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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

State of VT's Response to Petition for Federal Acknowledgment of the St. Francis/Sokoki Band of the Abenaki Nation of Vermont: Pages 67 to 74:

Twentieth Century Claims of Abenaki Continuity
There is very little to say about the Abenakis in Vermont in the twentieth century
until the 1970's. From 1900 to 1974 they were invisible, if they were here at all. Most of the twentieth century material will be addressed in response to the specific criteria, but a brief overview here will provide background.
There was no noticeable Abenaki community in Vermont, let alone Franklin County, from 1900 to 1970. It was only in 1970, with the increase in ethnic consciousness across the U.S., that Abenakis became detectable. In 1974 a group of individuals re-constituted the tribe and created a tribal Council. The petition credits the associations made through Veterans groups after WWII as the immediate precursor to the social and political reorganization of the St. Francis/Sokoki Band of Missisquoi in the 1970's (Petition Addendum: 123). The petitioner concedes this was re-creation, re-emergence, and re-organization of the community (Petition Addendum: 126). One of the first things the Tribal Council did was push for state recognition. Its efforts led to the Baker report to the Governor of Vermont in November, 1976. 45. This report prompted the outgoing Governor Thomas Salmon's to issue an Executive Order recognizing the Abenakis in Vermont. State recognition was short-lived. Two months later, in January, 1977, newly elected Governor Richard Snelling revoked the Executive Order.

The Eugenics Survey of Vermont
The Second Addendum to the Petition, filed with the BIA in 1995, lists one of its
45. The reaction to the Balser report by scholars of Abenaki history and ethnology is discussed below in the section on Criterion (a): 1974 to 1981.
sources as the Vermont Eugenics Survey (Second Addendum:9). The Second Addendum describes the survey as an "insidious and discriminatory program" aimed at "the eradication of mental and moral 'defectives' within the community." It states that despite this, the archives of the survey are "extremely valuable in demonstrating the ancestry of the Native-Americans in Vermont who were especially targeted to be victims of this program" (Second Addendum:9). The notion that Indians were targeted by the Eugenics Survey is but a mere mention in the petition: however the idea has loomed large in the petitioner's public arguments for tribal acknowledgment. The ways in which the petitioner has exploited the Eugenics Survey are explained below and in the Affidavit of J. Kay Davis, which is attached to this Response.
For example, in a press packet entitled "The New Vermont Eugenics Survey,"
released in February 2002, Frederick Wiseman, an Abenaki spokesman, wrote:

Once long ago, in the 1920's, post WWI tide of xenophobia turned inward to haunt inter-ethnic relations in the "the whitest state in the union." Dr. Henry Perkins of the University of Vermont and a group of Anglo intellectual and civic leaders founded the Vermont Eugenics Survey. Its purpose was to study Eugenics Survey. study groups of Vermonters (called the "unfortunates"), who by their very existence needed more state assistance, social programs, institutionalization, legal fees, etc than the "old stock" Anglo Vermonters. In order to stem this "drain" of resources, the survey began a study of the family histories of "horse trading, basketmaking" Abenaki lineages. The Eugenics Surveys dream was realized in 1931, when Vermont passed the Act for Voluntary Sterilization. (Wiseman 200-2:1).

Wiseman's book, Voice of the Dawn, is filled with similar rhetoric geared to bolster public support for federal acknowledgment. There he sought to explain away the invisibility and lack of information about the Abenakis by blaming the Eugenics Survey:
Soon the lens of genocide was trained on the Gypsies, Pirates, and River Rats, 46. as well as other ethnic groups. Employing the latest genealogical research and statistical record keeping techniques, the survey added new technologies to the list of ancient genocidal procedures used by New English authorities against the Abenakis. In addition, they provided social and police organizations with lists of families to "watch." Unfortunately, the social gulf between elite Anglo culture and the village dwelling River Rats and Pirates was not so wide that they could entirely escape notice. Major Abenaki families at Missisqoui were especially at risk. The more "hidden" families and the Gypsies partially escaped unheeded—for a while. But then began ethnic conflict incidents as Gypsies and Pirates had their children taken from them. The theft of children and the hatred emanating from the burning cross and Ku Klux Klan rallies are still recalled by Abenaki and French Canadian elders in Barre, Vermont. Any family who still had thoughts about standing forth as Abenaki, due to the tourists' continued interest in our arts and culture quickly retired to obscurity as the tide of intolerance rose. We continually needed to be on our guard with the police, the tax man, and the school board, the eves and ears of the survey. (Wiseman 2001:147-48).

The notion that the Eugenics Survey caused the Abenakis to hide their Indian
identities became current in the late 1990's when it made its way into a history kit published history by the Vermont Historical Society in 1998:

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

From the 1920's through the 1940's the Eugenics Survey of Vermont... sought to "improve" Vermont by seeking out "genetically inferior peoples" such as Indians, illiterates, thieves, the insane, paupers, alcoholics, those with harelips, etc....As a result of this program, Abenaki had to hide their heritage even more. They were forced to deny their culture to their children and grandchildren. (Vermont Historical Society 1998:31).
46. The first annual report of the Eugenics Survey used the terms, "Gypsy," and "Pirate" to describe Survey "Gypsy," some of the families it portrayed. The term "River Rat" is not found in the reports (Eugenics Survey of Vermont 1927:8).
The concept of the eugenics survey driving the Abenakis underground was trumpeted again at the time of Chief Homer St. Francis's death in 2001. One newspaper article reporting on St. Francis's passing said:

The tribe that St. Francis grew up in was one that had been devastated by European settlement and driven underground by racism. That racism found its purest expression in the "eugenics" campaign of the 1920s and '30s, which promoted the sterilization of Abenaki and other groups of Vermont's undesirables." (Burlington Free Press 7/9/2001).

However, the argument was never made by any scholars of Indian history in Vermont before 1991. Jean S. Baker's Report to Governor Salmon in 1976 does not mention it, nor does Ken Pierce's 1977 History of the Abenaki People. John Moody's manuscript on Missisquoi in 1979 does not insinuate any link between the Eugenics Survey and the invisibility of the Abenakis; he doesn't even mention the survey. This is very surprising since all three of these authors based their writings on extensive interviews with people claiming Abenaki heritage. All three of them earned the trust of their informants, yet they never disclosed the survey as a significant factor in Abenaki history.
Most importantly, neither the original petition for federal acknowledgment, filed in 1982, or the first Addendum to the Petition filed in 1986 contains any mention of the Survey. Only the Second Addendum, dated 1995, refers to it, but without any of the arguments of its effect on the invisibility of Abenaki families. To unpack the building of this myth, a more detailed examination of the Eugenics Survey of Vermont is required.
Established in 1925, the Eugenics Survey was one of many undertaken in the United States during the 1920's and 1930's. Vermont's was headed by Henry F. Perkins, Chairman during by of the University of Vermont's Zoology Department. The Survey issued five reports between 1927 and 1931. It conducted surveys of town and surveys of people. It created
genealogical pedigree charts of twenty-two families in depth, and began charts for dozens more (Dann 1991:6, Gallagher 1998). The survey led to the creation, by Henry Perkins, of the Vermont Commission on Country Life (Dann 1991:6, 17-19).
One focus of the Eugenics Survey was the physical and mental condition of the
Vermont population. The authors saw embarrassingly large numbers of Vermonters rejected from military service in World War I on physical and mental grounds. State officials wanted to know why so many were rejected (Ainsworth 1944:11 ). The State officials were also concerned about the population losses due to emigration out of the state, and the lack of industrial changes in Vermont compared with other New England states (Ainsworth 1944:10-11). Meanwhile, they saw rural towns becoming depopulated, causing a deterioration of the social structure (Gallagher 1999:45.)
The reports of the survey and its work led to further study of population trends by the Vermont Commission on Country Life. That Commission attempted to answer these questions: What are the motives of those who left the state? What are the motives and vocational choices of those who stayed in Vermont') What are the motives of those who have moved into the state and what contributions have they brought? (Perkins, H.:1930:2-3 ). Survey authors advocated reforms in family welfare, public health, economic aid to rehabilitation, and education, but also endorsed sterilization as a matter of social policy (Ainsworth: 17).
One method used by the Eugenics Survey to analyze population trends in Vermont was to classify towns by certain characteristics. In a section of the survey papers labeled "Towns Suggested for Study," is a map labeling towns as "declined in some way," "desirable or progressive," "outlanders," "summer people," or "original stock" (Eugenics Survey of
Vermont [1929]). In the northwestern part of the state, the area where the Abenaki claims are greatest, two towns were labeled for study because they had "declined in some way." These were Swanton and Fairfax. The narrative descriptions accompanying the map indicate the reasons for examining them—and they have nothing to do with possible Indian populations. Rather, Fairfax was suggested for study to determine "why the theological seminary left and what was the effect of its departure on the town" (Eugenics Survey of Vermont [1929]). The reasons Swanton was cited for study were succinct:

Swanton presents an interesting problem. During the war, there was a large shirt (?) factory there and the town was thriving. Now the factory stands empty, and in spite of the fact that there is apparently everything to do with water power. some marble, and available building the town is on the decline.
It would be interesting to see whether or not the town was pushed beyond its capacity during the war or whether it still has possibilities for a steady prosperity. (Eugenics Survey of Vermont [ 1929]).

There is nothing in these descriptions that would lead one to believe the targets of the Eugenics Survey were areas of Indian habitation. Furthermore, the nearby towns of Highgate, Franklin, and Sheldon, claimed to be havens for Abenaki families, were not suggested for study at all.
The only other northwestern Vermont towns suggested for study were on the Lake Champlain Islands: North Hero, Grand Isle, and Alburgh. All three were labeled as having summer people and outlanders. They are noted as having two distinct classes of people—old settlers and new French Canadian families. The survey notes that population was declining as most of the young people were leaving. Once again there is no mention of Indians (Eugenics Survey of Vermont [1929]).
There is nothing in the Eugenics Survey papers that indicates that Indians were targeted by the survey. If any group was targeted, it was the French Canadians (Davis
Affidavit, Attachment A:9). The Third Annual Report of the Eugenics Survey of Vermont published in 1929, included a list of "Some English Corruptions of French Names." The survey printed this list because "the spelling of a name is seen to change through successive generations. It is easy to see that such discrepancies might throw one off the track for a long time. The implication is that the surveyors were particularly interested in following the French Canadian "track" (Eugenics Survey of Vermont 1929:5). Perkins was enthusiastic about studying French Canadians. He sought grants to further the study of this group, and hoped to develop data correlating the degree of French-Canadian ancestry with "mental testing, educational attainment, and various cultural factors"  (Gallagher 1999:95). Vermont's focus on French Canadians continued into the 1930's. The Works Progress Administration guide, Vermont: A Guide to the Green Mountain State said that "[s]ince 1900 the largest single immigrant group has been the French-Canadian. As early as the 1930's this element began replacing the Yankee farmers in the northernmost tier of counties; today they constitute approximately one-quarter of the population there (including second generation) as compared with thirteen percent of the State's total" (Works Progress Administration 1937:51). This group was by far the largest of any immigrant group. 47. An impressive study of racial interaction in Vermont arose out of the midst of the Eugenics Survey. This was Elin Anderson's We Americans: A Study of Cleavage in an Eugenics Survey American City (1937). While Anderson had worked under Perkins for the eugenics survey for seven years, she brought an entirely different interpretation to the material. Rather than years
47. After the French-Canadians' thirteen percent portion. the next largest group was the non-French Canadians, which comprised three per cent of the state's population. No other group even reached one percent (Works Progress Administration 1937:52).
promote the pioneer-stock Yankees as the epitome of society, she exposed their narrow-mindedness toward other ethnic groups (Anderson 1937:155-56). Her study sought to understand the reasons for cleavages within communities, to determine the extent to which they were ethnically based, and to look for ways to move beyond those divisions. Anderson began by surveying a sample of residents from six of Burlington's ethnic groups: French-Canadian, Irish, Germans, Italians, Jews, and Yankee "Old Americans" (Anderson 1937:272). They were surveyed using a set of questions that inquired into the extent the immigrant groups interacted with each other, were assimilated into the mainline culture, or were intentionally kept separate.
The model Survey form was designed for French-Canadians, the others were
adaptations of it (Eugenics Survey of Vermont [1932-1936]). This main shows the prominence of the focus on French-Canadians as the dominant immigrant group. One question specifically listed fourteen other ethnic groups and asked for the respondent's perception of them. The fourteen groups listed included French Canadians, Irish, Americans/Yankees, English Canadians, Italians, Jews, Germans, Syrians, French, Scottish, Greeks, English, Scandinavians, Chinese, and Negroes (Eugenics Survey of Vermont [1932-1936]). There was no surveying of attitudes toward Abenaki Indians, or Native Americans of any kind. They were not enough of a recognizable entity in Burlington in the 1930's to be part of the study.
The first published source to draw a connection between the Eugenics Survey and the Abenakis was Kevin Dann's 1991 article in Vermont History, "From Degeneration to Regeneration: The Eugenics Survey of Vermont, 1925-1936." There Dann noted a connection between the survey and the Abenaki:

State of VT's Response to Petition for Federal Acknowledgment of the St. Francis/Sokoki Band of the Abenaki Nation of Vermont: Pages 57 to 64:

By the forays of their enemies, the warlike Iroquois, and the encroachment of the whites, the Zoquageers were gradually driven from Vermont, and their last village of consequence within its limits, was on Missisque Bay, in the present town of Alburgh. They had, for the most part, removed before the Revolution to the St. Francois River, in Canada, where the survivors of this once powerful tribe now live, commonly known as the St. Francois Indians, though, they style themselves as of old, Zoquageers and Abenakees, or as they pronounce it, Wau-ban-a-kees. (Robinson 1867:31).

This testimony is made all the more reliable by the confirmation of the Watso family name in records of Odanak/St. Francis in the 1870's. The Watsos were residents of the Quebec reserve, and some members of that family are listed on the reserve's 1875 census as absent in the United States (Canada, Indian Affairs 1875).
A further sign that these Indians were visitors comes from Robinson's accounts of the news these visitors brought him of friends who lived at Odanak/St. Francis (Robinson 1921b:135-37). For example, in May 1881, Robinson wrote in his journal that Louis Tahmont, an Abenaki from St. Francis, told him that his brother, Swasin Tahmont, has "gone by the strong water stream' to happier hunting grounds than these. I knew him well, and then, 25 years ago, he would not touch whiskey" (Robinson 1879-81). Obviously, Robinson had not seen his friend for 25 years, since Swasin did not live near Ferrisburgh; he lived in Canada. The connection of these individuals to Odanak/St. Francis is nowhere more evident than in a letter Robinson wrote in 1894 to Joseph Laurent, the Chief of the St. Francis Abenaki, in which he said:

Years ago I knew several of your people—John Wadso and his sons Thomas and Samuel—his father called him [Dodosen?]—also Swasin Tahmont and his family, and [   ] Louis Tahmont and Joseph Tucksoose. Please remember me to such of them as are living. (Robinson 11/1894).

Another mark that signifies these Indians are not living in Vermont is their
connection to New York State. In his journal entry of April 30, 1881, Robinson relates his
visit with Joe Tucksoose and Louis Tahmont (Robinson 1879-81). 41. He wrote that Tucksoose had served in a New York Regiment of the Union Army. There were members of both the Tahmont and Toxus families in New York State near Lake George in the federal census records for 1900, listing their parents' birthplace as Canada (U.S. Bureau of the Census 1900a).

Further corroboration that Robinson's Indian friends usually lived elsewhere and only occasionally came through Vermont is apparent in his search for the Indian names for rivers, mountains, and natural places in Vermont. His many inquiries and discoveries of native place names are recorded in his journal entries, his letter to Chief Laurent, and stories like "Sobapsqua" and "On a Glass Roof." He was enamored of the Indian language, as this passage reveals:

"Thompson's Point" is not a good name for a noble headland, but it is better
that it should have borne it for a hundred years than half a dozen that are no more significant.

The Waubanakees called it "Kozoapsqua," the "Long Rocky Point," and the noticeable cleft promontory opposite *'Sobapsqua," the "Pass through the Rock," names which might well have been retained, and perhaps would have been if our pioneer ancestors had not so bitterly hated the Indians and all that pertained to them. There was cause enough for this hatred, but one wishes it had not been carried so far when the poverty of our ancestors' nomenclature is considered and the few surviving names of Indian origin remind us how easily we might have been spared the iteration of commonplace and vulgar names that cling to mountain, river, and lake. (Robinson 1921a:89-90).

Robinson took every opportunity to learn Indian names; he also enlisted the aid of his nephew William Robinson in this word search, as Bill was living in Montreal. ________________
41. Although the cover of the journal states it spans 1879 to 1880, it actually contains entries through 1889.
42. There are two existing letters from William Robinson to Rowland E. Robinson in the Rokeby Museum's collection of Robinson letters housed at the Sheldon Museum in Middlebury, Vermont.
Montreal, Bill found four old Abenakis who had fought in the Battle of Plattsburgh in the War of 1812 and "have spent many of their days along old Pe-tow-boroke" (Lake Champlain). This is another indication that Indians who had previously lived in Vermont had retired to Canada (Robinson, W.:1/14/1880). It once again confirms that the sources of Indian knowledge of Vermont during the late nineteenth century were primarily located elsewhere.
All of this effort indicates that Robinson was unable to find any local Indians in Vermont to supply him with Indian place names. The fact that someone of his diligence could not find any informants on Indian words in western Vermont in the 1880's and 1890's implies they were not present. If they had been there, one would expect his traveling Indian friends to have told him about them. 43.
Petitioner explains the absence of a visible Indian community by arguing that the Vermont Abenakis settled down, adopted white man's ways, and joined the white man's economy (Petition:71). The problem with this explanation is that it doesn't square with other information in the petition. There is plenty of evidence that petitioner's ancestors held the same sort of jobs that whites held in Franklin County: grocer, stone cutter, farm laborer (Petition:74, 76). But this does not mean that Abenakis were acting like whites. It is equally
42. (continued) One is dated Sept. 13, 1895, the other Jan. 14, 1880. See Rokeby's collection of Robinson family letters, Box 8, folder 27; Box 6, folder 16. They both appear to be part of ongoing communications regarding the Abenakis. In one Bill told Rowland what he learned in his visit with the Abenaki historian Father Maurault, and promised to help Rowland pronounce words that he learned from some old Abenakis in Montreal.
43. For example, Robinson wrote in "On a Glass Roof," that the Indian he met fishing "and a few of his people were wintering in a neighboring village" (Robinson 1921b:136). Although one might think he is referring to an Indian village, it is not clear. He does not specify it as Indian, and he does not tell its location with any sense of familiarity. If there were a permanent Indian village in the area, one would expect the historian of Ferrisburgh to know about it.
possible that the real heritage of petitioner's ancestors was French Canadian, and that is why they did not show signs of an Indian identity.
Moreover, the explanation that the Abenakis simply settled into a sedentary town life does not account for the unassimilated Indians who Leo St. Francis recalls seeing from a distance behind the Slamon Farm near the swamp (Petition 97). If his observation is correct (and we have no verification that those were Indians he saw), that means there were Indians in the area who continued to live a distinct lifestyle apart from the white community. But they are not part of the petitioner's group! The petitioner is comprised of people who were indistinguishable from the white population; it does not include the visible Indians known to Robinson and others.
It is significant that Rowland Robinson did not confuse white French Canadians with Abenaki Indians. In his era, he knew them as two separate groups. He made a clear distinction between them, unlike petitioner in its account of its ancestors blending in with the rest of society. In his stories about Danvis he portrayed Antoine Bassette as a garrulous French Canadian. When Sam Lovel, the main character, encountered Indians in Danvis, Antoine was as surprised as any of the others, and made fun of the eggshell canoe the Indians were building (Robinson 1937:232).
Likewise, in "On a Glass Roof," Robinson described meeting three men separately
ice-fishing—the first two French Canadian, the last one an Abenaki. He depicted their speech with two discretely different accents (Robinson 1921b:133, 138). And, while he dismissed the first one saying "these Canucks think all the fish and all the berries belong to them," he went on to speak admiringly of the Abenaki from St. Francis (Robinson 1921b:132, 135). He was attracted to him as he realized here was an "ideal angler," "plying
the gentle art here in the warpath of his ancestors" (Robinson 1921 b:135). In contrast to the talkative French Canadians, this fisherman was "as taciturn as his ancestors could have been" (Robinson 1921b:136).
The point of Robinson's observations is that they demonstrate the visibility of Indian visitors to Vermont and the nonexistence of any Indian residents. His writings illustrated the maintenance of an Indian culture that showed its presence in Vermont only through the through Abenakis from Odanak/St. Francis.

French-Canadian Migration to Vermont
The lifestyle and migration pattern described by the petition is not evidence that these families are Indian. The movements of these people are the same as the travel patterns of the French Canadians who were migrating into and through Vermont during the same time. There is nothing in the evidence of lifestyles that distinguishes the petitioner's relatives from the French Canadians. Moreover, the genealogical material below [in the subsequent pages] will show most of the petitioner's ancestors can be traced back to French Canada. See analysis in section on Criterion (e).
The Indians in the petition were described as having a seasonal migratory pattern, coming into Vermont after the Revolution, and concentrating their stays in the northwestern part of the state, around Lake Champlain (Petition:71). Similarly, the French Canadians began moving into border areas of Vermont shortly after the American Revolution. According to Ralph Vicero who extensively analyzed French Canadian immigration to Vermont, "The major concentrations, however, coincided with those areas bordering on Lake
Champlain, the historic corridor leading from the St. Lawrence settlements into New England" (Vicero 1968, 1971). This is the same area where petitioner's ancestors settled.
For many of the French Canadians, their residence in Vermont was seasonal, or short term:

immigration never was intended to be a permanent move; rather, an early return to Quebec was anticipated. Some returned after a winter's or summer's work in the mills, others after a stay of one or two years when they had saved enough money to pay off the mortgage on their farm or to purchase additional land. (Vicero 1971:290, see also 1968:194).

They did not only work in the mills. Their work as farm laborers in the Champlain Valley was colorfully described by a local resident this way:

In the Champlain Valley, a hundred years ago, more and less, before mowing machines were in general use, came bands of men from the north each armed with a scythe with which to attack the meadows of that rich farming country. With the aid of their trusty blades, meanwhile being refreshed from the inevitable jug in the shade, they accomplished the haying and returned to their "Canadaw."...The Canadians, with their scythes, were placed in a line across one end of a field and, incited by competition, moved forward in rhythmical motion, leaving the grass flat in broad expanse behind them and throwing jeers over their shoulders at the man who couldn't keep up. (Horsford 1925:11).

This seasonal migration, for farm or mill work, matched the seasonal visits of people described in the petition. And the occupations of these French Canadians were day laborers, wood choppers, quarry workers, and farm laborers—all positions held by the ancestors of the petitioner (Petition:71, 74, 84, Vicero 1971:293).
The timing of French Canadian immigration followed the economic cycles in Quebec and New England. The immigration dates of petitioner's ancestors coincided with the swells of French Canadian migration (see Table 2, below, for immigration dates). This correlation again adds to the implication that the petitioner's ancestors had closer ties to the French Canadian population than to any possible Indian population. The Morits family arrived in
the 1820's, a time marked by "a noticeable increase in the migration [due to] the steadily worsening state of Quebec agriculture" (Vicero 1971:290). Widespread failure of the wheat crop in Quebec in the 1830's along with abortive rebellions in Canada in 1837 and 1838 meant much immigration in those years (Vicero 1971:290). That is when the St. Laurent, Colombe and Medor families arrived.
The failure of the potato crops in the 1840's coupled with rural indebtedness caused many Quebec residents to seek an escape to the United States between 1840 and 1850 (Vicero 1968:389). During that decade, "it appears that more than three-fifths of the estimated net migration was directed toward Vermont" (Vicero 1968:396). It is during that time of the 1840's that the Hance, St. Francis, Phillips, and Desmarais families moved to Vermont.
Between 1865 and 1873, the economic boon in New England attracted a surge of migration from Canada (Vicero 1968:212). "The Bishop of Vermont was so impressed by the number of migrants he observed that he claimed that the French-Canadian population of his diocese had doubled between 1866 and 1868" (Vicero 1968:205). While this may have been an exaggeration, there is a report that more than 500 migrants had been added to during Burlington's population during 1868" (Vicero 1968:249, n.72). The French Canadian population of Vermont increased 75% between 1860 and 1870, from 16,580 to 29,000 (Vicero 1968:275). During the late 1860's and 1870's the Hoague, LaFrance, and Ouimette families came to Vermont.
After 1870, there was very little growth in that group's population in Vermont, as work in other New England states became more attractive (Vicero 1968:275-77). Correspondingly, among the peititioner's families, the ones that arrived in Vermont after 1870
(Hakey, Partlow, Gardner, Lapan, and Nepton) did not come from Quebec. Instead, they came there from Massachusetts or New York State.
The coincidence in the timing of the waves of immigration of petitioner's ancestors with the waves of French Canadians from Quebec is unmistakable.

Caughnawagha Claims Presented to Vermont Legislature
The petitioner mentions "one other event that coincided with the abandonment of the village at Missisquoi"—the 1798 petition by the Mohawks from Caughnawagha for compensation for the loss of fishing and hunting territories in Vermont. As the petitioner allows, this claim "undoubtedly helped at the time to reinforce the notion that the Indians had quit the area altogether" (Petition:51). Vermont Governor Tichnor investigated the claim and advised the Legislature that the Caughnawagha claims had no merit as they had been extinguished, and furthermore, that Vermont could not grant such a claim without the consent of the U.S. Congress (Calloway 1990b:235, State of Vermont 1880:319-20, (reprinted in Petition: 1 84-85)). Calloway said the Caughnawagha made this claim on behalf of the entire Seven Nations of Canada—that is, the six Iroquois nations of Canada and the Abenakis of Odanak/St. Francis (Calloway 1990b:235). He said the Abenakis had to sit by and watch the Mohawks make this claim. There are two problems with this interpretation. First, it is not clear that the Caughnawagha made the claim on behalf of the entire group of nations. In answer to a question posed by the Vermont Governor, they said that their neighbors "on the east" were the "Abenakees of St. Francois" (State of Vermont 1880:314 (reprinted in
Petition: 182)). This suggests they were speaking on their own behalf, and not for the larger group, which would have included the St. Francis Abenakis. Secondly, one must question the view that the Abenakis sat by and watched while the Caughnawaghas made a claim for land that was supposedly theirs. In 1766, at Isle la Motte, the Abenakis did not just sit by; they spoke up and voiced their own demands at the same time. So, why didn't they speak up now? One possible rejoinder is that they had secure lands of their own and did not feel threatened by this claim for compensation by the Caughnawaghas. However, this does not fit with the other evidence of their loss of land to white settlers, and of the many accounts of their migration to Canada at this time.
An alternative answer is that they had essentially given up all their land and left. If there were any Abenakis remaining in Vermont they were not part of an organized tribal community with any leaders capable of speaking up for land as they had in 1766. This second hypothesis is more plausible and is reinforced by subsequent events. The 1798 Caughnawagha claim for compensation was but the first of a series of such claims throughout the nineteenth century and halfway into the twentieth.
In 1800 the claim was renewed. This time it was brought by a new set of chiefs, including two representatives of the Abenaki nation 44. (State of Vermont 1880:321 (reprinted in Petition: 185)). The addition of the Abenaki suggests that they knew about the claim and wanted to participate in it this time. There is no indication in the sparse record that remains as to where these Abenaki representatives came from. If they were from within Vermont, they should have joined in the subsequent requests. However, the Abenaki never participated
44. The exact identity of these representatives cannot be ascertained; apparently the original papers have been lost (State of Vermont 1880: 322 (reprinted in Petition, 186)).
in any of the ensuing claims for compensation brought by the Caughnawagha (State of Vermont 1880:321, n. 2 (reprinted in Petition: 185)).
The claim was brought again in 1812. While the first petition was made "by the
Chiefs and Councillors of the Seven Nations of Lower Canada Indians," this one was put forth by the "chiefs of the Iroquois or Congnahwagha nation" (Compare (State of Vermont 1880:313 with 322 (reprinted in Petition: 181, 186)). The subsequent 1826 claim was also made only on behalf of the "Iroquois tribe, residing in Cognawagah village" (State of Vermont 1880:325 (reprinted in Petition: 187)). The next two claims, in 1853 and 1874, were made by the Caughnawagha and the Iroquois at St. Regis and Lake of Two Mountains (State of Vermont 1880:328, 343 (reprinted in Petition: 189, 196)).
If there was any doubt in the first claim as to whether the Caughnawaghas spoke for the entire Seven Nations of Canada, including the Abenakis, it is dispelled in the later claims.
The language of the claims indicates that the Abenakis were not represented in those proceedings by the Caughnawaghas after 1800. While the St. Regis and Lake of Two Mountains Indians joined some of the later claims, the Abenakis never did. This reinforces the point that there was no group of Abenakis in Vermont in the nineteenth century with enough tribal identity and political cohesion to speak up and ask to be included in any of these Indian claims. The evidence surrounding the Caughnawaghas' 1951 claim reiterates that position with respect to the mid-twentieth century, as described in the section on Criterion (c) below.
Lo! The Poor Vermonters
Expropriated Iroquois appeal for part of a state
In the days when Gitche Manito, the Great Good Spirit, ran things on the American continent, the land between Lake Champlain and the Connecticut River was the hunting preserve of the warlike Iroquois. The white man grabbed it to make five rich counties in Vermont. Three of the ousted Iroquois tribes, reduced to living in wretched reservations in Canada, insisted that somebody pay them for all that land. For 154 years they sent delegations to the Vermont legislature, which generally turned them back with sympathetic words, a pittance of $100 and a free meal.
But things are looking up for the Iroquois. The Vermont legislature appointed a commissioner to look into the claim, the first since 1855. A Vermont lawyer has taken on the case -- the first to represent the Iroquois -- and is sure he can prove the Iroquois never legally ceded their land to the white men. A recent award of $8 million to the Ute Indians for a similar claim encouraged the Iroquois to raise their demand from $89,000 to $1.2 million. Some tribesmen, however scorn the money and want to take physical possession of their Vermont claim, a solution which has found great favor in New Hampshire. Students at Dartmouth College are selling Give-Vermont-back-to-the-Indians buttons to finance the lawsuit. Said an unperturbed Vermont, "All of the U.S. once belonged to the Indians, but it's only Vermont they want back."

Illustration: Redman's Friend, Lawyer Roland Stevens, 80, looks through yellowed 18th Century documents in a bank vault to bolster the case of clients.
Illustration: Chief Poking-Fire (John McComber) of the Bear Clan of the Caughnawage rips tribal claims out of Vermont map. Indians claim whole northern fourth of State.
Illustration: Iroquois Allies meet at Dartmouth campus to launch fund-raising campaign for lawsuit.
Illustration: Poverty of the muddy villages wherethe Iroquois now live in Quebec forms a painful contrast with the neat prosperity of the Vermont shown on pp. 74-76.
Waiting hopefully, solemn sachems of the Caughnawaga tribe sit in conclave in their frosty Quebec meeting hall to listen to Lawyer Stevens and hold a powwow for future plans. Pending the inheritance of Vermont or parts thereof, these tribesmen have to earn their living as steelworkers, taxi drivers, farmers. SOURCE: LIFE Magazine December 29, 1952
Chief Poking-Fire, Caughnawaga
John McComber, of the Mohawk Bear Clan
Caughnawaga (Kahnawake), Quebec, Canada

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