Page [40.]Vermont's Burial Law:
Vermont's burial laws were written to regulate historic-modern cemeteries that are fenced in with headstones marking each grave. This law does not adequately deal with the exposure of unmarked burials which more often than not tend to be Abenaki in origin. To address the inadequacy of this law the Missisquoi Chief April St. Francis Merrill, in collaboration with concerned Vermont legislators, spearheaded an effort to improve the burial law to better protect Abenaki graves. This improved burial law H.281, presented below, is designed to provide for appropriate treatment of Native American remains by the Missisquoi repatriation coordinator whenever an ancestor's grave has been unearthed from their original place of interment, and more importantly would provide for the respectful reinterment of those remains in a protected location as soon as feasible.
No. 151. An act relating to the removal of bodily remains.
(H.281) It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. 18 V.S.A. § 5212b is amended to read: § 5212b. UNMARKED BURIAL SITES SPECIAL FUND: REPORTING OF
UNMARKED BURIAL SITES
(a) The unmarked burial sites special fund is established in the state treasury for the purpose of protecting, preserving, moving or reinterring human remains discovered in unmarked burial sites.
(b) The fund shall be comprised of any monies appropriated to the fund by the general assembly or received from any other source, private or public. Interest earned on the fund, and any balance remaining in the fund at the end of a fiscal year, shall be retained in the fund. This fund shall be maintained by the state treasurer, and shall be managed in accordance with subchapter 5 of chapter 7 of Title 32.
(c) The commissioner of economic, housing and community
historically based in Vermont with a connection to the remains,
(1) Methods for determining the presence of unmarked burial sites, including archaeological surveys and assessments and other nonintrusive techniques.
(2) Methods for handling development and excavation on property on which it is known that there is or is likely to be one or more unmarked burial sites.
(3) Options for owners of property on which human remains in unmarked burial sites are discovered or determined to be located.
(4) Procedures for protecting, preserving or moving unmarked burial sites and human remains, subject, where applicable, to the permit requirement and penalties of this chapter.
(5) Procedures for resolving disputes.
(d) If unmarked burial sites and human remains are removed, consistent with the process set forth in this section and any permit required by this chapter, there shall be no criminal liability under 13 V.S.A. § 3761.
(e) The funds shall be used for the following purposes relating to unmarked burial sites:
(1) To monitor excavations.
(2) To protect, preserve, move, or reintern unmarked burial sites and human remains.
(3) To perform archaeological assessments and archaeological site or field investigations, including radar scanning and any other nonintrusive technology or technique designed to determine the presence of human remains.
(4) To provide mediation and other appropriate dispute resolution services.
(5) To acquire property or development rights, provided the commissioner of economic, housing and community
(6) Any other appropriate purpose determined by the commissioner to be consistent with the purposes of this fund.
When an unmarked burial site is first discovered, the discovery shall be reported immediately to a law enforcement agency. If, after completion of an investigation pursuant to section 5205 of this title, a law enforcement agency determines that the burial site does not constitute evidence of a crime, the law enforcement agency shall immediately notify the state archeologist who may authorize appropriate action regarding the unmarked burial site. Sec. 2. UNMARKED BURIAL SITE TREATMENT PLAN COMMITTEE
(a) The unmarked burial site treatment plan committee is created to develop procedures for addressing issues relating to known or discovered unmarked burial sites of human remains, including developing treatment plans to be used when an unmarked burial site is discovered on private property. The committee shall be composed of the following nine members:
(1) The commissioner of economic housing and community / development or the commissioner's designee.
(2) The state archeologist or designee.
(3) A representative from the Vermont League of Cities and Towns.
(4) A representative from a Native American group based in Vermont who has experience in handling unmarked burial sites appointed by the commissioner of economic, housing and
(5) A federal archeologist from the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
(6) The U.S. Forest Service, Green Mountain National Forest archeologist.
(7) The director of the University of Vermont consulting archeology program.
(8) A representative from the Vermont Bankers Association Inc.
(9) A representative from the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Vermont.
(b) The committee shall:
(1) Develop procedures for responding to reports of a discovery of an unmarked burial site. For the purposes of this section "an unmarked burial site" means the location of any interment of human remains, evidence of human remains, including the presence of red ochre, associated funerary objects, or a documented concentration of burial sites, but does not include a cemetery. mausoleum, or columbarium or any other site that is clearly marked as a site containing human remains.
(2) Develop various treatment plans for addressing issues that attend the discovery of an unmarked burial site on private property. A treatment plan is an outline of the process for providing appropriate and respectful treatment of the burial site while considering the rights of the landowner. Each treatment plan shall include the following as appropriate:
(A) Methods for determining the presence of an unmarked burial including archeological site, including and assessments and other nonintrusive techniques.
(B) Methods for handling development and excavation on property on which there is a known burial site or there is likely to be one.
(C) Options for owners of property on which human remains are discovered or known to be located.
(D) Procedures for protecting, preserving. or moving the burial site and the human remains.
(E) Time frames for implementation of the treatment plan.
(F) Procedures for resolving disputes among stakeholders.
(3) The committee shall issue a written report outlining the procedures and treatment plans to the house committee on general, housing and military affairs and the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs on or before January 15, 2011. Sec. 3. 18 V.S.A. § 5212 is amended to read: § 5212. PERMIT TO REMOVE DEAD BODIES
(a) A person desirous of disinterring or removing the body of a human being from one cemetery to another cemetery or to another part of the same cemetery or from a tomb or receiving vault elsewhere shall apply to the
(b) An applicant for a removal permit shall publish notice of his or her intent to remove the remains. This notice shall be published for two successive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the
located as provided in section 52.12a of this title.
(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (b) and (c) of this section, a removal permit shall be issued upon application:
(1) when removal is necessary because of temporary entombment; or
(2) to a federal, state, county, or municipal official acting pursuant to official duties; or
(3) if the applicant has written permission to remove the remains from all persons entitled to object under section 5212a of this title.
(e) This section does not apply to:
(1) Unmarked burial sites that are subject to the provisions of subchapter I of this chapter.
(2) The removal of "historic remains," which has the same meaning as in subdivision 5217(a)(1) of this title. Sec. 4. 18 V.S.A. § 5217 is added to read: § 5217. REMOVAL OF MARKED HISTORIC REMAINS
(a) As used in this section:
(1) "Historic remains" means remains of a human being who has been deceased for 100 years or more, and the remains are marked and located in a publicly known or marked burial ground or cemetery.
(2) "Public, good" means actions that will benefit the municipality and the property where the remains are located.
(3) "Remains" means cremated human remains that are in a container or the bodily remains of a human being.
(4) "Removal" means to transport human remains from one location to another premises.
(b) A person may apply for a removal permit to disinter or remove historic remains by filing an filing application with the clerk for the municipality in Which the historic remains are located. The application shall include all the following:
(1) Identification of the specific location and marking of the remains.
(2) Identification of the specific location in which the remains will be reburied.
(3) The reasons for removal of the remains, including, a statement of the public good that will result from the removal.
(c) An applicant for a removal permit shall send notice by first-class mail to all the following:
(1) The cemetery commissioner or other municipal authority responsible for cemeteries in the municipality in which the historic remains are located.
(2) All historical societies located within the municipality in which the historic remains are located.
(3) Any descendant known to the applicant. The applicant shall contact the Vermont Historical Society, the Vermont Old Cemetery Association, the Vermont Cemetery Association, and any veterans' organization operating within the county in which the historic remains are located in order to ascertain the whereabouts of any known descendants.
(4) The state archeologist.
(d) A cemetery commisioner or municipal authority responsible for cemeteries, a historical society, a descendant or the state archeologist may file an objection to the proposed removal of historic remains with the probate court in the district in which the historic remains are located and with the clerks of the municipality in which the historic remains are located within 30 days after the date the notice was mailed.
(e) If no objection is received within 30 days after the date the notice was last published as required by subsection (c) of this section, the municipal clerk shall issue a removal permit.
(f) If the probate court receives an objection within the 30-day period, the court shall notify the clerk for the municipality in which the historic remains are located and schedule a hearing on whether to allow removal as described in the application.
(g) The probate court. after hearing, shall order the municipal clerk to grant or deny a permit for removal of the historic remains. The court shall consider the impact of the removal on the public good.
(h) The permit shall require that all remains, markers, and relevant funeral-related materials associated with the burial site be removed, and the permit may require that the removal be conducted or supervised by a qualified professional archeologist in compliance with standard archeological process. All costs associated with the removal shall be paid by the applicant.
§ 853 (c) (6) The applicant is g oranized in part: (A) To preserve, document, organize promote its Native American Indian culture and history, and this purpose is reflected in its bylaws.
The Missisquoi Constitution is provided above in § 853 (c) (4) that establishes how the tribe is governed.
In May of 1983 the Tribal Council created a non-profit called Wobanaki Inc. Wobanaki Inc. was set up to 1.) improve the educational, health, social and economic status of Native Americans living in or having their historical heritage or some other significant part thereof in the State of Vermont; 2.) to maintain and disseminate information regarding traditional Native American culture and social values, including language, arts and crafts and other aspects of Native American life; 3.) to preserve, conserve and protect natural areas which are of important ecological or historical significance and to interface with other organizations which share those purposes; 4.) to receive gifts of money, securities and real property and to otherwise acquire and hold, lease, rent, sell and mortgage real and personal property for the purpose and objectives of the corporation. Several activities were and are conducted through this corporation that includes the purchase of Brunswick Springs, a scared healing and burial ground in Brunswick, Vermont
and burial grounds on Monument Road in Highgate, Vermont. Our annual Abenaki Heritage Celebration is held to educate Vermonter's and others about our rich culture and heritage. There are also language camps and lessons, where youth groups and our children learn dancing, singing, arts and crafts, the traditional ways of our people and how to respect mother earth. Wobanaki Inc. has done many more cultural initiatives over the years that are too cumbersome to list here.
§ 853 (c) (6) (B) To address the social, economic, political or cultural needs of the members with ongoing educational programs and activities.
In 1976, the Abenaki Tribal Council established the Abenaki Self-Help Association Incorporated (ASHAI), whose aim was to improve the socio-economic and educational conditions of community members. The ASHAI (a 501(c)3 non-profit organization) became the "social service" arm of the community, while the Tribal Council pursued a political agenda which could lead to formal State and Federal Recognition with appropriate rights, privileges, and dignities.
The Abenaki Self-Help Association, Inc. was predicated on a profound respect for children and elders. The philosophical underpinnings of this organization were based on values of sharing, respect, dignity, and honesty. Operating on a lean budget (approximately $35,000.00) obtained through a Federal Community Service (CSA) grant, the ASHAI quickly networked with Champlain Valley Work and Training Programs located in St. Albans. This statewide agency was the recipient of federal Comprehensive Employment and Training Administration (CETA) dollars. Since many Abenaki community members met necessary income guidelines, training slots were developed in areas of work experience and on-the-job training. Initial ASHAI efforts focused on youth enrichment activities, food and nutrition, outreach, and job development. The work force consisted of community members recently graduating from high school, drop-outs, and some individuals with limited work experience. They all shared a vision of community empowerment through the willingness to take risks and put in long hours.
By the late 1970's, it became apparent that a formal community needs assessment would contribute to planning efforts. The resulting profile was staggering. 31.7% of Missisquoi households were classified as low income, according to Health and Human Services (HHS) guidelines. Another 37.3% were classified income. Still another 10.8% could grouped accurately due to lack of specificity about actual income. This group occupied a range between low and very low.
Income in Missisquoi households came from a variety of sources. Working families whose income came solely from employment comprised about 31 % of the population. Sixty-nine percent received at least some sort of public support. Nearly 40% of the Missisquoi families had no income from employment. Educational figures revealed that only 34% of the heads of 1ouseholds had either a high school or General Equivalency Diploma (GED). Nearly 16% left school between the ninth and twelfth grades, while 50% left school before completing the ninth grade. Health and housing conditions were disproportionately alarming. In 1980, many Missisquoi families lived in homes with no indoor plumbing. Short-term goals were apparent. The development of suitable housing was critical as were issues of education and income development.
In the early 1980's the Abenaki Self-Help Association became the state's first private non-profit group organization to develop a "Section Eight" low income housing project. In collaboration with the Vermont State Housing Authority and Federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) initiatives, "Abenaki Acres" was created. Utilizing local contractors who hired Abenaki construction crews, the community developed a twelve-unit housing project in Swanton. Tapping into other rehabilitation funds, the ASHAI created additional affordable housing as well.
With housing starts underway, the community concomitantly expanded job creation and development efforts. Having obtained federal Department of Labor (DOL) funds, the ASHAI added vocational training components to its community services. Through aggressive outreach efforts, the ASHAI established contacts with companies such as IBM. The ASHAI was lauded as one of the best DOL sites in New England.
In combined meetings between the ASHAI's Board of Directors and the Abenaki Tribal Council, a decision with lasting impact was reached. Tribal leadership decided to explore educational opportunities for its members. Given the dismal profile and experience of adults who had attended public schools, the ASHAI first embarked on Adult Basic Education (ABE) opportunities. Through the Federal Department of Education Indian Education Office, the ASHAI submitted a grant which would focus on the experiences of community members. Concentrating on basic literacy, GED preparation, and life-coping skills, the grant was funded and dozens of Abenakis began experiencing.. education in a positive way. Once students obtained their GED, they became volunteer tutors and mentors. This notion of giving something back to the community became a hallmark of ASHAI initiatives.
In 1981, tribal leadership turned its efforts toward reaching children in school before they dropped out. An application for this funding (Title IV, Part A of the Indian Education Act) required submission by a local educational agency (LEA). Abenaki leadership affirmed a commitment to effect change from within the system. The Tribal Council approached the Franklin Northwest Supervisory Union (FNWSU) with the idea of providing educational and cultural support services to children attending area public schools. The Superintendent of School Board was willing; a grant was submitted and approved by the Department of Education.
In the FNWSU, an active Missisquoi Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) was formed to oversee all educational programming. Parent participation and self-determination were deemed critical to program efficacy. Project goals included: 1) to increase student academic achievement; 2) to reduce the drop-out rate; 3) to increase parent involvement; 4) to promote curriculum initiatives; 5) to provide post-secondary opportunities; and 6) to instill a respect of cultural diversity for all area students.
An Indian Education Office was established on Grand Avenue in Swanton. Although the grant was to be administered by the Superintendent's Office, the PAC and other tribal leaders felt an office space was needed where parents would feel comfortable. The establishment of a separate Indian Education Office also sent an important message to the larger Swanton community. The Indian Education Office created visible evidence of the Missisquoi community's commitment to equal educational opportunity.
By 1982, the ASHAI and the Indian Education Program were collaborating on dozens of initiatives. Federal Commissioner of Administration for Native Affairs (ANA) David Lester lauded the ASHAI as one of the 12 outstanding Native social service agencies in the country. Community gardens were planted whose harvest fed the elderly and a Friday evening Disney film series was a weekly event for all area children. Over 200 children filled space donated by the local Episcopal Church; volunteers provided free popcorn and soda; and area merchants donated resources as Swanton residents realized the Missisquoi community was coordinating events that would benefit everyone.
In 1984, the ASHAI initiated its own preschool and kindergarten. Swanton has no public kindergarten at the time, and few Missisquoi families could afford private pre-school or kindergarten settings. Several local officials questioned whether- low income residents would avail themselves of publicly provided early education opportunities. The ASHAI, with support of the Indian Education Program, submitted a pilot program to the Federal Department of Education. The program was a combination home and school-based model, with pre-school meeting three times a week and daily kindergarten sessions. A used van was donated and transportation was provided to the local Armory where classroom space was rented. Developmentally appropriate educational activities, a high level of parent involvement, and unique cultural awareness activities made the project a successful experience for Missisquoi families. In meeting with local officials at the end of the school year, Missisquoi community leaders could boast of a 97% daily attendance rate. The following year, Swanton began providing public kindergarten sessions for all children.
It should be noted that the ASHAI was experiencing tremendous growth during the Reagan administration, a time when many community action programs (CAPS) were being drastically out. The Abenaki strategy was to diversity funding resources, position itself for a federal push on economic development initiatives, and develop the capacity of building community members who would offer hundreds of volunteer hours.
As the Missisquoi community began to attract much media coverage, there were detractors who questioned Native veracity. To tribal leaders, this was extremely disturbing. Determined that Abenaki children, in particular, would have feelings of pride and self-worth, the community embarked on several cultural initiatives. Finding One's Way, the story of a local Abenaki boy, was introduced into the school systems. An accompanying teacher's manual soon followed. Now in its fourteenth printing, thousands of copies of this text have been disseminated throughout New England. The story of Louis, taunted by classmates about his "so-called" Indian heritage, is actually an amalgam of the experience of several Abenaki community members who agreed to partake in the development of this curriculum. Through meeting with his elders and learning about his heritage, Louis learns to be proud of who he is.
An Abenaki Youth Dance Troupe was started in the late 1980's. Young children began learning about the rich heritage through hands-on arts and crafts activities. As the same time, tribal leaders encouraged the nurturance of performing arts. With financial support from the Vermont Council on the Arts and the Indian Education Office, community organizers involved children,
parents, and elders in costume design and creation, weekly practices, and performances of the Abenaki Youth Dance Troupe. They performed throughout Vermont at various cultural events,
Few Missisquoi Elders remained fluent in their Native language. Actually in truthfulness, there were NO "Missisquoi Elders" that remained fluent in the Abenaki language at all! Fearful that the language would be lost, the community invited a tribal elder Cecile Wawanolet from Odanak (Canada) to hold language classes in Swanton on a bi-weekly basis. Through the dedication, commitment, and perseverance of key community members, conversational Abenaki has now been taught at the local high school. At a meeting of the Governor's Advisory Commission on Native American Affairs in June, 1996, a high school Abenaki recipient Brent McEwen Reader of a prestigious award gave his acceptance speech entirely in his Native Abenaki tongue. For the dozens of community members attending, this was a special moment. Also, the publication of Alnodaodwa: A Western Abenaki Language Guide (Brink and Day, 1987), and accompanying audio cassette has allowed for interested Vermonters and others to learn more about the Abenaki language.
The bead working, basket making, and storytelling classes that have been held throughout the last 30 years speak to a community that continually strives to celebrate the possibilities offered by cultural diversity. Toward that aim, it was then the hope of Missisquoi leadership that both a cultural center and a museum be established. A modest museum, housing "material culture" artifacts has been realized next to Tribal headquarters (which also includes the ASHAI). In what had been an empty school building that was in great disrepair gave rise to the "Multigenerational Complex." Renovated in 2000, the building is home to the Missisquoi Health Center, a senior center for Elders, Title VII Indian Education Director's Office, and an Abenaki after-school program entitled the "Circle of Courage" where dozens of Abenaki and non-Abenaki students come together to learn about authentic Missisquoi culture in the areas of dance, instrumental music (drumming and flute), and the embroidery of regalia to be worn when the youngsters perform at venues such as the Flynn Theatre and the Echo Center. Concomitantly, there are sixteen affordable housing units for the elderly whereby activities are planned for the children and elders thus promoting a mutuality of respect.
This year has seen over fifty students from both Swanton and Highgate avail themselves of services. Furthermore, ten Missisquoi Valley Union High School (MVU) students volunteer at the cultural center so that they may "give back" to the younger children the lessons learned when they were participants in the program. The Circle of Courage after School Program has been lauded by the State of Vermont as an outstanding example of programming that celebrates cultural diversity for all local children so that socio-economic and racial differences can be seen as a strength in a democracy.
Contemporary Missisquoi community citizens rightfully take pride in our many accomplishments. Thirty years ago, the Abenaki drop-out rate at MVU was 70% with 50% leaving school before ninth grade. Today, the drop-out rate is 3%. In 1982, fewer than 5% of graduating Abenaki went on to any post-secondary education. Last year saw approximately 40% of Abenaki graduates go on to college.
Still, we have much more to accomplish and we continually evaluate the efficacy of our efforts so that we can strategically plan for the future. Despite years of oppression and hostile insults, the Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi (St. Francis/Sokoki Band) ensures that those in need may
access the continuum of services in place for commumity members as well as to all Native peoples and Vermonters, wherever possible. Ours is a tradition of sharing wisdom and communal efforts. Working together, we will build a better life for our children.
§ 853 (c) (7) The applicant can document traditions, customs, oral stories, and a histories that signify the applicant's Native American heritage and connection in to their historical homeland.
The St. Francis/Sokoki Band, Abenaki Nation retains a significant fund of traditional knowledge and customs that can be tied to a native heritage through ethnography or folkloric studies. There are large numbers of traditions that have been previously published in Haviland and Power's The Original Vermonters and F. Wiseman's Voice of the Dawn, both University Press of New England, and Against the Darkness, a DVD from Title VII Indian Education (Swanton, VT). Below is a sample of newer data that has become available since 2006 to specifically address criterion § 853. (b) (3) "Documented traditions, customs, and legends that signify Native American heritage."
One of the most interesting regional traditions that has been uncovered recently is that on Missisquoi Bay (Highgate, VT), Abenaki ice fishermen warm their fish-eye bait under their tongues. This practice is considered "gross" by their Anglo and Franco-VT neighbors. Every ice fisherman has strong personal feelings, positive or negative of this practice—and these feelings are repeatedly correlated with other familial traces of Native ancestry/tradition.
ALL OF THESE "VT INDIGENOUS ALLIANCE" FOUR (4) CORPORATE ENTITIES (Missisquoi, El-Nu, Nulhegan, and Koasek of the Koas) HAVE THIS SAME "STORY" OF "ABENAKI" ICE FISHERMAN WARMING THEIR FISHEYE BAIT UNDER THEIR TONGUES, AND BECAUSE "ANGLO" AND "FRANCO" VERMONT NEIGHBORS CONSIDER THIS "GROSS" THAT SUCH CONFABULATING STORIES THAT THIS SOMEHOW VALIDATES THESE "ABENAKI" CREATED CORPORATE ENTITIES AND THESE MEMBERS, AS BEING LEGITIMATE ABENAKI DESCENDANTS FROM "ABENAKI" "TRIBES" AND/OR "BANDS"?
[REDACTED] Vera "Longtoe" Sheehan recounts a family story from [REDACTED] grandmother (d. 2003) of the use of "Indian clothes" at Missisquoi during this time period by "an old Indian woman," Ms. Sheehan's 3rd great grandmother (d. 1932). [REDACTED] Ms. Sheehan said "I asked my grandmother how did she know she (the 3rd great grandmother) was Indian?" [REDACTED] Ms. Sheehan's grandmother described her as having "long braided hair and wearing Indian clothes... She wore old coins in her ears, many beads and a skirt with lots of ribbons. No white women would dress like that." Apparently these articles of clothing were locally made, because [REDACTED] Ms. Sheehan's grandmother went on to talk about "the beautiful ribbon and beads that the old women would sew, as they all sat around."
THIS "STORY" ABOUT VERA SHEEHAN'S GRANDMOTHER SAYING THIS OR THAT, IS MERELY A "STORY" RIGHT ALONG WITH THE "SUCKING ON FISHEYE BAIT TO KEEP THE EYEBALLS WARM. HINDA MILLER OR VINCENT ILLUZZI MUST HAVE TOLD DR. WISEMAN PH.D. TO MAKE SURE HE GOT THE VT. GROUPS (THAT CLAIM TO BE ABENAKI TRIBES) AS THEIR COORDINATOR, TO GET THEIR CONFABULATING STORIES STRAIGHT (TO MATCH UP) SO THAT THEIR LIES AND DISTORTIONS WOULD NOT BE SO OBVIOUS TO THE PUBLIC!
Dr. Wiseman Ph.D. LOVES to REPEAT himself and use his "scholarly" data, over and over again, throughout this SAME Application. See Page 23 of this same Application Review to observe that the Vera Longtoe Sheehan bit HAS ALREADY BEEN USED within this APLLICATION REVIEW previously in several different places.
In addition, Swanton's elders remember the local Indians with a measure of fondness. Ms. Polly Parre of Swanton, VT still has ash splint materials made for her by the Lapans in the 1950's, a family known to be Indian. In addition, Ms. Lucille Bell said in the January 7, 1996 Burlington Free Press, "I remember we had an Indian family here (Swanton, VT), and the woman made baskets and used to come around door to door to sell them. We didn't make a big thing of it and neither did they."
Probably the most important and definitive Indigenous customs involve land use. The great ethnologist, Frank Speck studied and published oil Indigenous Maine land tenure in his 1940 book Penobscot Man. In it, he described a family-based resource zone partitioning and use pattern that Haviland and Power, used in The Original Vermonters to describe prehistoric VT land use, but without any local confirmation. However, interviews with Missisquoi citizens and the authors' Frederick M. Wiseman own memories have confirmed the presence of this land tenure System in the Missisquol River Basin and Missisquoi Bay (Lake Champlain). Each core Missisquoi family
band maintains its own distinguishing subsistence grounds along the Missisquoi River Valley; and has protocols for admitting others into these subsistence grounds. Author Fred Wiseman's family's traditional fishing territory was "the reef" a linear, north trending ledge and boulder ridge on the bottom of Missisquoi Bay. It was that family's responsibility to mark the north end of the reef for other fishermen with a red-painted wooden buoy or a plastic gallon milk-jug. This "buoying the reef" tradition was maintained every May until Wiseman's father's death. Dr. Wiseman's father asked permission of Mr. Hakey, to fish an "above the dam" section of the Missisquoi River, which was not Wiseman's family fishing territory, ritually giving Mr. Hakey a fishing lure, as a sign of respect. Family bands hunted and collected in partitioned floodplain and upland zones of the Missisquoi Valley. These subsistence zones were long-term, spatially consistent and bounded within themselves, yet cut across existing property and town lines, and even the more fluid hunting and fishing areas of Missisquoi's Franco VT and Anglo VT neighbors. These use areas often had seasonally occupied "cottages" or deer camps signing the of the area -- from the "Grandma Lampman" territory (marked with an historical plaque) at Maquam on the shores of Lake Champlain at least as far upriver as the St. Francis' well-known and attended Berkshire camp. In addition to hunting and fishing, local Native people collected herbs used in traditional medicinal curing from these well-delineated resource use areas. The River Rats (for discussion of their Indigenous ethnicity see Wiseman 2001, Voice of the Dawn: 120-132) collected local plants such skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) in restricted areas of the marshes of the Missisquoi River delta.
[REDACTED] Vera "Longtoe" Sheehan recounted a family story from [REDACTED] Sheehan's grandmother said "The older folks did the talking... in those days you were quiet, unless spoken to. The older folks would talk to me, but I couldn't understand them...Because they didn't speak English." What did they speak," [REDACTED] Ms. Sheehan asked her grandmother. "The old language," she answered.
Can Dr. Frederick Matthew Wiseman Ph.D. spell the word "redundancy"? His repetative and unnecessary "scholarly nonsense" merely shows and provides anyone the merits of Fred M. Wiseman, as to what sort of "scholar" he really is, as a "Abenaki" scholar.
Who exactly, is he trying to convince with his scholarly nonsense and distortions? It certainly doesn't convince me, as to the merit(s) or foundation(s) of his "scholarly" agrument(s).
I guess that is because I have actually read the B.I.A.'s O.F.A. Proposed Findings material, the Final Decision of the same; and the William H. Sorrell & Eve Jacobs-Carnahan's Response to the St. Francis/Sokoki Band of the Abenaki Nation NONSENSE already.
READ THIS: http://reinventedvermontabenaki.blogspot.com/2011/01/final-determination-against-federal_02.html
It is actually quite interesting that this "Abenaki" Scholar Fred M. Wiseman Ph.D. would present this sort of "stuff" (which is again, is really nothing at all) to the State of Vermont Legislative Committee's, and the politicians that are obviously being lazy, naive, and ignorant in these "Abenaki" matters, in their simply BE_LIE_VING these "scholarly conclusions". The very FACTUALLY REALITY that Frederick M. Wiseman Ph.D. could use the SAME crappy artifactual "alleged and re-invented Abenaki" materials that he used in the B.I.A. petition, again, in the current Petition for VT State Recognition, stating that it somehow validates or legitimizes his "VT Indigenous Alliance" (which was founded in 2008)....
The Dr./Professor/Ph.D.'s "scholarly" arguments are "wishy-washy" dubious and questionable from the beginning to the end of it. It's damned near criminal and absurd if really one seriously looks at what has been going on.
What has the Dr./ Professor Wiseman Ph.D. or any of these Corporate "Abenaki" groups actually substantiated in this Application thus far? Other than that they are deceitful, dishonest, and non-transparent person's who claim to warm their Fisheye Bait under their tongues to keep them warm during Ice Fishing in the colder months?
The Missisquoi Abenaki have a rich oral history. Much of this history has been documented on audio cassette tapes of the elders telling their stories that are housed at Tribal Headquarters. The three photos below show most of these oral history audio cassettes.
Photos 3, 4 and 5. Shows a sample of Missisquoi oral histories recorded on audio cassettes.
AGAIN, SHOWING A PHOTOGRAPH OF THE "OUTSIDE" OF AUDIO-CASSETTE CONTAINERS, DOES NOT MEAN THAT SUCH CONTAINERS CONTAIN ANY THING OF MERIT, TO VALIDATE, THAT ANYONE OF THESE "ABENAKI" CORPORATE ENTITY ARE OF "NATIVE" "NATIVE AMERICAN" "INDIAN" OR "ABENAKI" GENEALOGICAL CONNECTION(S).
SHOWING A PHOTOGRAPH OF ALLEGED SAMPLES OF MOST OF THE ORAL HISTORIES SUPPOSEDLY RECORD ON AUDIO CASSETTES IS NOT PROOF OF ANYTHING. THE MERE ACT OF SHOWING "JUST A SET OF FILE CABINETS AND 3 PHOTOGRAPHS OF AUDIO CASSETTE CONTAINERS" SHOWS AND PROVIDES A LACK OF TRANSPARENCY, TO MY THINKING.
WHAT IS BEING SHOWN AND PROVIDED IS
SMOKE AND MIRRORS
[REDACTED] recounted a family history about an [REDACTED] who collected and sold wild plants, she was a medicine woman and a midwife. She helped several community members deliver their children. She knew the old ways and past some of that knowledge on to her children and other family members. They knew where to go to collect medicinal plants and the uses of them. [REDACTED] remembers fondly as she would go to [REDACTED] home as a child. Here are some photos of [REDACTED] provided by [REDACTED] that were taken at [REDACTED] 81st Birthday Party in 1983.
[REDACTED] & Her Children
[REDACTED] & Relatives
Other fishing/hunting anecdotes there are citizens within the tribe that can catch walleye by using just their hands, rubbing the fishes belly and throwing them up on shore; Many citizens still hunt, fish, trap and collect plants and medicinal herbs daily. Wild plant/medicinal plant collection techniques are still common today some are used for medicine and some are for consumption. Several people within our community have certain recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation. Chief April remembers as a child growing up eating wild animals that not everyone in the community would eat. Her friends would not eat at her house unless they knew for sure there was no wild game for dinner. The Chief's family did a lot of hunting, fishing, trapping, and gathering of wild plants, berries and nuts. These activities were done as a family everyone learned how to live off the land. This is what has been hand down from generation to generation and continues to be taught to today's generations as well.