Four years later, the Vermont Historical Gazetteer, published Rowland Robinson's "Sketch of the Early History of Ferrisburgh," a town north of Vergennes and south of Burlington near the lower portions of Lake Champlain, about 50 miles south of Swanton. (44.) The only reference to Indians in the excerpt provided was to "three Indian canoes, turned upside down with the paddles under them, and the poles of a wigwam" discovered by three boys "near the mouth of Mud Creek on Little Otter" (Hemenway 1867.00.00, 33). In a footnote, Robinson related that the origin of some Indian place names were explained to him by a man named John Watso, "an intelligent Indian of St. Francois [Quebec]". He also stated "others of the tribe" he had "conversed with" had also given him interpretations of various names (Hemenway 1867.00.00, 33). John Watso, an acquaintance of Robinson's who came from Odanak in Quebec and visited Ferrisburgh with other Indians from that village on a seasonal basis (see Day 1998, 239; 1978, 37-38). There is no available evidence to indicate Watso was part of an Indian group containing the petitioner's ancestors in Vermont or elsewhere.
In 1868, S. R. Hall's Geography and History of Vermont was published. In it, Hall discussed the Indians of Vermont from about 1609 to 1780. On page 100, he referred to the Indians as "formerly owners of the soil." He also stated: "A tribe known as the Iroquois owned the land in the west part of Vermont, and once had numerous inhabitants on the lake and on the rivers that flow into it. Indians from the Cossuck and St. Francis tribes frequented other parts, rather as hunting ground than as a place of permanent residence." He described no Indian group in Vermont after 1780 (Hall 1868).
Two years later, the American Association for the Advancement of Science published George H. Perkins's "On an Ancient Burial Ground in Swanton, Vt." This article discussed the discovery of an ancient Indian burial site in Swanton, which may have pre-dated the arrival of Missisquoi Indians. He explained that a "branch of the Algonquins, the St. Francis Tribe, as they were latterly called, were living on the banks of the Missisquoi River, near Swanton, when the place
42. Since the original page numbers in this document are either missing or illegible, the page number cited refers to the page number of the FAIR image file.
43. The population of Swanton in 1860, according to the website of the Swanton Historical Society, was 2,678.
44. During the latter part of the 19th century, Robinson also wrote a series of semi-fictional sketches of life in Vermont, some of which described sporadic encounters with individual Indians. These sketches, most of which appeared in collected editions during the 20th century, were based on his dealings with a few St. Francis Indians from Odanak who had relocated to or were seasonal visitors in Vermont (See Robinson 1921, 1934; Martin 1955, Day 1978, Dann 2001}. In none of these writings did Robinson allude to the existence of a community of Indians in the Franklin County or elsewhere in Vermont.
Rowland Robinson also kept a journal called "Nature Notes," which described events from his life from about 1879 to 1881. In the pages for February to May 1881, Robinson related an April 30th encounter near Ferrisburgh (located in Addison County, approximately 50 miles from Swanton) with some Indian friends—Joe Tucksoose, Louis Tahmont, and his wife and their baby girl, all of whom he described as Abenaki (Robinson 1879.00.00-1880.00.00). In his semi-fictional sketch "Silver Fields," Robinson described Swasin Tahmont and the people connected to him as migratory Indians from St. Francis in Quebec. Robinson did not depict these individuals as being part of Indian group containing the petitioner's claimed ancestors. in this journal. (46.)
In 1883, Hamilton Child, in the Gazetteer and Business Directory of Franklin and Grand Isle Counties, Vt., wrote that in 1755, "the northern parts of Lake Champlain were in the possession of the St. Francis tribe of Indians, ...and as late as the time of the Revolutionary War, a branch of this tribe had a village at Swanton, consisting of about fifty huts, with a church, Jesuit missionary, and had some land under cultivation." It appears, however, these Indians were no longer living there in 1798, when the "Caughnawaga" Indians advanced a claim for the area (Child 1883.01.00, 38). The author did not describe an Indian community of the petitioner's claimed ancestors as residing in the Franklin County area in 1883. In fact, he indicated that the last Indian entity in the region had left in 1798. According to the petitioner's estimates its claimed ancestors around Franklin County should have numbered over 1,000 in the early 1880's. (47.)
The petition record also contains a copy of the 1891 History of Franklin and Grand Isle Counties, Vermont, edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich. The book claimed the Missisquoi Abenaki occupying the area began "their gradual withdrawal" from the Lake Champlain area after the French and Indian War. Yet, they "continued to occupy" the village at Missisquoi until "at least
45. The population of Franklin County in 1870 was 30,131. No Indians were listed (US Census Bureau 1872). The population of Swanton, according to the website of the Swanton Historical Society, was 2,866. The petitioner did not provide population estimates for the census years of 1870, 1880, and 1890, as part of its "Abenaki Population-statistics for 1790 to 1910.
46. See also Rowland Robinson 1894.11.00.
47. The population of Franklin County in 1880 was 30,225. No Indians were listed (US Census Bureau 1901).
In its 1982 submission, the petitioner described but did not submit a passage from page 79 of Henry K. Adams's 1899 centennial history of St. Albans, a border town in Franklin County, Vermont. The quoted portion read as follows:
Within my own remembrance, a squaw, who [was] assumed to be a descendant of one of the original proprietors of the soil, lingered here for many years on the Burton farm, as the sole representative of her tribe; and she was hopeful the lands of her fathers would be restored to her. Her name was Madam Campo and when she anticipated a business call from the possessor of her assumed heritage, would place a broad green ribbon on her stovepipe hat, and tramp with much dignity, with a pipe in her mouth, in front of her log cabin. But she hoped in vain, like many others from the same source; and finally ... retired from the haunts of civilization. (SSA 1982. 10.00 Petition, 54)
The petitioner argued that the account demonstrated that Madam Campo "received business calls from those who assumed her heritage" and that there were "other Indians in visiting distance" (SSA 1982. 10.00 Petition, 54). An analysis of the passage does not substantiate such a claim. For one, this was a retrospective description of a woman who was only "assumed" by others to be an Indian descendant. The author described Madam Campo as the "sole representative of her tribe," suggesting she was an isolated Indian no longer in tribal relations. The passage also contains the statement that she "anticipated a business call from the possessor of her assumed heritage" suggesting the woman was waiting for a visit, one which did not occur, from the non-Indian person who now owned her land, rather than a social visit from other Indians in the area. Moreover, the petitioner has not presented evidence to demonstrate that any of the current members of the petitioning group descend from Madam Campo. This passage does not describe the petitioner's claimed ancestors, who at the time, according to the group's figures, numbered as many as 1,772 in the Franklin County area and 343 in Saint Albans. Nor does this passage describe any social interaction among those claimed ancestors.
As the above analysis of the local histories shows, the available evidence does not demonstrate that the petitioning group's claimed ancestors lived as a group or as an entity that that was distinct from other populations. Nor does the available evidence demonstrate any social interactions or relationships among these claimed ancestors that might demonstrate community under criterion 83.7(b). The documentation submitted does not provide instances of outside
48. The population of Franklin County in 1890 was 29,641. No Indians were listed (US Census Bureau 1901).
In addition to outside observers not recognizing or describing the group's claimed ancestors as Indians or members of a distinct community, the available evidence indicates that the alleged ancestors themselves were unaware of their existence as an Indian group distinct from the wider society. In 1979, petitioner researcher John Moody advanced this claim:
Despite many strong traditions and the widespread knowledge of Abenaki heritage within the community, few if any outsiders knew its true extent until 1976. As it had been since the early days, the only people who knew of all the families with Abenaki heritage were the central fam1lies like those described here. (Moody 1979, 62; emphasis added)
Yet, as revealed in the petitioner's 1986 submission, which was based on Moody's research, these alleged "central families" constituted only 25 of the 266 various claimed families (SSA 1996.01.17, [Part B, Appendix IA]." (49.) In addition, many of these families, as described later in this section, came from unconnected points of origin, mainly from Quebec and other areas of Canada, and moved to northwestern Vermont over a very long time. Such a collection of disconnected individuals, never described by outsiders before the 1970's as a group with at least some minimal distinction from others, and unknown to most of its members, does not meet the definition of a community under 83. 1, which in part requires that a group's members be differentiated and identified as distinct from nonmembers. The petitioner's reliance on 19th century historical accounts is insufficient because these accounts do not describe such distinctiveness among the group's claimed ancestors.
If the petitioner intends to use local histories, newspapers, and accounts by travelers from the 19th century to demonstrate community, it is encouraged to locate and submit copies of other
FOOTNOTES:49. The petitioner described these families as 25 "central" families, 30 "other" families, 131 "small" families, and 93 "ancestral" families, for a total of 279 rather than 266 families. Presumably there is some overlap or duplication that explains the discrepancy in figures. According to the petitioner "[a]ll of the Central families, half of the Other and one quarter of the small families of the Small families in the present membership" appeared in the Franklin and Grand Isle County records they referenced from 1790 to 1910. And "over fifty of the ancestral families" referenced had "known Abenaki Indian origins and/or ties to the 18th century Missisquoi Abeanki community (SSA 1996.01.17 Part B Appendix IA]. In 1995, the petitioner claimed 20 "core" families for the purpose of descent (SSA' 1995.12.11 [Second Addendum], 10; see criterion 83.7(e) for further details).
School, Church, and Town Records
The local records used by the petitioner to claim the existence of community in. the. 19th century are also unpersuasive. A major problem is that the petitioner has described but not submitted these records, making it very difficult to analyze and validate the group's claims. Yet even as described or listed, the records do not demonstrate that a predominant portion of the petitioner's claimed ancestors maintained social interaction or relationships.
In its 1986 submission, the petitioner provided a "Scholar's List, 1822-1858" for Swanton, Vermont. It described this list of abstracted names as "taken from a periodic census done by the town of Swanton on those families in each school district sending their children to the one room school houses in March of the year cited" (SSA 1996.01.17, Appendix 3, 118). In "most cases," the list contained the name of only the father of the children. The petitioner did not supply the copies of the original public school censuses, and is encouraged to do so. The petitioner further explained "no indication of race was given in these records, but the names found here have been independently confirmed to be Abenaki from other sources" (SSA 1996.01.17, Appendix 3, 118). These other sources were not provided, and the petitioner is encouraged to supply there analysis and verification. According to the petitioner, "most of the individuals cited here appear in the family genealogies and histories found in this Addendum," suggesting that some undetermined number may not appear in those records (SSA 1996.01.17, Appendix 3, 118). An evaluation of the actual names by an OFA researcher indicates that only one person listed, Lewis Colomb, has been identified as having possible descendants among the current members (see criterion 83.7(e)). Two other individuals listed, Richard and Antoine Colomb, may have been Lewis's brothers, but it is unclear from the available evidence if they have descendants among the current membership. These lists of names also do not demonstrate community under criterion 83.7(b), particularly given the small number of identifiable ancestors represented on them, the limited time frame of the records, and narrow geographical area covered. The petitioner has not provided evidence the claimed ancestors who attended this school were a predominant or significant portion of the students during this time. There is no available evidence demonstrating that the school functioned as an important institution in which shared secular or ritual activity took place (83.7(b)(1)(vi)). The petitioner has not provided evidence that significant informal interaction among a broad number of its claimed ancestors occurred at the school (83.7(b)(1)(iii)). Nor has the petitioner explained how its claimed ancestors' activities in this school differed in some way from those of other students (83.7(b)(1)(vii)). In fact, it is unclear whether the petitioner is claiming that all or only some of the names of the students on the school lists were its claimed ancestors. These lists of names from school records do riot indicate the existence or activities of a group of the petitioner's claimed ancestors in northwestern Vermont from 1822 to 1858.
For the period from 1800 to about 1830, the petitioner relied mainly on a few baptismal records from several parishes in Quebec, well north of the Franklin County area of Vermont. As stated before, most historians believe the vast majority of the Missisquoi Abenaki from Vermont had relocated to Saint Francis in Quebec by that time. The Canadian baptismal records, discussed but not submitted by the petitioner, did not describe anyone as being from an Indian group in northwestern Vermont from 1800 to 1830, when the petitioner's claimed ancestors ranged in number, according to the group's statistics, from 207 to 700 people. In most cases, it is impossible to identify the origin of these described people, or if they belonged to an Indian community of any kind (SSA 1982. 10.00 Petition, 58-61). In fact, they may have simply been migrants in the area or traveling Saint Francis Indians from Quebec. That some of these individuals may have shared family-name variations with current members of the petitioner does not demonstrate that they were actually part of or interacting with a group containing the petitioner's ancestors. Nor does the appearance of these random Indian names in baptismal records from Quebec demonstrate that the petitioner's claimed ancestors were interacting as part of a distinct community in northwestern Vermont or anywhere else.
For the post-1830 period, the petitioner has submitted two lists of names of mostly baptismal and a few marriage records from two separate Catholic churches in northwestern Vermont. The petitioner did not submit copies of the original records and is encouraged to do so for analysis and verification. One set of abstracted names is from the Burlington Mission," 1831-1847, which was actually St. Mary's of Burlington, Vermont, in Chittenden County. The other is from St. Mary's Church of St. Albans, 1847-1858, in Franklin County. St. Mary's of Burlington was founded in 1830 with Father Jeremiah O'Callaghan as its first priest. O'Callaghan also provided missionary services to other Catholics in northern Vermont. St. Mary's Church of St. Albans was founded in 1847. No Catholic Church records were available in Vermont before the 1830's, when the first missionaries arrived to serve Vermont's Catholics. The Catholic Church did not establish permanent parishes in the state until the 1850's.
These lists of names do not provide evidence of consistent interactions and significant social relationships as described in 83.7(b) among the petitioner's claimed ancestors. The vast majority of Catholic parishioners in Vermont parishes like those in Burlington and St. Albans were French-Canadians and Irish (Ledoux 1988, 137-139). The only Catholic missionaries appointed
ancestors or if they have descendants in the current group (See criterion 83.7(e)). Moreover, in most cases, claims of Indian identity were based on family-name variations identified by the petitioner, which, as discussed previously, does not demonstrate that these individuals were interacting as part of a distinct and separate community (SSA 1996.01.17, Appendix 5, 134).
The petitioner has not provided evidence its claimed ancestors formed a predominant or significant portion of the parishioners these churches. There no available evidence the churches functioned as places where shared sacred or secular activity took place encompassing most of the group's claimed ancestors (83.7(b)(1)(vi)). The petitioner has not provided evidence that significant informal interaction among a broad number of its claimed ancestors took place at the churches (83.7(b)(1)(iii)). Nor has the petitioner explained how its claimed ancestors' involvement in these churches differed from that of other parishioners. There is no indication from these lists that a significant portion of the petitioner's claimed ancestors may have maintained strong religious beliefs or practices different from those of other church members (83.7(b)(2)(iii)).
If the petitioner intends to use church records to demonstrate criterion 83.7(b), it is encouraged to locate and submit copies of other church records from the Franklin County area during the 19th century. Such records might include membership files, baptismal, marriage, confirmation, and death records, cemetery records, or even records from religious fraternal organizations. The petitioner should examine these records for evidence that demonstrates consistent interactions and significant social relationships among its claimed ancestors which differentiated them from other churchgoers who were not its claimed ancestors. The petitioner might then wish to provide an analysis of these and other submitted documents, perhaps arranged by decade, which traces the activities of its claimed ancestors throughout the 19th century.
In the case of the town records, the petitioner did not provide any of them as part of its 1982 petition because it argued that very few of them existed before the 1840's, and were, therefore, of "limited value" (SSA 1982. 10.00 Petition, 57). In 1986, however, it submitted some "land records lists" of land transfers from Swanton, Highgate, and St. Albans, Vermont. These were petitioner-generated abstracts of lists of individuals taken mostly from sporadic real estate transactions from throughout the 19th century. The petitioner did not provide copies of the original documents, and is encouraged to do so for as many of them as possible for analysis and verification. The petitioner contends this "material is only a small sample of the numerous examples of Abenakis assisting each other to retain lands for familial and community subsistence" (SSA 1996.01.17, Appendix 4, 124). However, the petitioner did not claim these lands were identified as Indian property. It made no assertion that anyone in these documents was described as Indian or Western Abenaki, their Indian identity once again being claimed on unsupported family-name variations, rather than on any evidence that these individuals interacted
While these lists of names from land records might indicate some of the petitioner's claimed ancestors resided or purchased land in Swanton, Highgate, and St. Albans, they do not demonstrate that a predominant portion of them comprised a distinct community in the 19th century. Nor does this list of names from routine real estate transactions show the petitioner's ancestors were involved in some significant economic activity, such as logging or fishing together, aimed at preserving group subsistence (83.7(b)(1)(iv)). The abstracts do not indicate that the individuals were retaining "Indian" or "Abenaki" land. If the petitioner wishes to use land records to demonstrate community, it is encouraged to use them as part of a residency analysis to demonstrate that more than 50 percent of its claimed ancestors resided in a geographical area exclusively or almost exclusively composed of those ancestors, and that the balance of the group's claimed ancestors maintained consistent social interaction with the members of this core community (83.7(b)(2)(i)).
Federal Census Records
The petitioner has provided a set of abstracted census data for 1790 to 1910 it claims demonstrates the existence of an Indian community composed of its claimed ancestors in northwestern Vermont. The petitioner did not submit copies of the actual censuses, and is encouraged to submit these for analysis and verification. An evaluation of the abstracted census data, along with other limited available evidence, does not demonstrate the petitioner's claimed ancestors maintained consistent interactions and significant social relationships with each other, or that they were differentiated from and described as distinct from nonmembers.
The Federal censuses for Vermont from 1860, when the racial category for "Indian" was first used in Vermont, to 1910 never listed more than 30 Indians in the state. None of the petitioner's claimed ancestors was listed as Indian on these censuses (1860 Census St. Albans, Vermont; 1860 Census Swanton, Vermont; US Census Bureau 1864; 1870 Census Highgate, Vermont; 1870 Census Swanton, Vermont; US Census Bureau 1872; 1880 Census Highgate, Vermont; US Census Bureau 1894; 1900 Census Swanton, Vermont; 1900 Census Highgate, Vermont; 1910 Census St. Albans, Vermont; US Census Bureau 1901).
The petitioner claimed some people included in their "census lists" were identified as Abenaki in others sources, presumably by some form of family-name variation. But the group did not provide these sources, and the available evidence does not demonstrate these people had descent from or were connected socially as a group to an Indian entity. The petitioner also described some individuals on the census lists as "highly likely to be confirmed as Abenakis in further research" (SSA 1996.01.17, Appendix 1 B, 26-98). Elsewhere, the petitioner professed that "over fifty of the 93 ancestral families" from its 1986 submission had "known Abenaki Indian origins and/or ties to the 18th century Missisquol Abenaki Community," which implies the other 43 families did not (SSA 1996.01.17, Appendix 1 A, 7). A survey of the families who "were highly likely" to be confirmed as Abenaki at some future date shows the names of such families are dispersed liberally throughout the population lists. This fact indicates the petitioner was
These abstracted census lists do not show that more than 50 percent of the claimed ancestors lived in a geographical area exclusively or almost exclusively composed of those claimed ancestors (83-7(b)(2)(i)). They were living dispersed among other non-member families in the Franklin County area, families which the petitioner has not described. Other evidence in the record indicates these neighborhoods were probably largely French-Canadian (Vicero 1971.00.00, 290-294; Hamon 1891, 194-198, 227-228). The petitioner has not provided evidence that significant informal interaction among a broad number of its claimed ancestors occurred in the neighborhoods listed in the abstracted census records (83-7(b)(1)(iii). Nor has the petitioner explained how its claimed ancestors in these areas differed in some way from other residents (83.7(b)(1)(vii)).
Finally, by relying on unsupported family-name variations to construct a historical community rather than evidence of actual consistent interactions and significant social relationships, the petitioner has described a collection of people whose migration and demographic patterns do riot demonstrate the behavior of a group of people who comprised a distinct community. For example, the petitioner contends that its claimed ancestors in 1800 numbered 207 people in 38 families, 19 neighborhoods, and 11 towns in the Franklin County area. By 1810, the number of ancestors had more than doubled to 591 people in 96 families, 25 neighborhoods, and 11 towns. Just 10 years later, however, the claimed group had shrunk to 316 people in 50 families, 23 neighborhoods and 2 islands, and 7 towns. But by 1830, the number of claimed ancestors morel than doubled in size to 700 people in families, and 11 towns. In 1840, they rose in number to 912 people in 154 families, 37 neighborhoods, and 10 towns. Ten years later, 924 people lived in 169 families, but the number of neighborhoods had fallen, without explanation, to 27 in 10 towns. In 1860, the totals had climbed to 1,282 people in 235 families, 32 neighborhoods, and 8 towns (the number of people in Swanton doubled in this time). The petitioner provided no figures for 1870 to 1890, and it unclear why it did not. In 1900 the number of claimed ancestors reached 1,322 people in 243 families, 27 neighborhoods, and 8 towns, but also included an unexplained "2 or 3 three groups of 100-150 each living in the Islands, St. Albans Bay and Swanton/Highgate" for a total of 1,522 to 1,772 (SSA 1996.01.17, Appendix IA, 8-9). Such drastic fluctuations in the group's claimed ancestral population, often over a 10-year period, without any reasonable explanation of the social forces causing them, raises serious questions regarding the behavior of the petitioner's claimed ancestors in the 19th century. A community of people who have consistent interactions and significant social relationships with each other, and who have existed on a substantially continuous basis as required by the regulations, do not come and go so easily without reason. Therefore, the census data, for the reasons stated above, do not demonstrate the petitioner constituted a historical community as defined under criterion 83.7(b).
The petitioner's genealogical research as presented does not demonstrate that a predominant portion of the group's claimed ancestors comprised a distinct community during the 19th century. Generally, vital records are used as evidence for criterion 83.7(e), but they can in some circumstances have application as supporting evidence for certain aspects of criterion 83.7(b), such as demonstrating kinship ties and significant rates of patterned marriage among a group's members. In the petitioner's case, its assertions regarding kinship and marriage cannot be adequately analyzed or validated because the group did not provide any copies of primary vital documents such as birth records, baptismal certificates, marriage licenses, military documents, or death records for either its present-day members or its claimed ancestors. According to the petition, sources for data cited in the family history files and oral histories, including "Abenaki" and non-Indian "oral tradition" and other material, were supposed to be part of an Addendum C in the 1986 petition. The petitioner, however, never submitted these records (SSA 1996.01.17, Appendix 2, 99; Salerno 2001.10.23). The petitioner is encouraged to submit copies of vital records which demonstrate their case for criteria 83.7(e) and (b).
Despite the lack of documentation, some preliminary conclusions about its claimed ancestors can be drawn from the petitioner's limited evidence. The available evidence indicates the petitioner's claimed ancestors did not move to Vermont as a group; rather, they came as individual, unrelated families from different or unknown origins over an extended period of time. This does not demonstrate that the petitioner's claimed ancestors comprised a distinct community that has existed from historical times, as required by criterion 83.7(b). For instance, an analysis of the petitioner's family descendant charts from the 1986 submission reveals the petitioner's claimed ancestral families began moving to Vermont over many years in the early 19th century, in a disconnected fashion. These families continued moving to Vermont in a very gradual fashion until well into the 20th century. Many came from unknown places in Quebec or separate locations in the province like Waterloo, Saint Regis, Saint Gregoire, Iberville County, Saint Hyacinthe, Saint Dominique, or Saint Armand. Others came from Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, or Rhode Island (Appendix A: Information Chart on Petitioner's Claimed Ancestors; see also VER 2002-12.00-2003.01.00 Response, 133-136). There is no available evidence showing these families interacted with each other as part of a community in Canada or the United States before they took up residence in Vermont, or as part of one distinct in some way from the wider society after they arrived in Vermont.
If the petitioner intends to use vital records from its genealogical research to demonstrate community under criterion 83.7(b), it is encouraged to submit photocopies of marriage licenses, birth certificates, and death records, and to use those documents as part of a marriage-rate analysis, perhaps arranged by decade, for its claimed ancestors and current members from historical times to the present (see for example, the Jena Band of Choctaw Proposed Finding 1995). Under criterion 83.7(b)(2)(ii), evidence that at least 50 percent of the marriages in the group are between members of the group shall be considered sufficient evidence of community at a given point in time. If the rates of marriage within the group fall below 50 percent but are still significant, then they may provide supporting evidence of community under criterion 83.7(b)(1)(i).
The evidence does not support the petitioner's claimed ancestors evolved from a Missisquoi Abenaki community that remained in northwestern Vermont after 1800. The available evidence does not demonstrate that the petitioner's claimed ancestors from the 19th century descended from a Western Abenaki Community that originated in Canada and later migrated as a group to Vermont in the 19th century. The available evidence does not demonstrate those claimed ancestors were part of a community distinct in some way from the wider society in northwestern Vermont. Nor does the available evidence show a predominant portion of petitioner's claimed ancestors during this time maintained consistent interactions and significant social relationships. Thus, the petitioner does not meet the requirements of criterion 83.7(b) from 1800 to 1900.
To demonstrate that a predominant portion of the petitioner's claimed ancestors did comprise a distinct community that existed during the 19th century, the petitioner is encouraged to provide analyses based on primary evidence, copies of primary documentation, and other evidence that shows those claimed ancestors meet the definition of community as set forth in criterion 83.1.
The submission of primary documentation is crucial in order to establish that the petitioner's claimed ancestors are indeed their ancestors. Further, the petitioner is encouraged to review criterion 83.7(b)(1) and (2) for examples of what types of evidence might be useful. The petitioner needs to demonstrate that the group's claimed ancestors lived in a community that others viewed as distinct from other populations during the 19th century. In general, what is missing from the petition is a discussion of how the claimed ancestors interacted with each other as a group during this time. The petitioner needs to show these claimed ancestors were participants in a continuously existing group and doing things together, such as making decisions, having and resolving disputes, perhaps marrying one another, maintaining property such as a cemetery, or any number of other activities that show them acting together. These might include, but are not limited to, discussions of the group's sacred or secular rituals, kinship ties, group meetings or projects, land management activities, and specific examples of social interaction between members. The petitioner needs to show its claimed ancestors interacting with each other, in addition to describing activities and events. Moreover, the analysis and evidence should address interaction across the claimed ancestral families and not just interaction among members of a single family.
Comments Regarding the Petition, 1900-1940
The petitioner's 1982 petition narrative makes several claims to the presence of a distinctly Native-American community in and around the Swanton/Highgate/St. Albans area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Evidence presented by the petitioner includes, but is not limited to, numerous excerpts from oral histories and interviews, abstracts of local church records and birth certificates, a videotape of a television show in which some group members are interviewed, and a collection of objects purported to have been manufactured during the early 20th century by the petitioner's ancestors. The State disputes the petitioner's claims and has submitted evidence including, but not limited to, copies of birth, death, and marriage certificates of individuals identified by the petitioner as ancestral to the group copies of Federal census
The petitioner has submitted many claims about the composition of the group in the early part of the 20th century, which it argues demonstrates there was a community of Abenaki living in the Swanton area. However, another major flaw of this claim is the number and type of documents that have been referenced or quoted in the SSA petition, but not submitted. These documents include (but are not limited to) at least four interviews and oral histories referenced in the petitioner's 1986 Response to the Letter of Obvious Deficiencies ("1986 Response"), (50.) the field notes of one of the petitioner's main researchers, and one large, multi-sectioned appendix to the petitioner's 1986 Response. Documents are referred to or abstracted, but copies are not included in the petitioner's submission. A document included with the group's 1995 petition submission stated that these documents were being intentionally withheld by the group "...because of the incident involving the Attorney General of the State of Vermont obtaining membership and other sensitive information on Abenaki members in the late 1980's . . ." (SSA 1995.12.11 [Second Addendum], 5). (51.) However, abstracts of documents compiled by the petitioner are inadequate. Departmental researchers need to examine documents for what they contain, not just what the petitioner claims they contain. The State has submitted copies of some of the original documents which the petitioner did not include, and when these records are examined, they do not support the petitioner's claims. The problems related to the petitioner's documents are not simply matters of interpretation of the meaning of document texts; rather, the petitioner's arguments are often demonstrably erroneous when the original documents are examined.
The problems associated with the petitioner's arguments can be demonstrated by the following example. On pages 81 to 82 of the 1982 Narrative, (52.) the petitioner states the following: "The 1870 census for that town [Grand Isle] lists William and Mary Cowin, both twenty-eight years old, as basketmakers, and they appear again in the 1880 census as William and Mary Obumsawin, a well known Abenaki name from Missisquoi. . . ." (53.) In this instance, the petitioner did not submit any copies of the census for examination. However, the 1870 and 1880 censuses were located and examined by Department researchers. The original documents demonstrate that the petitioner's assertions cannot be supported. The 1870 census of Grand Isle does not list any "Mary Cowin" in 1870, only a "William Cowin, 28, Male, Indian, born in Canada."(US Census 1870, Grand Isle County, Vermont) The 1880 census of Grand Isle, Vermont, lists "William Bomsawin, Male, Married, Indian, 46, born in Canada." His wife was listed as "Mary Bomsawin, Female, Married, Indian, 39, born in Canada." (US Census 1880, Grand Isle County, Vermont) The petitioner attempts to identify the "Mary Obumsawin" on the 1880 census as "Mary Maurice [Moritz] from Missisquoi" (SSA 1982. 10.00 Petition, 82), without any marriage certificates, birth records, family Bibles, or other documentation giving the maiden name of
50. See FAIR Image File SSA-PFD-VO05-D00 I.
51. For more information about this case, see the Administrative History.
52. See FAIR Image File SSA PFD V002-D0021.
53. This name is also spelled "Obomsawin," and "Obomsawin." It is a well-known Abenaki name among people who trace their ancestry back to the Odanak, or St. Francis, reservation in Canada.
mixed)," "Japanese," and "Chinese" would be stricken, leaving the categories of "Indian" and "White" on the page. Four certificates appear to indicate that the children were "White" and or as "Indian," while another six could be interpreted either as "White" or as Indian" and "White" depending on the interpretation of the strike marks. Four children appear to be "Indian-White Chinese," an obvious error, given the known information about the petitioner. One record has every identifier crossed out, while three have none crossed out. One has all the qualifiers except "Black" clearly stricken. One child is identified only as"White." Several copies of the record are difficult to read. Additional birth certificates and records provided by the State indicate that many times, full siblings were recorded differently, even when the informant was the child's father. Neither the State nor the petitioner included other birth certificates from other people in the area to demonstrate whether other children's ethnic identities were recorded in the same fashion.
Further, the petitioner maintains that Cordelia Brow was an active midwife in the area at the time, and was at least "partly" responsible for the recording of these individuals as "Indian." However, this theory is not demonstrated by the evidence presented in the documents. Three medical doctors are identified on the birth records as providing information for the birth certificates (A. Parenault is recorded on three certificates, C. E. Allen on two, and E. R. Lape on one). Two other individuals (A. L. Cross and H. H. Pierce 54 ) are also listed as informants on one certificate each. Mrs. John Brow (Cordelia Freemore Brow) is listed as the informant for one child, Emma St. Francis (St. Francis, Emma 1916.04.24[BC]). (55.) The other eleven informants were the children's fathers, including three sons of Mrs. Brow who were listed as the informants for their own children. Therefore, the only documentary evidence presented regarding any involvement of Mrs. Brow in the delivery of a baby was her name on the birth record for one child.
There is no other information in the submission that attributes the ambiguous recording of the ethnicity of these 20 children to any involvement by Cordelia Brow. Although she may have delivered the occasional baby (which would not have been uncommon for a rural woman in the United States), there is no information identifying Mrs. Brow as an active midwife responsible for the recording of births in the town records.
Indians in Vermont, 1900-1940
The petitioner has presented descriptions and photographs of several items that it maintains demonstrates the vitality of its ancestral community during the early 20th century. These items are included in a "catalog" of artifacts in the petitioner's museum that it maintains were made by Abenaki Indians. It is not clear, however, that anyone other than the petitioner has identified these articles as "Abenaki." However, the petitioner has not demonstrated these items originated in a Swanton-based community, rather than a collection of objects manufactured by Abenaki
54. A "Dr. Pierce" is named in the excerpt of an interview with a former midwife (SSA 1986.05.23 [Addendum 13], 111).
55. Genealogical information included in the petition indicates that Emma was Cordelia's first cousin, thrice removed.
The petitioner submitted a copy of a picture postcard of a man fishing from a small boat. The photograph is undated, but the petitioner has estimated that it was taken around 1900. The postcard is inscribed with the caption "Chief of the Wabanacus, Highgate Springs, Vt." (Catalog, Wiseman, 2005, npn). The petitioner maintains that this document is "a Euroamerican technology (postcard) explicitly listing a status position (chief), cultural identifier- (`Wabanacus, a mis-hearing of an indigenous pronunciation of 'Abenaki'), and a northwestern Vermont location" (Wiseman 2005.00.00, npn). However, there are several problems with the petitioner's interpretation, namely that the postcard's meaning for purposes of determining tribal status is, at best, vague, and cannot be linked with any surety to the petitioner or any particular Indian tribe or individual. Therefore, the title of "chief' on a souvenir tourist postcard without any other documentation supporting the identity of the person in the photograph cannot be taken as an indicator of political status. Many tourist items from all over the country used (and still use) the term "chief' to describe any male Indian, just as they might use the term "princess" to describe any young female in tribal regalia. Further, the postcard appears as if the name of the individual had been scratched out, and the petitioner has offered no identification of this man, even though his face is visible. If this man was a "chief" of a Highgate Springs Abenaki community, then the petitioner should be able to provide a name for him, and describe at least some of the actions carried out under his leadership. The petitioner has offered no such information regarding this individual.
The petitioner includes a reference to an interview with a non-Indian, non-member named Alice Roy of Barre, Vermont. In this interview, Ms. Roy is said to have remembered her father describing a visit to "the Indians in northern Vermont, with descriptions of clothing and housing ... about 1910-1912." According to the petitioner, this demonstrates "that the Abenaki community was widely known, at least to the Vermont francophone community, or Alice Roy's father would not have known where it was located" (Wiseman, 2005.00.00, npn). Again, the petitioner did not submit a copy or transcript of the interview. (56.) Regardless, the petitioner's description of the interview is unpersuasive. The petitioner says only that Ms. Roy's father visited "the Indians" in northern Vermont, without giving the name of any particular town in the area, or any tribal identification for the Indians he is supposed to have visited. Without any explanation of where in northern Vermont this supposed community was located, it is not possible to state that Ms. Roy was referring to the petitioner's claimed ancestors.
The contention that the Roy interview demonstrates that "the Abenaki community was widely known, at least to the Vermont francophone community," is unsubstantiated. No interviews, newspaper articles, or other documents in French or English submitted by the petitioner
56. The "catalog" also makes reference to another interview, also not included with the petition, in which Ms. Roy and Professor James Petersen "share personal and family stories of Vermont's Gypsies in the 1920's and 1930's. Roy indicated that the Franco-Vermont community knew the Gypsies were Indians" (Wiseman, 2005.00.00, npn). Without the text of the interview, there is no way to know just what Ms. Roy actually said. Further, there is no explanation of just how it was that the "Franco-Vermont" community obtained this information, or why there are no references to this in any additional interviews or in any documents submitted by the petitioner.