laws which state that in order for someone from Odanak to sell crafts here, they would have to be made on the Reservation there and imported here. It is quite clear that this is not the case. Further, she has threatened that if the commission's version of
the amendment is not accepted, she will recommend that no recognition of any kind be given to anyone. So much for a willingness to compromise for the wellbeing of the Abenaki People.
In his speech, "Chief" Paul Pouliot openly admitted that he provides Artisan Certificates from his Cowasuck group and has every intention of continuing doing so. He has stated that he is going thru recognition (he has a letter of intent on file, but not an application at this time), while defying the Arts and Crafts Law openly. Last summer he openly displayed one of those certificates at the Swanton Heritage Day celebration even as Vermont Craftsmen struggled to do things legally. That is hardly doing things the "right way". His speaking style, as always, introduced key inflammatory words such as "casinos" and "land grabs" in an attempt to frighten the Senate members. It is and never has been the intention of the Missisquoi or Koesucks (sic) Koasek or Koas to seek either, but at least one other band (Inc. Nulhegan group led by Luke Andrew Willard) has approached their Representative for money to purchase a building to house a museum bar and gambling establishment. A little like the pot calling the kettle black. A point which has not been made publicly clear is that that if the Missisquoi and Koesucks (sic) go thru the same process as everyone else at this time, it will be at least another year or two before anyone is recognized. Having at least one group recognized in the short run would alleviate the pressure being placed on Artisans by the Federal Government. Todd Hebert also noted that without some form of recognition, the upcoming Centennial celebration would be without any recognized Native Bands. It makes that even moot. This happened in Virginia and could happen in Vermont.
I still support the recognition of the Missisquoi and Koesucks and the continued efforts to recognize all bands who qualify. I do not feel the Legislature should be involved for legal reasons and for the time constraints it will place on the process.
Following is a copy of my statement at the hearing:
Kwai Kwai, Nidobak
Good mornings, Ladies and Gentlement of the Senate and all who have come here today.
My name is Jeanne Kent, B.F.A., M.A., Ed., aka Morningstar (Spozowialakwz). I am a retired art instructor and current owner of Morningstar Studio. I am Abenaki of the Bear Clan through the Watso/ Capino family of Odanak and signers of the Robertson's Lease in Missisquoi County. I currently reside in Winchester, CT, but have a daughter, her family and two grandchildren residing in Vermont. I also have a son and two more grandchildren residing in Connecticut. I am not currently enrolled so I speak as an individual, family matriarch, and as an artist/ craftsperson.
I wish to commend all who have worked on both sections of the amendment and thank you for your hours of dedication. However, I was very surprised when I saw the new guidelines set forth by the Commission as they are almost identical to those set forth by the Federal government for Federal Recognition. I had always been under the impression that State guidelines were less stringent in recognizing tribes at State level. That is not apparent here.
As history has shown, it too 33 years for us to have the little recognition currently offered and one has to wonder how long it will take for the new process to recognize the State bands. It should be clear that most of the Bands and family clans, have little or no money or resources to prepare the kind of data being requested. It is obvious that some form of identification is necessary, but what is being asked for would require money and
man hours that most groups do not have. They are still Abenaki. But proving it to these standars could be a hardship.
If the two groups which have historically been active in Vermont were to be recognized, they could then act as a conduit for grant money to help these smaller groups to do the research necessary for their recognition. Asking each group to do their own, places an undue burden on them. I place before you my own genealogy (I placed three notebooks on the table).....
(what happened to Jeanne Kent's other 3 notebooks she claims to have? See http://www.abenakijustice.blogspot.com/ partial quote "I [Jeanne Kent aka Morningstar] don't think anyone proved that I am not descended from Odanak. While I have not reviewed all of my genealogy on Douglas' site, I do have enough information that fills six notebooks which says I do. I simply do not meet the requirement for enrollment there...So, no, I do not meet the requirements, but that does not mean I am not a descendant. Apparently you do not understand that the Capino/Pineau families are descendants of the Watso family." dated April 26, 2010).....
....which took nearly 20 years to complete, numerous hours, travel, costs, correspondences phone calls and trips to the genealogical library and Canada, and the hiring of professional genealogists. Merely printing this and binding it for you today cost about $200.00 (yet she didn't apparently leave the 3 notebooks of her alleged genealogy for anyone in the Legislature to review). Multiply this times each individual or each band, and the matter is an economic challege for all concerned. (There is currently NO budget alloted to the VT Indian Commission.)
Much of the heated discussions have been over power and personalities, but the reality for many of us, it is neither. We are getting on in years and would like to see recognition before we cross over. We have already lost some of our historians, leaders and valued Elders. We are slowing dying from paper genocide.
I am concerned at this time about the matter of privacy of information. This past week, private emails passing between individuals and Commission members found their way onto the Internet. This makes me and others wary of where personal genealogies and band information will be housed and how carefully it will be handled. In as much as this action was defended by the Commission Chairman (Mark Mitchell at the time), I would request stronger guidelines regarding the handling of Commission information and correspondence.
There are those who are verbally attacking the two major Abenaki groups on personal levels, but they seem to forget that leaderships are no longer inherited (EXCEPT April Ann nee: St. Francis - Merrill) . They are voted in. Rather than destroying the entire Abenaki Nation to take revenge upon a few people, it would seem more rational to appoint two groups and use them as leadership to work with the government (I should have said "continued"). It would be manditory rather than optional. This would also mean that leadership would be by vote and not by self-appointment. It would also mean that the Abenaki would have a voice and unified leadership.
To clarify: I do NOT support the Legislature. I DO support having the Commission approve Bands, NOT individuals. That should be left to the Bands. I also support the appointment of two major bands to handle the research and approval of all other splinter groups.
I have been an artist since I was old enough to hold a crayon (most Kindergartner's can say the same thing!) , and often shuffled four jobs to pay for my college education in the arts. I will continue to do my art with or without a disclaimer. But being able to label my work as Abenaki, would authenticate it as not only Native Made, but made by someone who has dedicated recent years to researching and producing woodland arts in order to help preserve our culture. It would mean being able to produce museum quality work and to teach others about us. I would also like the right to designate my artwork as Abenaki because when the arts, music, language, and stories are taken away from a People, we cease to be a People. For now we still have enough left to preserve, but soon, it will be gone.
As noted, I have done my genealogy and it is documented. I have a home, a retirement plan, medical insurance, a car and an education as well as a business of my own. I ask
nothing of the State of Vermont or the government. I was Abenaki yesterday. I am today and I will be tomorrow. What I do want is the right to SAY it (No one is stopping anyone from SAYING they are alleged Abenaki). I would like my alleged and self-declared birthright to be who I am without question. Too Indian for the white community; too white for the Indian community, I always see to be walking between two worlds. I would like to die having found balance and peace between them.
Will Vermont help to preserve it's history and the history of the Abenaki People? (Or allow these Incorporated Wanna-be Fake False Pretenders who have seemingly mis-appropriated an Abenaki Cultural Identity that doesn't belong to them at all to RE-WRITE the truthful Vermont history and Abenaki Ancestors and descendants blood, sweat and tears?!). You hold a beating heart in your hands. It is our heart. Please handle it with care. (Mohawk style!).
Oliwini (In Abenaki this means to imply that what is given is received only to be given outwardly again...circular...."what comes around subsequently goes around" "what one puts out eventually one gets back in return").
Thank you for allowing me to speak today
aka Jeanne Kent, B.F.A., M.A., Ed.
So...when in late February to at least April 2008 (including the latter half of 2007) Rep. Hinda Miller and Rep. Vincent Illuzzi were retrospectively-speaking working to craft an Amendment Bill to S.177 Vermont Abenaki Recognition bill, these various persons and groups of alleged and re-invented Abenakis of Vermont (along with other persons outside the State of Vermont...including myself were involved in the Abenaki Recognition dynamics, debate, and either advocated or obstructed positively or negatively.
From this retrospective look back at the early part of 2008, these "groups" of alleged and reinvented Abenakis in Vermont (the St. Francis-Sokoki, the Nulhegan, the Koasek, and El-Nu) were simply paranoid and obstructing ANYTHING that had to do with Odanak descendants who have lived within the state of Vermont for generations, and most importantly ANYTHING to do with GENEALOGICAL VERIFICATION, SOCIAL VERIFICATION, and HISTORICAL VERIFICATION that these INCORPORATION'S they themselves have created *under Vermont State Laws, to VERIFY, SOLIDIFY and SUBSTANTIATE their claims and proclamations that these Inc.d groups, their "Grand Chiefs" "Co-Chiefs" "Sub-Chiefs" their "Ambassadors" their "Senior Advisers their "Elders" their "Medicine People" or what have you, were and are legitimately descended and connected to the Abenaki Ancestors.
Genealogy TERRIFIES the Thieves and Liars, the Mis-Appropriators. The one's who "hide-in-plain-sight"
SO, in April 2010....the Abenaki Circus of Vermont and New Hampshire continue to attempt their deceptions, their manipulations, their lies, their "stories" and their distortions. These alleged and reinvented Abenakis of Vermont and New Hampshire, and IF anyone cares to read this blog, the PUBLIC and Academia would ALSO know this FACTUAL REALITY.
The TRUTH will set N'dakinna free, and the Alleged and Reinvented "Abenaki Circus" led by these Vermont and New Hampshire Incorporation's afore-mentioned, will either travel on...fading into the dark from whence they came from; or the State Legislature's will grant Official State Recognition to these Alleged and Reinvented Abenaki Clowns, WITHOUT having done their research to honestly validate the DECEIVERS from the LEGITIMATELY HISTORICALLY BASED and GENEALOGICALLY DOCUMENTED Abenaki People living in Vermont and New Hampshire.
TIME WILL TELL. So will the factual historical and genealogical documents on this blog.......
people in the state, believe that they cannot receive a fair hearing on the highly charged political issue of recognition by the Commission. In addition the Abenaki communities believe that the VT Native Commission Chair is compromised due to his inability to get true information from his commissioners. We respectfully request that Governor Douglas revisit his appointments to the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs, and, as stipulated in S. 117, consult with the organized tribes in appointing new commissioners who will more effective, honest, and representative of Vermont's Indigenous community.
signed (in alphabetical order)
1. Jeffrey Benay, Ed. D. Former Chair, Governor's Commission on Native American Affairs;
2. Brian Chenevert, Chief, Koasek Traditional Band of the Sovereign Abenaki Nation, Newbury, Vermont,
3.Todd Hebert, President, Ndakinna Cultural Center and Museum, Inc.
4. Roger "Longtoe" Anthony Sheehan, Sagamo (Chief)
5. Jim Taylor (Elder)
6. Rose Hartwell (Elder)
7. Vera "Longtoe" Sheehan (Genealogist), El-Nu Abenaki Tribe;
(Person's from 4 to 7 part of the El-Nu)
8. April Merrill, Chief, St. Francis Sokoki Band (Missisquoi), former Commissioner, Governor's Commission on Native American Affairs
9. Nancy Millette - Doucet, Director, White Pine Association, and Koasek Traditional Band
10. David Skinas, former Commissioner, Governor's Commission on Native American Affairs
11. Luke Willard, Speaker and Trustee, Nulhegan Band
12. Fred Wiseman, Ph.D., former Commissioner, Governor's Commission on Native American Affairs
Supporting references with complete or abstracted primary documentation.
(1) Application for Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs
Job Description: the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs seeks highly experienced and motivated Vermont residents in Tribal government, academia, the arts, and public service with significant skill in Native American affairs, preferably in Vermont or the immediate region. Experience in Vermont indigenous cultural, grant writing, public and media relations, education, informational technology, cultural resources protection and political science a plus.
Current professional position or vocational status:
Describe experience in Native American cultural, political, artistic or spiritual affairs:
Describe experience in local, state, or national commissions, organization etc. that pertain to Native American issues:
If applying as an individual Native candidate for the Commission please list the historically verifiable Tribal Band (this is optional, but is desired to give us a wife diversity of Native participants as possible.)
Please write a description of why you believe that you would be an asset to the Commission.
The candidate shall adhere to the code of ethics included herein.
(Attach a resume and two letters of recommendation from people who are aware of your contribution to Native American culture or politics.)
Code of Ethics (Draft Version of 4/12/06 from Mr. Donald Stevens)
(a) No member of the Vermont Commission on Native American affairs (the "Commission") shall have any interest, financial or otherwise, direct or indirect, or engage in any business or transaction or professional activity or incur any obligation of any nature, which is in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of his duties in the public interest serving on the Vermont Commission on Native American affairs (the "Commission").
(b) No member of the Vermont Commission on Native American affairs (the "Commission") shall engage in any business or professional activity which will require him to disclose confidential information which he has gained by reason of his official position or authority without permission of the Commission.
(c) No member of the Vermont Commission on Native American affairs (the "Commission"), member of the legislature or legislative employee should disclose confidential information acquired by him in the course of his official duties nor use such information to further his personal interests that are not approved by the Commission.
(d) No member of the Vermont Commission on Native affairs (the "Commission") shall use or attempt to use his official position to secure unwarranted privileges or exemptions for himself or others without the approval of the Commission.
(e) Any member of the Vermont Commission on Native American affairs (the "Commission") shall not, by his conduct, give reasonable basis for the impression that any person or organization can improperly influence him or unduly enjoy his favor in the performance of his official duties, or that he is affected by the kinship, rank, position or influence of any party or person.
(f) Any member of the Vermont Commission on Native affairs (the "Commission") shall not endeavor to pursue a course of conduct which will not raise suspicion among the public that he is likely to be in engaged in acts of violation of his trust.
(g) Any violation of section (a) through (f) listed above may constitute disciplinary action, seizer of items obtained through the misconduct, fines set by the commission, and/ or removal from the Commission.
***Note: member constitutes person serving on the Vermont Commission of Native American affiars, their family members, and any businesses where that they may gain profit or compensation from.
(2) Letter of Chief Brian Chenevert, Koasek
To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing this letter to express my opinions and concerns regarding the current Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs. The Koasek Traditional Band has had representatives attend many of the commission meetings over the past two years and had had many conversation and correspondence with the commission chair Mark Mitchell. Based on these interactions I do not feel that the Koasek Traditional Band was ever represented by the commission. The main purpose for any state commission of Native American Affairs is to act as a liaison
between the state government and the tribes of that state. The Vermont commission has severely failed to act in this regard. Not once has this current commission reached out to any of the long standing Abenaki groups in the state of Vermont. Rarely has this current commission reached out to any of the long standing Abenaki groups in the state of Vermont, and when it did they did not heed the advice given even when it was substantiated with legal precedence set in other states. This commission has worked soled by itself for itself. We have brought many concerns to the commission about amending Bill S. 117. I have explained over and over again to the commission our many concerns about their version of the amendment for S.117 and provided them with legal precedence set previously in other states across the U.S., particularly regarding providing genealogies to any state agency or the commission as this would be a clear violation of our sovereignty. Not only have they not worked with us, they have ignored us to the point that they are now working against us. A perfect example of this would be when two commission members provided testimony at the recent legislative committee hearing on the amendments for bill S.117 as individuals and not on the behalf of the commission but failed to state that point during their testimonies. Additionally, one of these commissioner members forwarded numerous email correspondence to the commission on to outside interests groups who do not reside in Vermont in an effort to draw as many people to the committee hearing as possible to voice their opinions against the Koasek and Missisquoi Abenaki. The behavior, inability to act in an unbiased manner and the overall lack of professionalism by some members of the Vermont commission on Native American Affairs has been appalling and the majority of Abenaki people are anticipating the expiration of their terms in July 2008 so that they can be replaced.
Signed electronically on 03/06/08
Chief Brian Chenevert
Koasek Traditional Band of the Sovereign Abenaki Nation
(3) Letter of Nancy Millette, Koasek Spokesperson
I have attended many commission meetings and have had many conversations with Mark Mitchell over the last two years. I can honestly say I do not believe the Koasek Traditional Band was ever represented by the commission. I have neither seen nor hear from them do anything for or with us. I have brought many concerns to the commission about the drafting of the addition to Bill S.117. I arranged a meeting with Governor Douglas to ask him by way of executive order to give the power to the commission to recognize tribes. I invited Mark Mitchell to accompany me to this meeting. What came out of that meeting with Governor Douglas was a task force to work with Mark Mitchell over the summer to draw a new bill. I offered and a friend of mine offered to help finance a Lawyer for the Native Rights Fund or one they would suggest who was schooled in Indian Law. I was never asked to help the commission with that offer. I have explained over and
over again to the commission many concerns about giving genealogies over to the state or even the commission. They didn't pay any attention to my concerns. I have not seen any respect given to the historic tribes St. Francis Sokoki Missisquoi or to Koasek. We have not been represented in the bill or during any of the drafting. I have sent what I thought were private emails to Mark Mitchell to only find they have been sent to all commission members who then sent them out to their friends outside of the commission until those private emails were all over the message boards on the Internet which has caused a great deal of slander, bashing and more division within the Abenaki Territory.
Signed on this Day March 6, 2008
Nancy Millette (now married name of Doucet)
(4) Letter of Chief April Merrill, Missisquoi
To Whom It May Concern:
For the record, I have been saying for months the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs does not represent me or my Tribe. I have stated this publicly on several occasions. We don't feel they are representing us. After listening to Commission members testify Friday February 29, 2008 in Montpelier it is very clear they do not represent us in any way, shape, or form. I guess what they don't realize is that if it wasn't for Missisquoi they wouldn't be sitting on a Commission today. When Commission member Jeanne Brink was testifying, Commission member Judy Dow was jumping up and down to help her answer a question that was asked of her (Jeanne) and wouldn't even let Jeanne answer the question herself. I'm sorry I thought this made Jeanne and the Commission look like fools. This made me wonder, does Judy do all the talking for the Commission? When Commission member Judy Dow testified she said we (meaning Missisquoi) didn't have State or Federal Recognition. Non of these other groups have even filed for Federal Recognition so what difference does this make? As a Commission member Judy should be required to know in how S.117 reads now wouldn't you think? She didn't even know that Missisquoi is the only historical tribe recognized by name in S.117 as it reads now and yet she claims to represents all Abenaki or Native Americans in Vermont by serving on this Commission. We are all trying to figure out just what it is that this Commission has done for any Native American in Vermont since they have been in existence? Some Commission members represent their own interest and don't care about the entire Native population in Vermont. I can't believe that the Commission held a meeting to let all these out of State groups have a forum. I though the Vermont Commission was set up to deal with Vermont issues and Vermont Native peoples. No wonder the Senators & Legislators do not know who is who. It must be very confusing to them to have out of State people coming here to testify. I do not understand the reasoning behind this myself. Most of the testimonies given by these people were to discredit Missisquoi. I believe Missisquoi has proven itself over and over. However, we can't say that about others that have come out of the wood work. As I stated in earlier testimony where were these clans, bands, or sub groups when the Jane Baker study was conducted back in 1976? How can these Commission members be given the power to be judge & jury of who is and who isn't Abenaki in
this state if each one of them have not proven their authenticity and/ or citizenship in one of the remaining historically verifiable bands in Vermont. Where is the fairness and legitimacy in this process? With that said the Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi St. Francis/ Sokoki Band and I have no confidence in the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs as it stands now.
Chief April St. Francis Merrill
Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi
St. Francis/ Sokoki Band
(5) Statement of Nulhegan Band
Since the passing of S.117 and the appointment of the current VCNAA commissioners, the Nulhegan Band has had zero representation on a commission that was formed to develop S.117. Not one single call regarding recognition or S.117. The once or twice that we talked with any commissioner; they were only seeking support on issues not pertinent to Nulhegan's interests that we had no knowledge of. When I testified before Senate Committee on February 29, 2008, I only supported the commission draft because Nulhegan was absent in draft four. We encourage a draft that is inclusive to Missisquoi, Koasek, AND Nulhegan as the three populated historical Vermont Abenaki Bands with respective appointments to VCNAA. While I do not support the notion that Jeanne Brink is acting on behalf of her Canadian Band at Odanak, it is apparent to me that VCNAA is not working with, assisting, or representing the needs and concerns of any of the aforementioned Abenaki communities. I'm not quite sure what it is that they do. Regarding the Odanak Abenakis of Vermont AKA the Obomsawin Family of Vermont, a family unit led by Richard "Skip" Bernier, of which Tim Delabruere is a member, I find it suspicious that Tim and Richard both testified against S. 117 yet Tim was appointed to the commission formed by its passing into law. Regardless of what transpires, the VCNAA must be representative of Missisquoi, Nulhegan, and Koasek.
Nulhegan Band Speaker and Trustee
(6) Letter of El-Nu Abenaki Tribe
To whom it may concern.
We have had concerns over the VCNAA and we believe the commission is compromised. We voiced our concerns, when we testified at the VCNAA meeting back in October 2007, then again February 15, 2008 at the Senate testimony. Denise Watso's letter clearly shows the attitude Odanak has toward Vermont Abenakis who are not members of Odanak. Additionally, a member of the VCNAA forwarded numerous private emails to at least one individual (who the email was not intended for). As a result, this email was posted to numerous message boards and forums, causing a great deal of slanderous controversy. We believe some of the VCNAA commissioners are honorable and have been working hard, however the commission has been compromised and it is not a fair representation of our interests. Thank you for your time and consideration!
El-Nu Abenaki Tribe
Signed this day March 11, 2008 (this date will show up here instead of the next page because such information fits to this particular letter in which it belongs to)
(7) Portion of E-mail by Denise Watso condemning Vermont Abenaki groups
Why is the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs seeking the power to recognize groups as Indian, when only two of its members can provide evidence (sic) of their Abenaki ancestry? How can we trust this Commission to evaluate historical evidence, when they have not been able to document their own claims? ...Who is this "Koasek" group? And why should the "St. Francis/ Sokoki group take precedence in his proposal after the Vermont Attorney General and the Bureau of Indian Affairs found that they couldn't provide evidence (sic) of Indian, let alone Abenaki? ...How do you think many of us feel seeing strangers, not knowing most if not any of them are native, portraying us in public? And the press and the public want to see the play-acting... We demand better... Should self-identified groups and individuals wish to secure recognition, they should come to us to present their case, asking for our support. They should do so in humility rather than arrogance.
Denise Watso, NY Liaison, Odanak (Quebec) Reserve, Albany, NY, Feb. 26, 2008
(8) E-mail dsavowing an Odanaki connection and threatening "other action"
From: Jeanne ******firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: 25 Feb 2008 )4:01:54 +0000
I would like to settle once and for all that I do not represent or have the interest of Odanak when I am serving on the Commission? I have the interest of all Native Americans in Vermont? I'm sure Odanak would get a big laugh if they heard that people think I am representing Odanak? I was born and raised in Vermont and a Vermont Abenaki? People say that white people have been biased and prejudiced against Native Americans and now I hear members of your band being biased and prejudiced against other Abenaki such as myself? How unfair!! What are they afraid of?? Are they not confident in themselves or so paranoid that they have to attack other Abenaki?? They need to take a look at themselves and ask what kind of Native American are they? I hope I don't hear this anymore or I will have to take other action.
Jeanne A. Brink
(9) Senate testimony of VCNAA Commissioner Jeanne Brink, 2/29/08
There are two of us that have family ties to Odanak and I am one of them. I was born and raised in Vermont, I am a Vermonter; I have never lived in any other place. I am a Vermont Abenaki. To say that we (Brink and De la Breuere) are on the Commission representing Odanak is a lie.
(10) Burlington Free Press article identifying Commissioner Jeanne Brink as Odanak Band member.
"I think it will solve the problem," said Jeanne Brink of Barre, an Abenaki
basketmaker who is a member of the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs. She is able to sell her work as Native American as a citizen of the Odanak Reserve in Quebec, but she said she works with other Vermont Abenaki artists who cannot.
Terri Hallenbeck, Burlington Free Press October 3, 2007
"I was surprised by her saying that (that Brink was Vermont, not Odanak Abenaki) the other day too. I don't have my notes from that October conversation (referred to in the quote above). She never contacted me to say that I got it wrong."
Terri Hallenbeck, The Burlington Free Press March 3, 2008
(11) Part of Jeanne Lincoln Kent's public e-mail
At Friday's (Senate) hearing, one member (Jeanne Brink) came over to me and asked why I was sitting with April Merrill and Nancy Millett, then quietly said that if the Senate did not pass the Committee's bill, she was going to recommend that the no recognition be given to anyone. (My husband was sitting between us and heard the conversation). Further, when giving testimony she stated she was not affiliated with Odanak. I am attaching a news item (See above Burlington Free Press article #8 extracted) which indicates differently.
Jeanne Lincoln Kent
(12) Statement of Indigenous Vermont identity by Timothy de la Breuere
"I'm a Vermont Abenaki"
Tim de la Bruere VT Native American Commissioner,
Feb 25, 2008
(13) Political expectations of Timothy de la Breuere
Leaders in two nations participated Friday afternoon in the ceremonial swearing in of city resident Tim de la Bruere, 24, as a member of the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs. One leader was Vermont Gov. James Douglas. The other was Chief Gillis Obomsawin, leader of the Odanak band of Abenaki. ...Yet once the bill (S.117) became law, according to (Duncan) Kilmartin, he and (Michael) Marcotte pushed to have a grandson of an Odanak band member ("Skip" Bernier) sit on the commission to bring that perspective to its deliberations. "You have a unique opportunity to represent your heritage." Kilmartin said to de la Bruere. Chief Obomsawin said he was proud to have a representative of a recognized band on the Vermont commission.
Robin Smith, ICaledonian Record, September 4, 2006
(14) Statement by Fred Wiseman, Ph.D. March 8, 2008
In the fall of 2003, there were letters sent by Odanak officials to historic preservation officers in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, specifically to disrupt the cordial relations between these states and Missisquoi Abenakis. I believe that Chief April Merrill retains copies of these letters. Richard Bernier's group was asserted in these letters to be the only true representatives of Vermont (or American) Abenakis. It took me and April (Chief April Merrill) a lot of phone calling to straighten this problem out. I am not sure that a slight misgiving still remains (in the spring of 2008) in some State government circles caused by this
attempted take over.
Missisquoi Tribal Historian, March 8, 2008)
(15) Statement by Luke Willard, Trustee, Nulhegan Band
Tim Delabreure (sic) is a member of Skip Bernier's group, the Odanak Abenakis of Vermont.....He told me there wasn't an Abenaki in this state except for his family.
Luke Willard, Nulhegan Band, Sept. 5, 2006
(16) E-mail Transmitted by Luke Willard, Trustee, Nulhegan band
I've read the agreement you and Dawn Macie both have with Fred Wiseman. I know what you think your getting into. Just make sure you understand the process. The second this amendment will get out of Vince's (Rep. Vincent Illuzzi) committee it will go into about 10 before moving into the House of Reps. Any individual can attend committees and argue to change the wording. Do you think your band will stand a chance? Will you and Dawn be able to attend 4 or 5 committee meetings a week? At any rate the amendment will fail as Gov. Douglas has already expressed his intent to veto. This isn't an issue of it passing or not, it's an issue of trust, and you and Dawn have completely showed me true colors here. Just remember that this amendment was the Abenakis only shot here. Senators are getting very weary and tired of all the showing around. Its an election year. If it fails now it will not be brought up again for a long time. See you tomorrow if your there and I've been looking over some letters about your cultural center. be well Tim de la Breuere
also Senate Testimony on 25 March 2008, "My name is Judy Dow, I am an Abenaki member of the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs from the Winooski group of Abenaki family bands in the Burlington, Colchester and Winooski area."
(20) "For Artisans, Recognition Discrepancy Spells Identity Crisis"
Associated Press, May 5, 2007
(21) Text of Chief Merrill's "sense of conversations" with Nancy Comstock
FYI, I'm writing to tell you about a phone call I received on March 1, 2008 at 8:50 AM. A woman named Nancy Comstock called me at my home, she claimed to be Judy Dow's sister. She said she supported me, my efforts, and what I do for my people. She apologized for her sisters actions and said she wasn't impressed with her actions. She said they are not native. She said Judy has made a living on the Abenaki name. She said they never grew up at the interval and the the stories that Judy tells about the gathering and walking on the trails is all lies. She said she didn't know why Judy tells lies, and that she lies so much she believes herself. I told her we know about that we have one of our own who does this by telling people, her grandmother was born in a cave. I told her they must think by telling these stories this makes them more Abenaki. I thanked her for calling. Told her I need to get going because I was going to New Hampshire this morning for a funeral.
After thinking about this phone call for a couple of days, I decided I needed to call her back. I had questions I needed answered. So, I tried to call her back and we played phone tag for a couple of days. Last night March 6, 2008 I finally talked to her again. I asked her where they grew up. She said in Burlington, but they summered in South Hero most of the time. She asked me why I wanted to know this. I said that Judy has been telling people she her family is from Moccasin Village and the interval and she was from the Winooski family group of Abenaki. She said she had never heard of Moccasin Village and that they didn't grow up at the Interval, but that it was not at the interval and that it was in the New North End. She said they grew up in Burlington not Winooski. She didn't know where Judy got any of her information from because nobody was raised in the Native way or ever talked about it at all. She said Judy is pretty convincing with the stories she tells. She said Judy claims the Native side comes in on her grandfather's wife's side of the family. I asked her what their maiden name was she said Fortin. I asked what her grandmother's name was that the Native side was on she said she thinks Rocheleau but was not sure. She said Judy gave her some genealogy once and it had everyone listed on it but the problem was she (meaning Judy) had all of her sisters birth dates wrong so she didn't believe the rest of it and threw it out. After all Judy should have known when their birthdays were, they were sisters. She said there may be Native blood but she doesn't know for sure or not. I told her that Judy had applied for citizenship with our Tribe and she didn't meet the requirements and that she needed more documentation. We didn't say she wasn't Abenaki but, she didn't have the paperwork to prove it at the time she applied. She never provided us with any other documentation showing where an Abenaki line came in on her family tree. We knew she had learned to make baskets from Mali Keating (who by the way was Abenaki and her family came from Odanak) and that Judy had also been doing educational stuff with the school we figured this is why she applied for a citizenship card. We believe this is why Judy is using her position on the Commission to attack Missisquoi every chance she gets is because we didn't approve her application back when. Since she was already claiming to be Abenaki. I guess she thought it would be easy for her to get citizenship with us and she found out that it is not easy we have requirements that need to be met. Then we find out that years later she is saying she is from the Winooski Family Bands of Abenaki, which is not a group we have ever heard of before. She talks about Moccasin Village, and we have never heard of this before either. I told Nancy that when I testified the first time I said that whom ever is coming forward saying they are Abenaki that they should have to prove it with Historical Documents and not just because they say so. I told Nancy there has been a lot of new groups coming out of the wood work not just the one Judy speaks of and most of them came out just before State Recognition. I told Nancy there has been a lot of new groups coming out of the wood work not just the one Judy speaks of and most of them came out just before State of Vermont the way the law reads now. They do not have to show any historical proof to anyone. But, that Missisquoi is the only Tribe by name mentioned in the bill. Then, I told her even Historians have never of Moccasin Village or of any Winooski based group.
Yes, there are sites in Winooski. I told her Judy hasn't really said to much more about Moccasin Village since I put the word out to people that I would like her to show us or anyone the historical documents that have the name "Moccasin Village" on them or the Winooski group. First of all, Abenakis wouldn't have used a white man's name to name a village to begin with. Nancy said her father's parents got divorce when he was around 10 or 12 and shortly after his mother died and he was raised in the orphanage. She said he was definitely not raised in the Native way either. They were not raised knowing they were Indian. She gets very upset when Judy talks about the colonist and what they did to the Native people because she (Nancy) believes she was raised as a colonist. She doesn't know where Judy gets the bit about being Winooski family group of Abenaki because they were not from Winooski. She said Judy lies so much that she believes her own lies: I asked her if she would come forward with this information. She said come forward to who? I said the Vermont Government, the Governor, Senators, Legislatures, & Suzanne Young legal council to the Governor and possibly the press. She said she would talk with Senators about this but wasn't for sure whether or not she would talk with the press because of past experience. I said she should definitely speak with Senator Illuzzi and that she should also speak with others as well and I suggested the Governor, Suzanne Young, and Senators from her area. I don't know if she has contacted any of these people or not.
She said that a Sally Pollack from the Burlington Press did a story on Judy once and that she (Nancy) called her on it. She said she told Sally she had been duped and Sally responded by saying that she only printed what she was told. Nancy said she asked Sally if she printed everything without the facts. Maybe, we should ask Terry Hallenbeck if she could look into this. She said she doesn't know where Judy gets all of her information from because no one in the family ever talked about being Abenaki or Native.
Chief April St. Francis Merrill
(22) Statement of Todd Hebert, President, Ndakinna Cultural Center
Recognition granted in 2006 was in my mind to finally give The Abenakis a status. But the other part of recognition I believe was about protecting us. The current recognition basically says anyone who claims to be Abenaki is. At least in there minds. So where are we at now. Now we have to legally say who is Abenaki. Well my feeling on that is that the people who have been making money off from our heritage for all these years are not going to fight this to the end. Judy Dow is one of those people at least from what I can see. She is bringing in people from all over to join her on this fight. Why? Because she has a lot to lose. She makes & sells baskets, she teaches classes, she is in the public spotlight saying she is Abenaki. The lifestyle she is now living could potentially come to an end since she cannot prove her heritage. Heck, her own sister says she's not native. She is viciously protecting her well being while trying to take away our recognition. It makes me ill that a person could do this to not only a group of people but a minority culture that has already endured so much pain.
(23) VCNAA Chair Mark Mitchell, VCNAA Commission notes, Feb. 25, 2008
March 14, 2008 - JDH Bill regarding "Abenaki Recognition"
Introduced by Senator Vincent Illuzzi of Ezzex-Orleans District
Senator Carris of Rutland District
Senator Condos of Chittenden District
Senator Hinda Miller of Chittenden District
Senator Racine of Chittenden District
This bill proposes to recognise the Koasek, Missisquoi and Nulhegan bands of the Abenaki Nation as the original Native American tribes residing in Vermont, grant the Vermont Commission on Native American affairs the authority to officially recognize other tribes and bands of Native Americans, and set out procedures and criteria for the commission to follow in evaluating whether to grant such recognition.
(24) Widespread public E-mail Posting
(Douglas Lloyd Buchholz)
Date: February 24, 2008 1:37:12 PM GMT-05:00
To: Abenaki_news_ email@example.com
Subject: [Abenaki_news_ issues] 3rd email....
Reply-To: Abenaki_news_ firstname.lastname@example.org
From: RickPouliot@ gedakina. org [mailto:RickPouliot@ gedakina.org]
Sent: Friday, February 22, 2008 10:34 AM
To: Paul Pouliot
Subject: Urgent!!!!! Controversial Amendment to Vermont Abenaki Recognition Bill
This is in reference to an urgent matter that concerns members of the Cowasuck band of Pennacook/ Abenaki that are living in Vermont. Apparently April St. Francis, a family leader from Swanton Vermont and Nancy Millette a group leader from the central Connecticut river (sic) valley have been working behind closed doors with Mark Mitchell (Chair of the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs), without support or inclusion of the Commission, to push through an amendment to the Vermont state recognition bill that would recognize April and Nancy's groups as being the only legitimate Abenaki groups in Vermont. This would exclude members of all other families and tribal groups. This is a significant issue and there is a hearing on Monday 25 February 10AM - 12PM at the National Life Building - 1 National Life Drive in Montpelier, Vermont. The Vermont Commission has requested that representation from families and Bands that oppose this bill, be in attendance to present testimony. I would suggest that a representative from your band Concil (sic), speaking on behalf of the Band and family members attend this meeting.
Richard "Rick" Daniel Pouliot
For additional information, please contact Judy Dow, Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs. 802-879-6155 jdowbasket@aol. Com
(25) Fred Wiseman’s review of the 2/29/07 Senate hearing tapes.
(26) Regarding Dow’s alleged assertions On the 29th of February 2008
Nancy Millette and I went to the State House for the hearings. I don't recall the exact times but it is not that important. When we arrived, we met April St. Francis an (sic) Richard (sic) I believe that this was John Churchill in the foyer. Nancy introduced us all. April said she was glad to finally meet me and she and Nancy went on talking their business. Richard and I, started talking about fishing and hunting and Vet's affairs and our Grandchildren. We have no idea what Nancy and April were talking about but they were standing right next to us the entire time. When the time came, we all went inside and took seats on the right back of the hall. April and Nancy sat together and Richard sat on the outside seat next to me. One of the Senator's (sic) sat with us for a bit and we looked at an old map of the Koasek area. The only time I stepped out
was for a minute to speak with Howard at the doorway and I could still see and hear what was going on in the room-nothing unusual. The proceedings began. Nancy presented her part and then April. There were no out of order discussions that I witnessed at any time. April never threatened anyone or "went off" in any way. Nancy and April sat with Richard and me for the duration. When the meeting was over we went to the hall. Richard and April came out at the same time. I was standing in the doorway with Howard Knight, and Senator Illuzzi went past us. We both said thanks to him but he did not stop because he was late for the next session. Nancy and I said goodbye to Richard (John Churchill) an d April and Nancy and I left, with Todd Hebert and his wife. I am not April's brother nor is Richard. Richard is not my brother and that day was the first day we ever met. By coincidence, Richard and I had the same jackets and are around the same age and size. This is the whole truth as I recall it. I hope this helps. It should correspond to the video in general sequence of events.
Dr. Ray Lussier
Tribal Judge, Koasek
(27) Regarding Dow’s alleged assertions
The only time April (Chief April Merrill) spoke up was when Paul (Pouliot) testified and she said he didn't live in VT. Other than that, I heard nothing, certainly not toward Judy Dow. And when she asked where Paul lived, there were no threats. As a matter of fact, I was more upset then (sic) she. When I voiced my agitation to her, she shrugged her shoulders and said "What will be, will be." No, I did not witness any hostility.
Jeanne Lincoln Kent
(28) “The Abenaki Family Band,” contributed by Frederick M. Wiseman, Ph.D.
It has been the historical way of the Abenaki to have family bands. Centralized tribes were not part of our life ways but merely a construct developed for Indian groups to abide by the rules of the colonizer. I have for you a list of quotes from historians that explain through time what a family band was and still is for the Abenaki. The point these historians are trying to make is that it is the Abenaki life way to exist in family bands; it is the non-Indian way to categorize Abenaki into tribes. However some Abenaki may choose to follow this path today.
VCNAA Commissioner Judy Dow,
Feb 29, 2008 Introduction Part of the strategy to discredit the authenticity of existing tribal entities such as Koasek and Missisquoi is an appeal to the idea that the “family band” is the original and true basis of Vermont Abenaki polity. In her testimony, Ms. Dow uses the term “family band” in the ethnohistoric sense rather than the bureaucratic or lawyerly sense, in her scholarly refutation of the legitimacy, and hence the
political power of modern village and tribal leadership. In ethnohistory, such defining flows from basic ethnological theory. I have used this cultural anthropological theory extensively in my training, research and publication for over 30 years (see references), and would like to respond, to a limited extent, to Ms. Dow’s premise with citation to a sample of my applicable academically presented and published work. The issue is empirically (the ethnographic and archaeological data), theoretically (functionalism [my theoretical bent as an archaeologist by training] structuralism, post modernism etc.) and politically (competitive access to and control of the Indigenous past) complex, but I will attempt a primer.
The idea that the people now classified by anthropologists as Abenaki functioned only at the band level of sociocultural integration is a dated and simplistic concept (Wiseman 1997a, 1998a, 2001, 2005). There are widely accepted (since the mid 20th century) anthropological meanings for the “traditional societies” classified as band and tribe and the complex society types called chiefdoms and states (Wiseman, 2005). Originally conceived as a neo-evolutionary scheme, the band/tribe/chiefdom /state system later became an ecological or organizational classification. Like many other cultural theoreticians, I have attempted to get beyond this classification, but still find it useful as an introductory teaching and political tool. The defining attributes of each level of sociocultural integration include internal traits such as kinship, economic systems (Rathje, W.L., D.A. Gregory and F.M. Wiseman 1978, Wiseman 2005), subsistence (Wiseman 1983, 1986, 2005) and technological specialization (Wiseman 1992, 2001, 2005), leadership roles (Wiseman 1997a, 2000a) and external relations such as trade and diplomacy (Wiseman 1998a, 1999a, b, 2000a, b, c, 2001a).
Pre-American era complexity
It is my professional opinion that the pre-American and colonial period Abenakis were intermediate between the tribal and chiefdom level of sociocultural integration, but with significant temporal and spatial variation. It is true that extended families (the nuclear family, plus grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins), were the “glue” that held Abenaki society together since the Paleo-Indian Period, but even at that early date, the sophisticated long-range ice-margin seafaring society that existed in the Missisquoi region at 10,200 BP (Wiseman 2005), argues for marine navigating leadership systems at the inter-familial level. Interestingly, archaeologists acknowledge that complex or sophisticated art, and intricate proxemic placement indicates part or full time specialization permitted by subsistence surplus and its organizational redistribution. The Abenakis exhibited this complex level of social organization for 7000 years, perhaps climaxing at the great burial system at Monument Road, Franklin Co. VT, where communally organized and run cemeteries are evidence of corporate activity well above the level of the individual family band (UVM Physical Anthropologist Deborah Blom in Wiseman 2006). The large earthworks of still-unknown date (Wiseman, 2001b, 2005, Timreck and Wiseman, in press) are another distinctive trait that accompanies social organization probably at the chiefdom level (at least in some cases such as those found in the Woodstock and
Rochester, VT areas).
Colonial era complexity
In Post Contact times, groups of extended families were integrated at the village level (i.e. Missisquoi, Koasek, Sokoki, and perhaps Winooski) by large communal structures (and later earth-fast and other European-derived types of multi-family dwellings), subsistence, civilian and military leadership; and at the Alliance level by complex intertribal and international bonds to their Wabanaki relations as well as a larger allied world via the Great Council Fire (Wiseman 1997a; 1998a, 1999a, b; 2000b, c; 2001a, b, 2005). Historic village structures such as landings, dance grounds, council houses, medicine poles, palisades, and their planned placement are material evidence of corporate activity at the supra-family level. The political maintenance of historic cemeteries, witness trees, quarries and portages are evidence of corporate activity, in some cases at a level above that of the village. In this socio/material way, the Abenaki villages organized resource access, chief-making, allocation of warriors to joint military ventures, and trade access to intercultural places such as Tadoussac (later Quebec, then Montreal), Albany, and Springfield, MA. In villages such as Missisquoi and Odanak, which had to socially integrate refugees fleeing genocide in southern New England, pre-existing complex international relations “greased the ways” to allow rapid integration of disparate languages and cultural variations to achieve new syncretic or blended social systems (Wiseman 1997, 2000a, 2001b).
In summaryIndigenous pasts are valuable resources for modern Native People to attempt to control. If the past can be shown to be unsophisticated, then there is a natural assumption on the part of settler governments that their descendents are intrinsically unsophisticated. Thus neocolonial governments believe that they can be oppressed until when and if they learn political sophistication from the “superior” culture. The current political and social power of the various Iroquois nations are, in part, based on the promotion of their political sophistication by pioneer anthropologist Lewis Henry Morgan and his intellectual descendents -- from professors, to institutes to whole academic foci (Wiseman 2005). Modern scholars have largely ignored the fact that the Abenakis were part of an even larger and more diverse political alliance, and the Abenakis have been the poorer for it. I have fought against this intolerant idea that Abenaki (and Wabanaki) societies were naive and unsophisticated, and this defense forms the central political thesis of my works being published by University Press of New England (Wiseman 2001b, 2005 and MSS in prep). That the conflict and its resolution that seems to be ebbing and flowing in the Vermont Indigenous world is basically at the Village or “tribal” (groups composed of many families or lineages) level, is excellent documentation of the 21st century continuance of this ancient complexity. Finally, a peer reviewer of this argument believed that I was too kind in my detailed deconstruction of Ms. Dow’s argumen t:
I think you need to review your conclusion to be sure you deliver the "knock out punch" because I didn't get a clear wrap up. It should end with the clear statement: "therefore Ms. Dow is dead wrong".
Dr. Raymond Lussier, Koasek Band,
March 2, 2008 (this date shows up on the next image)
References (F.M. Wiseman, unless otherwise stated)
Rathje, W.L., D.A. Gregory and F.M. Wiseman Trade models and archaeological problems: Classic
Maya examples. In T.A. Lee and C. Navarrete (eds.), Mesoamerican Communication Routes and Cultural Contacts. New World Archaeological Foundation Papers No. 40:147-175. Provo, UT.
Subsistence and complex societies: the case of the Maya.Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory. VI:143-189.Academic Press. New York.
Palynology of complex societies. Society for Archaeological Sciences. New Orleans, May, 1986
10,000 Native American years in Vermont. Summer Lecture Series, Vermont Historical Society. Calais, VT. August, 1989
Abenaki prehistory and history. "We Vermonters", Fletcher Free Library Series, Burlington VT. February, 1990.
The Material Heritage of the Western Abenaki. The Columbian Legacy Symposium, Goddard College, Plainfield. Oct. 1992
The Western Abenaki Renaissance. Humanities Department symposium, Penobscot Nation, Old Town Maine, October 1993.
(a)“Abenaki History and Ceremony“ Vermont Council on the Humanities Annual Adult Education Conference. Ascutney VT.
(b)New Dawn (with Linda Pearo, Madeline Young, and Jeff Benay) University of Vermont Press. 171 pp.
(a)“The Great Council Fire“. Musee des Abenakis Odanak, Que.
(b)“The Abenaki“ Wabanaki Confederacy Annual Gathering. Odanak, Quebec,
(a)The Great Alliance. Wabanaki Confederacy Annual Gathering. Pleasant Point, ME,
(b)The Last Alliance. Abenaki Symposium. University Of Vermont, Burlington
(a) The Abenakis’ Role in the Great Peace of 1701. Musee de Montreal; Fête des paix
March 28, 2000
(b) “Origin and development of the Wabanaki Confederacy” and “The Council Fire.” Wabanaki Confederacy Annual Gathering, Old Town, ME.
June, 21, 2000
(c)The Abenakis and their political heritage. Heritage Days Celebration, Highgate, VT,
May, 2000 2001
(a)Last Alliance, the Wabanakis and the Great Council Fire. New England Historical
Society, Old Sturbridge Village,
(b)The Voice of the Dawn University Press of New England. Hanover, NH.
(a)Forensic science, sovereignty and ethnography. American Indian Science
and Engineering Society. University of New Hampshire.
April, 12, 2003(b)“Abenaki”, “Abenaki Heritage Days p. 31; “Mahicans” pp. 194-195; “Missisquoi Village” p. 207; “Winoskik” 327 in Duffy, J, S. Hand and R. Orth. Vermont
Encyclopedia University Press of New England, Hanover
The Wabanaki World Vol. I : Decolonizing a taken prehistory of the Far Northeast University Press of New England.
Against the Darkness (CD/DVD Combo. Wôbanakik Heritage Center/Title 7 Indian
Education, Swanton. In press Timreck, Theodore, and Wiseman, FM, Hidden Landscapes, (five part video series) MSS. In Preparation Against the Darkness: the Wabanaki World 1609-1970, and The Data Wars of the Far Northeast: the Wabanaki World, 1970-. University Press of New England
(29.) Dartmouth Historian Colin Calloway, communication to Nancy Millette, 11 Mar 2008
Dartmouth Historian Colin Calloway, the foremost Euro American authority of Vermont Abenaki history, has never, in his researches, heard of Moccasin Village, and does not have anything on the historical Winooski community. In response to a Query by Koasek activist Nancy Millette, he said the following.
From: ************ ****@Dartmouth. EDU (Colin G. Calloway)
To: chiefnaki@comcast. net
Subject: Re: another question
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2008 12:20:34 +0000
Nancy Millette - Doucet:
I'm afraid I did not have much on Winooski and I had not heard of Moccasin Village.
Collin G. Calloway
To: Office of the Attorney General
State of Vermont
Dear Sir:I am becoming increasingly disappointed with the behavior of some members of the VT Indian Commission.
At Friday's hearing, one member (Jeanne Brink) came over to me and asked me why I was sitting with April Merrill and Nancy Millet (sic), then quietly said that if the Senate did not pass the Committee's bill, she was going to recommend no recommendation for anyone. (My husand Robert Kent was sitting between us and heard the conversation.) Further, when giving testimony she stated she was not affiliated with Odanak. I am attaching a news item which indicates differently.
Also, during the past week, numerous private emails which should have passed between Mark Mitchell, chair, and Nancy Millette were published on a Native website (Yahoo Group Message Board) called Abenaki News Issues. When I contacted him, he said he had contacted your office and felt there was no reason or guidelines which prevented him or anyone from doing so. Now (sic) there are rumors that Judy Dow has been saying that April yelled at her and threatened her. For the time I was there, I did not see any such behavior, April raised her voice only to say that Paul Pouliot did not reside in Vermont. Fred Wiseman documented the hearing with video and that should be verifiable through that tape. Together with these incidents, I am very concerned about this commission or these members, handling sensitive information related to recognition. I am seeing dishonesty and a lack of respect for sensitive materials from them. If they are to proceed, I would reccommend that stronger guidelines be in place regarding the handling of submitted materials and communications to and from the Commission. Thank you.
Jeanne Kent, B.F.A., M.A., Ed.
Abenaki (not a chief just an Indian)
Published: Wednesday, October 3, 2007
By Terri Hallenbeck
Free Press Staff Writer
MONTPELIER -- A solution is in the works that could fix in a 2006 Abenaki recognition law, setting up a proceedure for recognizing tribes so artists can market their work as Native American.
A draft proposal tht would require legislative approval would all tribes, bands, or nations to apply to the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs for recognition. The commission would weigh the merits of the application and pass its recommendations along to the Legislature for formal approval.
The Legislature passed a law in 2006 thta recognised the Abenaki as a minority population in Vermont. Soon after, however, it became evident that because the law provided no means for specific bands to gain official state recognition, it failed to meet the federal Indian Arts & Crafts Board standards to allow artists to sell their wares as Native American-made. "I think it will solve the problem," said Jeanne Brink of Barre, an
Abenaki basketmaker who is a member of the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs. She is able to sell her work as Native American as a citizen of the Odanak Reserve in Quebec, but she works with other Vermont Abenaki artists who cannot.
The commission will hold a public hearing on the proposal Oct. 25. Commission Chairman Mark Mitchell of Barnet said he hopes the panel will approve wording in November and send it to the Legislature in January. The 2006 law was heralded as a breakthrough for Vermont Abenaki after efforts to recieve federal or state recognition had failed for many years. The St. Francis/ Sokoki Band of the Abenaki lost its appeal for federal recognition this year. Helping Abenaki market their and crafts as Native American was among the chief goals of the law.
Mitchell worked with Assistant Assistant Attorney General Mike McShane and Suzanne Young, legal counsel to Gov. Jim Douglas, on drafting the proposal. This time, Mitchell said, the group consulted the Indian Arts and Crafts Board along the way. "The board said this would work," he said. McShane said the proposal would allow recognition to be used only for purposes outlined in the 2006 law, which included securing scholarships and selling arts and crafts.
The Douglas administration supports the proposal, Douglas spokesman Jason Gibbs said. Vincent Illuzzi, R- Essex/ Orleans, Senate Economic Development, Housing and Military Affairs Committee chairman, said he hasn't seen the draft, but he backs the idea. "As far as I'm concerned it's something we should have done and should address in 2008, " he said.
According to the proposal, the seven-member commission would establish a proceedure for tribes, bands and nations to apply for recognition. If two-thirds of the commission member determine that the applicant meets the criteria, the commission would recommend to the Legislature that the group be recognized. Members of the commission would not be able to vote on recognition of their own tribes. Mitchell said he didn't know how many applications the commission might receive.
The criteria require that a majority of members, related by blood, inhabit a partiular region in Vermont. Still to be decided is how far back in history they have to be able to trace their roots. Brink , who traces her Abenaki genealogy to the 1600's, said some commission members want the threshold to be 1700 while others prefer 1900. "I'm willing to compromise at 1800," she said.
Brink said recognition allows artists better marketing opprotunities, but can also open other doors. She said recently received an application for an artist-in-residency grant that requiries applicants to meet the federal Indian Arts & Crafts Act requirements.
Contact Terri Hallenbeck at 651-4887 or