Page [91.]Governor Kunin's 1990 Executive Order establishing the Governor's Advisory Commission on Native American Affairs:
STATE OF VERMONT
WHEREAS, It is the public policy of the State of Vermont to recognized the historic and cultural contributions of Native Americans to the State and to protect and strengthen that heritage by assuring that the problems and concerns of Native Americans are addressed in state policy, programs and actions;
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that I, Madeleine M. Kunin, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Governor of the State of Vermont, do hereby establish the Governor's Advisory Commission on Native American Affairs:
1) The Commission shall be comprised of seven members, appointed as follows:
Three members shall be appointed by the Abenaki Tribal Council, with the approval of the Governor, for terms of two years. In order to provide for overlapping terms, two members from this group shall be appointed initially for one-year terms.
Three members shall be appointed by the Governor from the public, for terms of two years. In order to provide for overlapping terms, two members from this group shall be appointed initially for one-year terms.
One member shall be appointed by the Governor from a list of three or more candidates from the public, compiled by the Division for Historic Preservation, after consultation with the Abenaki Tribal Council and other interested parties, to serve a two-person term as Chairperson of the Commission.
2) Recognizing the responsibility and jurisdiction of coordinate branches of government, the Commission shall act in advisory capacity to the Governor and may:
Study problems and issues and make recommendations to the Governor relating to the cultural, educational, and economic concerns of the Native American residents of the State of Vermont.
Study how state agencies can recognize the contributions of Native Americans to the heritage and culture of the State, and make recommendations to the Governor as to how state agencies can support and enhance those contributions through policy and programs.
Recommend to the Governor actions that will facilitate communication with, and the exchange of information about, Federal, state, or other government programs or information that may assist Native Americans in the State culturally, educationally, or economically.
Recommend to the Governor actions that will protect archaeological and other physical artifacts, sacred and traditional places, and cultural traditions of Native American's in the State.
3) The Commission shall meet at the call of the Chairperson, and members of the Commission shall be reimbursed for mileage expenses incurred in travelling to and from Commission meetings, pursuant to paragraph 4 below.
4) The Division for Historical Preservation shall provide mileage reimbursement to the Commission, as instructed by the Chairperson. The Division may also provide administrative support to the Commission, as instructed by the Chairperson, in so far as the Division determines that adequate funds and staff are available.
5) The Commission may seek and receive funding from federal or other sources to assist it in its work, as approved by the Governor.
6) The Chairperson of the Commission shall regularly advise the Governor of the Commission's deliberations and recommendations.
7) Except for action 5 of the Executive Order #3 of Governor Richard A. Snelling dated January 28, 1977, said Order is hereby rescinded.
8) Nothing in this Executive Order shall be construed as according official recognition to any Native American tribe or tribal entity.
This Executive Order takes effect upon signing.
IN WITNESS MY NAME HEREUNTO
subscribed and the Great Seal of the State of Vermont
hereunto affixed, at Montpelier this 22, day of November,
Madeleine May Kunin
By the Governor:
Kathleen C. Hoyt
Secretary of Civil and Military Affairs
Executive Order #97
The 2006 Abenaki Recognition Bill (S.117):
NO. 125. AN ACT RELATING TO STATE RECOGNITION OF THE ABENAKI PEOPLE
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. 1 V.S.A. chapter 23 is added to read:
CHAPTER 23. ABENAKI PEOPLE§ 851. FINDINGS
The general assembly finds that:
(1) At least 1,700 Vermonters claim to be direct descendants of the several indigenous Native American peoples, now known as Western Abenaki tribes, who originally inhabited all of Vermont and New Hampshire, parts of western Maine, parts of southern Quebec, and parts of upstate New York for hundreds of years, beginning long before the arrival of Europeans.
(2) There is ample archaeological evidence that demonstrates that the Missisquoi Abenaki were indigenous to and farmed the river floodplains of Vermont at least as far back as the 1100s A.D.
(3) The Western Abenaki, including the Missisquoi, have a very definite and carefully maintained oral tradition that consistently references the Champlain valley in western Vermont.
(4) Many contemporary Abenaki families continue to produce traditional crafts and intend to continue to pass on these indigenous traditions to the younger generations. In order to create and sell Abenaki crafts that may be labeled as Indian- or Native American-produced, the Abenaki must be recognized by the state of Vermont.
(5) Federal programs may be available to assist with educational and cultural opportunities for Vermont Abenaki and other Native Americans who reside in Vermont.
§ 852. VERMONT COMMISSION ON NATIVE AMERICAN AFFAIRS ESTABLISHED; AUTHORITY
(a) In order to recognize the historic and cultural contributions of Native Americans to Vermont, to protect and strengthen their heritage, and to address their needs in state policy, programs, and actions, there is hereby established the Vermont commission on Native American affairs (the “commission”).
(b) The commission shall comprise seven members appointed by the governor for two-year terms from a list of candidates compiled by the division for historic preservation. The governor shall appoint a chair from among the members of the commission. The division shall compile a list of candidates’ recommendations from the following:
(1) Recommendations from the Missisquoi Abenaki and other Abenaki and other Native American regional tribal councils and communities in Vermont.
(2) Applicants who apply in response to solicitations, publications, and website notification by the division of historical preservation.
(c) The commission shall have the authority to assist Native American tribal councils, organizations, and individuals to:
(1) Secure social services, education, employment opportunities, health care, housing, and census information.
(2) Permit the creation, display, and sale of Native American arts and crafts and legally to label them as Indian- or Native American-produced as provided in 18 U.S.C. § 1159(c)(3)(B) and 25 U.S.C. § 305e(d)(3)(B).
Page [94.](3) Receive assistance and support from the federal Indian Arts and Crafts Board, as provided in 25 U.S.C. § 305 et seq.
(4) Become eligible for federal assistance with educational, housing, and cultural opportunities.
(5) Establish and continue programs offered through the U.S. Department of Education Office on Indian Education pursuant to Title VII of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act established in 1972 to support educational and cultural efforts of tribal entities that have been either state or federally recognized.
(d) The commission shall meet at least three times a year and at any other times at the request of the chair. The agency of commerce and community development and the department of education shall provide administrative support to the commission.
(e) The commission may seek and receive funding from federal and other sources to assist with its work.
§ 853. RECOGNITION OF ABENAKI PEOPLE
(a) The state of Vermont recognizes the Abenaki people and recognizes all Native American people who reside in Vermont as a minority population.
(b) Recognition of the Native American or Abenaki people provided in subsection (a) of this section shall be for the sole purposes specified in subsection 852(c) of this title and shall not be interpreted to provide any Native American or Abenaki person with any other special rights or privileges that the state does not confer on or grant to other state residents.
(c) This chapter shall not be construed to recognize, create, extend, or form the basis of any right or claim to land or real estate in Vermont for the Abenaki people or any Abenaki individual and shall be construed to confer only those rights specifically described in this chapter.
Sec. 2. EFFECTIVE DATE; APPOINTMENTS TO COMMISSION
(a) This act shall take effect on passage.
(b) The governor shall make appointments to the commission no later than 90 days after the effective date of this act.
Approved: May 3, 2006
Special Sites Burial Fund Reference
Senate Committee oil General Affairs House Committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs Governor's Advisory Commission on Native American Affair's
John S. Hall, Commissioner
Department of Housing and Community Affairs
DATE: February 18, 2003
RE: Unmarked Burial Site Fund Report
The Commissioner of the Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) is issuing this report oil the Unmarred Burial Site Fund to the Senate Committee on General Affairs, the House Committee oil General, Housing and Military Affairs, and the Governor's Advisory Commission oil Native American Affairs pursuant to Section 58, Act No. 149 (2002 Adj. Session). The statute required a report on the following:
1.) The fund balance, including the sources of deposits
A Capital Bill line item of $50,000 was appropriated to the Fund for use in FY2003. The current fund balance is $15,000.
2.) Disbursements that have been made from the fund, the municipality for which the disbursement was made, and a description of the process used or implemented by the municipality to protect unmarked burial sites or property owners, or by both.
The Department of Housing and Community Affairs disbursed $35,000 from the fund to the Vermont Land Trust for use as part of the cost of acquisition cost of the Auger Property Oil Monument Road in Highgate. The Commissioner at that time, Gregory Brown, determined that the town of Highgate met the requirements for the use of the funds within its boundaries. The Auger property is surrounded on three sides (the fourth being the Missisquoi River) by property acquired by the State of Vermont over a period of several years to protect known or assumed Native American burial sites. In the professional opinion of Division for Historic Preservation archaeologists and other professional archaeologists, there is no doubt that there are similar unmarked burial sites on the Auger property. In the interest of protecting such burial sites and preserving and improving relations between Native Americans and property owners along Monument Road, the Vermont Land Trust negotiated the purchase of the property from Wilfred Auger's estate upon his depth in 2002. DHCA granted the $35,000 to the Vermont Land Trust. for this purpose. A copy of the grant agreement is attached to this report.
3.) Management processes implemented by municipalities that are designed to protect unmarked burial sites, preserve Native American human remains and protect the rights of owners of property on which unmarked burial sites evict or are suspected to
exist an evaluation of the effectiveness of these processes and a description of the actions taken by the Division for Historic Preservation to encourage and support appropriate municipalities to design such a process.
The municipalities and Swanton and Highgate have developed policies on addressing unmarked burial sites. Town officials worked with property owners and representatives from the Abenaki community to develop the procedures for identification and protection. Highgate and I believe Swanton have adopted interim zoning on Monument Road to address ground disturbance concerns. The Division has focused on the Auger property purchase and worked with the Vermont Land Trust to develop a base map identifying known burial sites on Monument Road. We have also, in partnership with the Natural Resource Conservation Service and land owners undertaken a remote sensing (ground penetrating radar) project on selected Monument Road properties to assess feasibility of identifying unmarked burials using non-ground disturbing methods. The project was partially successful and resulted in recommendations for improving this methodology.
4.) Improvements made to facilitate access to and communications with the Governor's Advisory Commission on Native American Affairs, including assuring publication of telephone and fax numbers and postal and email addresses in local and state directories, improve access to the Governor's Advisory Commission on Native American Affairs.
The Governor's Advisory Commission on Native American Affairs will be listed in the soon-to-be published revised Vermont State Government Directory and will be in the online directory as well. The Commission is also listed as a link on the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation's web site.
5.) The status of any rulemaking initiated or completed pursuant to this act.
To date, no rulemaking has been initiated.
2001 Joint Resolution 62 Recognizing Chief Homer St. Francis:
State of Vermont
House of Representatives
Joint House Resolution
Joint resolution in memory of Abenaki Chief Homer St. Francis
Offered by: Representatives Obuchowski of Rockingham, LaVoie of Swanton and Winters of Swanton
Whereas, Homer St. Francis was a descendant of Abenaki Chief Graylocks, and
Whereas, he honorably served in the United States Navy, the Marine Corps and Vermont National Guard, and
Whereas, after completion of his active duty military service, Homer St. Francis dedicated his life to the reawakening of the long-suppressed Abenaki culture and political structure, and served as chief until his passing, and
Whereas, his leadership was highlighted by two terms of service as Chief of the St. Francis-Sokoki Band of the Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi from 1974-1980 and from 1987-1996, and
Whereas, he was a passionate advocate on behalf of his band, and sought, albeit without success, to promote its identity through distinctive systems of automotive and fishing licensing, and
Whereas, while he did not either achieve either federal or permanent state recognition for the Abenaki, Homer St. Francis empowered his tribe in a manner it had not experienced since the first Europeans settled in Vermont, and
Whereas, Homer St. Francis triggered an awareness of Abenaki history among the citizens of Vermont, and
Whereas, his death marks the passing of Vermont's leading defender of Native American rights, and
Whereas, the respect that Homer St. Francis had engendered in many quarters was symbolized by the attendance at his funeral of leaders in state government and representatives from many Native American tribes in the northeastern United States, and
Whereas, Homer St. Francis will be remembered as a determined Abenaki leader who has never deterred from promoting the advancement of his people, now therefore be it
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:
That the General Assembly extends its sincere condolences to the family of former Abenaki Chief Homer St. Francis, and be it further
Resolved: That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to his daughter, Chief April Rushlow in Swanton.
Speaker of the House
President of the Senate
Donald G. Milne
Donald G. Milne
Clerk, House of Representatives
VT LEG 145918.1
United States Department of Agriculture USDA
NRCS ... Natural Resources Conservation Service
617 Comstock Rock, Suite 1, Berlin, Vermont 05602-8498
Date: June 15, 2000
To: All Employees
From: John Titchner, State Conservationist
Re: Assistance to Help the Abenaki Rebury Ancestral Remains
Many of you may have recently heard of the human remains that were exposed during excavation of a cellar hole for a new house being constructed along the Missisquoi River in Highgate. This property adjoins the Monument site for those of you that attended the All Employees Day in 1995.
At least four Abenaki burials have been exposed and more remains are expected to be found in the back dirt. Yesterday the State of Vermont purchased the property from the landowners to protect the site from further disturbance and it is now time to restore the cemetery site. The Abenaki have asked the NRCS for assistance to help them collect human remains and any grave goods that may have been interred with the deceased. The Abenaki will then bundle the remains together according to tradition for a re internment ceremony. Dave Skinas will be organizing our involvement in the effort that is expected to begin during the week of June 19, 2000 and may continue into the following week. I realize that this is an extremely busy time of year for everyone but if you could help Dave Skinas it would be greatly appreciated by NRCS and the Abenaki nation. As well as an excellent cultural resources awareness opportunity your assistance will be highly regarded by the Abenaki people.
Please contact Dave Skinas at 828-4493 for more details and directions to the site if you are interested in devoting some time to this effort.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service works in partnership with the American people to conserve and sustain natural resources on private lands.
An Equal Opportunity Employer
Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service
617 Comstock Road, Suite 1
Berlin, VT 05602-8498
Date: August 18, 2003
To: Fran Keeler, State Conservationist
From: David Skinas, Archaeologist D.S.
Re: Reappointment to the Governor's Advisory Commission on Native American Affairs
On May 29, 2003 Governor Jim Douglas reappointed me to the Governor's Advisory Commission on Native Americans. I write this memo to assure you that this appointment will not create a 'conflict of interest' with my NRCS duties or any USDA programs. This commission is charged with advising the governor on Native American issues in Vermont and consists of six members and the chair, all serving a two year appointment. Three members are appointed by the Governor and three members are chosen by the Abenaki tribal council which the governor then approves. The Abenaki tribal council norminated me to one of their available three positions.
This commission does not receive grants, write grants or distribute funds and has no financial interests in any organization. They do not participate in any fundraising or membership activities for any organization. Their role is entirely advisory to the governor and the Abenaki tribal council. The Commission makes recommendations about improving economic self-sufficiency, cultural enrichment, health coverage and educational initiatives such as developing a Native American curriculum for public schools. As an NRCS employee my first and foremost responsibility is in the interest of NRCS and the federal government. Commission members do not vote but reach consensus on matters important to the Abenaki community. If consensus of a particular issue is required that remotely hints of a conflict of interest I will withdraw from the discussion.
My role will be to advise the commission on cultural resources issues that affect the Abenaki and other Native Americans in Vermont. I will provide technical assistance only and will not be involved in any policy related issues. Our first charge is to help the state and Abenaki tribal council implement a policy on how to respectfully identify and protect Native American burial sites located in the Swanton-Highgate area and Alburg. I am sure you remember the unfortunate incident that occurred in the summer of 2000 when excavation of a house foundation disturbed at least 27 Abenaki burials. This burial policy will also be used throughout Vermont which will provide NRCS with clear guidelines on how to treat burials when they are accidentally exposed during installation of conservation practices.
This appointment will also help me better serve as the Native American Indian Emphasis Program Manager because I will have a direct link to tribal members to distribute information about grants, scholarships and employment opportunities that are provided to me by our National Special Emphasis Program Manager.
United States Department of Agriculture USDA
Natural Resources Conservation Service
617 Comstock Road, Suite 1
Berlin, VT 05602-8498
March 20, 2008
Chief April St. Francis-Merrill
Abenaki Nation Tribal Council
Swanton, Vermont 05488
Re: FY07 and FY08 NRCS Conservation Projects Planned in Franklin County.
Dear Chief April:
Enclosed are Practice Description Forms for USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) projects planned in Franklin County. I send these projects for your review to comply with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, as amended, but more importantly I submit these practices to you in a spirit of cooperation to endure that any burial sites or other heritage resources important to the St. Francis-Sokoki band of the Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi will be considered during planning. Please let me know if there are any traditional cultural properties, sacred sites or other important resources located within or near the area of potential effect that concerns you or other community members.
If you would like to discuss these projects or other cultural resources issues please call me at 828-4493 ext. 102 and my cell is 802-233-0526. The NRCS and I look forward to continue working closely with you and the Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi to help protect your valuable and irreplaceable cultural heritage.