Petitioner Self-Identified as White
In addition to the doubts cast by the genealogies as to whether the petitioner is descended from a historic tribe, there are documents indicating a lack of self-identification with any tribe. These are the World War I draft registration cards for members of the Lampman and St. Francis families in which they indicated their race as white or Caucasian.
There were two draft efforts during that war, and the registration form changed slightly the second time. The first form asked "Race (specify which)." The second form had boxes to check for each race, including one marked "Indian." The following people indicated they were Caucasian or white on those forms:
Nazaire St. Francis....father of Homer St. Francis
George St. Francis....uncle of Homer St. Francis
Mitchell St. Francis....uncle of Homer St. Francis
Joseph Julian St. Francis....first cousin of father of Homer St. Francis
Herbert Lampman....father of Leonard Lampman
Walter Lampman....uncle of Leonard Lampman
Herman Deney Lampman....uncle of Leonard Lampman
Edward Hoag....grandson of Flavien Hoague, cousin of both Leonard Lampman and Homer St. Francis
(U.S. Military, Local Registration Boards). These registrant forms are especially interesting because they pre-date the eugenics movement of Vermont. Any argument that petitioner's
ancestors sought to hide their Indian identities because they feared being targeted by the eugenics survey is misplaced here. The survey did not start until nearly a decade later.Another snapshot of self-identification can be seen in applications for marriage licenses in Vermont between 1955 and 1968. During this time period, applicants for a marriage license filled out forms on which they included certain personal information, including their race. The applicants signed these forms under oath. The town clerks certified to the Department of Health that they had the applicants' forms on record, and then sent certified copies of the information to the state Department of Health. These copies are available on microfilm at the Division of Public Records. 86. After 1968, the portion of the certificates indicating the race of the applicants was excised from the microfilm copies on file at Public Records. An inspection of marriage records sampled from the 1955 to 1968 time period reveals the following people self-identified as white:
Gary Belrose married Andrea Ledoux (daughter of Hazel Vincelette who is probably #44 on LaFrance Family Descendancy Chart) 87.
Leo Belrose (Belrose Family Descendancy Chart #9) married Eldora Cheney and Gwendolyn Boucher
Armand Lampman (J.F. Morits Family Descendancy Chart #82, and Gardner Family Descendancy Chart #36) married Marjorie Greenia (Phillips Family Descendancy Chart #95)
86. The marriage records on file at Public Records for marriages prior to 1955 are in a different format and do not include the certification by the town clerk.
87. Because the names of living people were excised from the genealogical charts provided to the State of Vermont by BAR, the State was unable to confirm exactly which individuals these two were on the Family Descendancy Charts. Undoubtedly, BAR will be able to confirm this by examining the complete genealogical charts in its files.
Francis Lampman (son of Herman Lampman, J.F. Morits Family Descendancy Chart #26)88 married Edna Martin
Josephine (Gardner) Lampman (Gardner Family Descendancy Chart #29) married Raymond Harrington
Marjorie Lampman (daughter of Herman Lampman, J.F. Morits Family Descendancy Chart #26) married Armand West
Roberta Lampman (daughter of Herman Lampman, J.F. Morits Family Descendancy Chart #26) married Norman West
Virginia Lampman (J.F. Morits Family Descendancy Chart #78, Gardner Family Descendancy Chart #32) married Maurice Young
George Medor (St. Laurent Family Descendancy Chart #405) married Viola Virian
Homer St. Francis (St. Francis Family Descendancy Chart #49) married Patsy Partlow
Pauline St. Francis (daughter of Eli St. Francis) married Robert Menard
Robert St. Francis (son of Hubert St. Francis, St. Francis Family Descendancy Chart #43) married Nancy Dudley
Ronald St. Francis (son of Hubert St. Francis, St. Francis Family Descendancy Chart #43) married Loretta Laplant
(State of Vermont, Public Records Division 1955-1968).
These records indicate that a decade before the formation of the Abenaki Tribal Council, the petitioner's members did not view themselves as Indian. This raises the possibility that the sense of Indian identity was not deeply rooted in these people, but rather was a new concept. It raises questions as to the continuity of Indian heritage, ancestry, and community.
88. Francis's father's name is shown on the marriage certificate, and was found on the Family Descendancy Charts, even though Francis's name was excised from the charts provided to the State. For that reason, the state was only able to indicate the father's identification number on the charts. A similar approach was taken for other names in this list.
The petitioner has not submitted evidence to show that its current membership is descended from the historic Abenaki tribe that once occupied the Missisquoi region. Petitioner admits that it "has always been receptive to Indian families from anywhere in the northeastern U.S. and the border region with Canada" (Petition: 158-59). This Pan-Indian attitude, along with many generations of marriages to French Canadians and other whites has resulted in family genealogies without any clear Abenaki ancestry.
On the four criteria for federal acknowledgment examined, the evidence raises serious questions about the existence of a tribe of Abenakis in Vermont who are a continuation of the historic Abenakis who lived at Missisquoi prior to the American Revolution. The invisibility of any tribe from 1790 to 1974 was so complete that historians, anthropologists and census takers were unable to locate it. No outside observers verify its existence during that time period thus precluding a finding on Criterion (a) for federal acknowledgment.
The absence of any indication of a separate and distinct Indian community suggests that the petitioner's ancestors did not live in an Indian community as required by Criterion (b). The silence of any political authority until 1974, followed by the lack of widespread acceptance once a formal organization was created, supports a negative finding on Criterion (c). Lastly the lack of proof of Abenaki heritage pervades the petitioner's submission with respect to Criterion (e). Any one of these deficiencies would be enough to merit a finding
against federal acknowledgment. The presence of serious questions regarding the evidence on all four of them requires a finding against federal acknowledgment.
Dated, this day of December, 2002.
STATE OF VERMONT WILLIAM H. SORRELL ATTORNEY GENERAL
Special Assistant Attorney General
Sources and Authorities Cited
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Aldrich, Lewis Cass
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We Americans: A Study of Cleavage in an American City. New York: Russell & Russell
Baker, Jane S.
Report to Governor Thomas P. Salmon of the State of Vermont Regarding the Claims Presented by the Abenaki Nation with marginal comments by Gordon Day. Dr. Gordon M. Day Papers, Box 566, f. 1, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Hull, Quebec
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Barry, Gwen Rawlings
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Burlington Free Press
4/20/1951 Two Iroquois Indian Chiefs Press Claim to State, April 20, 1951
Charles Adams Appointed to Investigate Iroquois Indians' Claim to Land in Vt., April 19, 1952
Abenaki Council Ex-Member Seeks To Block Federal Grant to Tribe, Jan. 17, 1977
Hoague Ouster Blamed on Tribal Split, May 1977
Snelling Perplexed by Abenaki Tribal Split, Oct. 21, 1977
Abenaki Chieftain is Buried, May 10, 1987
Abenaki Chiefs Election Elicits Mixed Emotions, Sept. 13, 1987
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Abenaki break with chief, Oct. 29, 1995
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Agreement of the Tribe for building spots and gardens [Text of decision of Abenaki council of warriors and chiefs concerning setting aside of land for St. Francis Reserve]. Gordon Day Collection of Manuscripts on the Languages of the Indians of Canada, Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H., microfilm reel 12, item 8
Recuisement du Village des Sauvages Abenakis de St. Francois. Gordon Day Collection of Manuscripts on the Languages of the Indians of Canada, Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H., microfilm reel 12, item 4
(Canada, Indian Affairs...continued)
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Recuisement du Village des Abenakis de St. Francois 1875. Gordon Day Collection of Manuscripts on the Languages of the Indians of Canada, Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H., microfilm reel 12, item 4
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