Criterion 83.7(f) requires that the membership of the petitioning group is composed principally of persons who are not members of any acknowledged North American Indian tribe.
Summary of the Proposed Finding
The PF concluded the petitioner met criterion 83.7(f) based on three documents: two petition documents and the SSA's 1996 governing document, which contained proscriptions against SSA members having membership in any other federally recognized North American Indian tribe. The PF strongly encouraged the petitioner to modify its "enfranchisement" form to include a statement that applicants for enrollment must sign, attesting that they are not members of a recognized North American Indian tribe and are not citizens of another country.
The PF did not investigate whether the members from the current petitioner appeared on the rolls of neighboring federally recognized Indian tribes. If SSA members were enrolled in Indian tribes, those Indian tribes would mostly likely be located in the nearby northeastern United States, or Canada.
Summary of the Comments on the Proposed Finding
The Department received no comments, from either the petitioner or any other party, on the PF's conclusions under criterion 83.7(f).
Analysis for the Final Determination
The department contacted the BIA's Eastern Region office and requested its assistance in cross-referencing the SSA's confirmed adult membership list, the "A1" list, with the membership lists of other federally recognized Indian tribes in Maine: the Aroostook Band of Micmac Indians of Maine, the Passamaquoddy Tribe of Maine, and the Penobscot Tribe of Maine. Cross-referencing the petitioner's "A1" list with these three lists revealed that the petitioner's "A1" membership list does not overlap with the membership list of any of these three federally recognized Indian tribes from Maine. The membership list from the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, a fourth federally recognized Indian tribe in Maine, was not available for cross-referencing.
There are no federally recognized Indian tribes in nearby New Hampshire, and there are no other Abenaki Indian tribes in New England in which SSA members might be enrolled. According to the definition section of 25 CFR 83. 1, an Indian tribe "means any Indian or Alaska Native tribe, band, pueblo, village, or community within the continental United States that the Secretary of the Interior presently acknowledges to exist as an Indian tribe." Therefore, the regulations do not require the Department to investigate whether the petitioner's membership includes individuals enrolled in Indian tribes outside the United States, including, in this petitioner's case, the Canadian Abenakis at Odanak. Therefore, based on the Department's research for the PF and
The petitioner did not inform the Department that it modified its "enfranchisement" form to prohibit explicitly applicants from being enrolled in another federally recognized Indian tribe or from being citizens of another country. Nonetheless, the 25 CFR Part 83 regulations do not require this, and the petitioner's failure to modify its "enfranchisement" form does not prevent the petitioner from meeting criterion 83.7(f).
Final Determination's Conclusions on Criterion 83.79(f)
The petitioner meets criterion 83.7(f) because its membership is composed principally of persons who are not members of any acknowledged North American Indian tribe.
Summary of the Proposed Finding
Based on a review of the available documentation, the PF discovered no evidence that the petitioning group was the subject of congressional legislation to terminate or prohibit a Federal relationship as an Indian tribe. The PF concluded that the petitioner met the requirements of 83.7(g).
Summary of the Comments on the Proposed Finding
The Department received no comments, from either the petitioner or any other party, on the PF's conclusions under criterion 83.7(g).
Final Determination's Conclusions on Criterion 83.7(g)
Based on the available evidence, the FD concludes that the petitioner meets the requirements of criterion 83.7(g).
This FD clarifies some conflicting information regarding Simon Obomsawin, one of the petitioner's "20 primary ancestors" (Abenaki PF 2005, 131). The PF stated that Elvine Obomsawin Royce (1886-1969) was the daughter of a Simon Obomsawin (1850-1910), but that "[it] is uncertain, but likely that this Simon Obomsawin is the same individual as "Simon Obomsawin fils" on the 1873 and 1875 St. Francis (Odanak) Abenaki censuses" (Abenaki PF 2005, 136 [emphasis added]). The PF also stated that if the connection were correct, then the eight descendants of Elvine Obomsawin Royce who are in the SSA group would be descendants of St. Francis Abenaki (Abenaki PF 2005, 137, n. 124). Elsewhere the PF stated that the SSA provided evidence that appears to indicate that eight of the petitioner's current members may in fact descend from on Simon Obomsawin" (Abenaki PF 2005, 138 [emphasis added]). These conditional statements were intended to give direction or guidance to the petitioner for additional research or evidence to confirm that the Simon Obomsawin, who was the ancestor to at least eight of the current members, was the same man identified as belonging to the St. Francis (Odanak) Indian tribe in Canada in the 1870's.
In the summary statement for criterion 83.7(e), the PF concluded that there was no primary or reliable secondary evidence that the petitioner's 20 "primary ancestors" descended from the "Missisquoi Band of Western Abenaki Indians," which is the entity that the petitioner claims was the historical Indian tribe (Abenaki PF 2005, 139). Thus, the conclusions concerning descent from the historical Indian tribe included Simon Obomsawin as one of the twenty ancestors lacking sufficient evidence.
The PF also concluded that:
Nor is there evidence that any ofthe SSA's current members descend from individuals named on historical documents which list Abenaki, such as the mid-18th century register of Fort Saint-Frederic (Roy 1946, 268-312), the 1765 Robertson lease (Robertson 1765.05.28), or the censuses or pay list of St. Francis (Odanak) Indians in Canada (Recensement du Villages 1873, Recensement du Villages 1875; Indian Distribution Pay List 1893.04.14), with the possible exception of the 8 current members who are descendants of Simon Obomsawin (Abenaki PF 2005, 139).
Thus, the petitioner was notified in the PF Summary under the Criteria that there was both a problem of the membership's undocumented descent from its claimed "20 primary ancestors," as well as a lack of evidence that those "20 primary ancestors" were members of a historical Indian tribe.
One of the petitioner's current members submitted a "Family Genealogy" chart that listed his parents, four grandparents, and six grandparents. This chart listed Elvine Obomsawin (1886-1967) as his father's mother, Simon Obomsawin, (born 1850 in Odanak) and Celina Obomsawin as the great-grandparents, and Simon Obomsawin (born 1824 in Odanak) and Catherine de Gonzaque (born 1830 in Odanak) as the paternal great-great-grandparents (Royce, Terry Alan Sr. 8/15/1952). This applicant's membership file also included his birth record naming both parents, and his grandmother's marriage record, which named her (Elvine's) parents as Simon and "Celvin" (sic: Celine) O'Bomsawin, who were both born at Pierreville, Quebec, Canada. The file also included a document, apparently compiled in 1987 by John Moody that summarized the genealogy of Elvine Obomsawin. This report included annotations showing that Moody consulted the registers of Mission St. Francois-de-sales, Odanak, and of the St. Francois-du-Lac Catholic Church, "Gordon Day's genealogies, taken from his own oral and written history work over the past 35 years," and Moody's own "recent research, oral or written." 31. Moody also stated that Simon's wife Celine died before 1899. Simon then married his second wife, Agathe Picard, in 1899 at Odanak. According to Moody, the children of Simon and Celine Obomsawin were William Simon, born 1879; Malvina, born 1881; Marie-Anne (Marion), born 1883, Leona (1885-1889); Elvine, born 1886; Marie-Anne (not Marion), born 1888; and Salmon (1890-1892) (Moody 6/2/1987). John Moody's annotations indicated that the full dates of birth and death for these children came from the Mission St. Francois-de-Sales, Odanak; however, he did not include copies of any of the original records.
Gordon Day's notebook showed that on July 30, 1957, he spent "3 hours at the Obomsawin camp" where he interviewed Elvine, Marion and William Obomsawin, and recorded songs and stories. They stated that their father and sister (not named) were in Gettysburg. William stated that his father, (Simon) came to Vermont between 1895 and 1900 and that he first camped at Cedar Beach, Charlotte, and implied that Simon built the house on Thompson's Point about 1907. Day stated that "Their father's mother was Moise DeGonzaque." This interview also included mention of other family members such as "Marion's Aunt Mary" and "Louis Napolean" who was their father's cousin. According to Day's interview, "Elvine was brought up by Mrs. Reeves, an Abenaki woman in Lakewood, N.Y. Marion was brought up by Mrs. Louis Watso, an aunt in Claremont, N. H." (Day 7/1948-11/13/1962).
31. The current record does not include copies of the original records, just Moody's notes and citations. Neither the petitioner nor Moody sent copies of these records, although Department requested them in the PF.
The 1930 Federal census of Charlotte, Chittenden County, Vermont, included the household of Simon Obomsawin, an Indian, 77 years old (born 1853), widow, born in "Canada-French," whose parents were also born in "Canada- French." According to the census he immigrated to the United States in 1908. His daughter Marion, age 37 (born 1893), and son William, age 44 (born 1886), were in the same household (1930 Federal Census, Chittenden, Charlotte Town, Thompson Point, ED 4, sheet 6A, household #130/137; PFR-GPF-V003-D0017). Simon's daughter, Elvine (Obomsawin) Royce was listed as, white, age 43 (born about 1887) and living with her husband and children in Duxbury, Washington County, Vermont, in 1930 (1930 Federal Census, Vermont, Washington County, Duxbury, ED 12-15, sheet 1A, household #6/6). Her husband and children were all born in Vermont. The census enumerator listed Elvine's birthplace as "Canada/English" and the same for both her father and mother, and that English was her native language. Her eldest child was born in Vermont in about 1913. (Elsworth C. Royce was age 17 on the 1930 census.)
The 1910 census of the town of Charlotte, Vermont, included Simon Obomsawin, Indian, age 62, with his second wife, Agathe, Indian, age 60, and daughter "Eveline [sic]," age 21, who were all born in "Canada-French," as were each of their parents. According to this census, they all came to the U. S. in 1904. Although there are some conflicting data, the two U.S. censuses do support the parentage and origins of Elvine Obomsawin Royce.
The records from Odanak, Canada, show the migration of a Simon Obomsawin family out of the village before 1873, although at least one son and daughter appear to have remained in Odanak until 1875, when they, too were listed in their father's household and "residing elsewhere in Canada." The following description of the Canadian records starts with the earlier identifications and works forward in time in order to show more clearly the movements of the Simon Obomsawin and his father's family.
The age categories for the 1873 census of Abenaki Indians at St. Francis identified males or females over 20 years old, between 12 and 20 years old, or under 12 years old. This census included "Simon Obumsawin fils" age 22 and "Marie Jeanne Obumsawin," age 16 as residents of the village (Recensement du Villages 1873, 5). Living elsewhere in Canada was the household of Simon Obumsawin (Sr.), age 46 and "Catherine M Gonzague Obum [sic]," age 40, included Mathilde "Obum" who was between 12 and 20 years old, and Elvine, Cecile, Ursule, F. de Sales, and Gonzague, who were all under 12 years old (Recensement du Villages 1873, 7). Two years later, the "Simon Obumsawin fils" and Marie Jeanne Obumsawin" were in the off reservation household of Simon Obomsawin.
The 1875 census of "St. Francis Abenaki Villages" listed the household of "Simon Obumsawin, age 48 (born about 1827, or the Simon Sr. in 1893) as one of the "Residents du Canada" (Recensement du Villages 1875, 6). The headings for the fields of information on the census called for the enumerator to put a mark in the column for males or females who were over 17, 16-5, or under 4 years of age. Most residents in the villages also had a specific age listed for
At the end of the residents of the villages section of the 1875 census was a brief statement explaining the reduction in numbers of residents since the previous census. Under the heading "Absent En Canada" was an entry for "S. Obomsawin fils 2," which could be interpreted to mean that two of S. Obomsawin's (probably Simon Sr.) sons had left the village and were living elsewhere in Canada. It could also mean that the man identified as "S. Obomsawin fils" and another member of his household had moved. If the latter is correct, it would account for Simon fils and Marie Jeanne who had been on the reservation census in 1873, but were living elsewhere in Canada with the older Simon Obomsawin in 1875.
The "1893 Indian Distribution Pay List" listed heads of house and number of males, females, boys, and girls in each household, along with the number of individuals paid, the number paid at the previous distribution, the number of decreases in the household due to emigration or death, the number of increases per household by immigration or birth, and remarks (Indian Distribution Pay List 04/14/1893). This list does not include residences, so we do not know where these households were located. Several "Obumsawins" were enumerated on this list, including three Simons, Mathilde, Mary J, and "L. Napolean," among others. Household #72, Simon Obumsawin fils [followed by illegible word], was occupied by a single man who had not been paid on the previous distribution. There were no increases or decreases in the composition of this household and no comments in the remarks column (Indian Distribution Pay List 04/14/1893). The PF speculated that this might be the Simon Obomsawin who later moved to Vermont (Abenaki PF 2005, 136). However, it now looks like he was a young man out on his own for the first time.
Household #69, "Simon Obumsawin Jr.," had one male, one person paid, seven people who were previously paid, and one person who died since the previous distribution. In the remarks column is the note that two children were adopted by No. 66 (Jean Elie Obumsawin), one child adopted by No. 108 (Louis Wawanolet), and one child adopted by No. 86 (Stanislas Panadis). This fits the composition of the Simon Obomsawin family described by Moody (Moody 1987), that of a family where the mother died before 1899 and two children died before 1893 (Indian Distribution Pay List 4/14/1893). The fact that four children were adopted out and that one person had died since the previous distribution indicates that the mother of the children died and that Simon Jr. was unable to care for the four young children by himself. This family also matches the circumstances and composition of the family interviewed by Gordon Day who identified four children (Elvine, Marion, William, and "their sister" in Gettysburg) and their father Simon, who were still living in 1957. Elvine and Marion also told Day that they were "brought up by" someone other than their parents: "Elvine was brought up by Mrs. Reeves, an Abenaki woman in Lakewood, N.Y. Marion was brought up by Mrs. Louis Watso, an aunt in
Household #78, "Simon Obumsawin Sr.," had one adult male who was paid a share of the distribution. There were no increases or decreases in the composition of his household and only one individual had been paid on the previous distribution. This appears to be the Simon Obomsawin who married Catherine de Gonzague and was the father of Simon Jr. described above.
Household #79, Mathilda Obumsawin, was a single female, who was paid one share and who had been paid on the previous list. Household #77, Mary J. Obumsawin, also composed of a single female who had been paid one share on the previous distribution as well as one share on the 1893 distribution (Indian Distribution Pay List 4/14/1893). This is most likely the "Marie Jeanne" who was living with Simon, Sr. in 1875 and with Simon fits in 1873. She is also likely to be the "Aunt Mary" mentioned in Day's interview.
These censuses support the reported family configurations and national origins of Elvine Obomsawin as recorded by Moody and Day. The censuses of St. Francis Abenaki at Odanak and 1893 Indian Distribution Pay List confirm family connections between members of the Simon Obomsawin [Sr.] family and confirm that his family lived in Canada, but not always in the Abenaki Indian Village. In fact, the family lived away from the village as early as 1873. Simon Obomsawin Sr.'s son, Simon Jr. was on the 1893 List apparently a widower with four young children that he "adopted out" after the death of his wife, Celine. Therefore, although the petitioner did not submit any additional vital records to confirm the birth dates and family connections, there is sufficient evidence in the record to verify that eight members of the SSA descend from Simon Obomsawin who was once part to the St. Francis Abenakis at Odanak. This Simon Obomsawin may have been living away from the village before 1873, but he associated with it through the 1890's. At some point around 1900, this Simon Obomsawin moved from Canada to Vermont.
NOTE: Jeanne Anne (nee: DeForge) who married Douglas Francis Brink on August 28, 1971 in Montpelier, Vermont, "and her family relatives" were merely associated with the "St. Francis/Sokoki Band of the Abenaki Nation" and not fully members of such group. See Page 43 and FOOTNOTE: 21. of this FD, wherein it is stated, The 2005a list had additional categories, including an "M2" category (looking for more proof); a "3" category (more documentation is needed); and an "N" category (no Abenaki). The petitioner does not consider the individuals listed in the "O" category of the same membership list are affiliated with Odanak/St. Francis, and thus are not fully members of the petitioner's group. Also, on Page 52 of the FD it is stated, When read together, the Proposed Finding, the Appendix, and the rest of the Final Decision conclude that 8 of the petitioner's 1,171 full members, less than 1 percent, demonstrated descent from a Missisquoi Abenaki Indian ancestor. By 1800, most of the historical Missisquoi Abenaki Indian tribe had migrated to St. Francis, or Odanak, in Quebec, Canada. The available evidence demonstates that these eight members descend from Simon Obomsawin, who once belonged [?] to the St. Francis, or Odanak Indian Community, and who can be traced to the historical Missisquoi Abenaki tribe through lists of Indians belonging to St. Francis, or Odanak. The available evidence does not demonstrate that these eight members were assosciated with the St. Francis/Sokoki Abenaki petitioner before the 1990's.
Furthermore, the available evidence does not demonstrate that the other remaining 1,163 members, or their claimed ancestors, descend from an earlier Missisquoi Abenaki entity in Vermont or any other historical Indian tribe.
So, with that said, WHY is it that with the Vermont Legislative writing-up (retrospectively-speaking) S.117 and S.222, is the Vermont Politican's attempting to grant Official State Recognition to this Swanton, Vermont-based and confabulated Incorporation calling itself the "St. Francis/ Sokoki Band of the Abenaki Nation" group (led today by the late Homer St. Francis Sr.'s daughter April nee: St. Francis Rushlow-Merrill , since her father's death) Or for that matter, any of the other Incorporated groups who have created this concocted "VT Indigenous Alliance" a.k.a. "Abenaki Alliance" with April St. Francis-Merrill, in 2011?
The question begs an answer, in contrast to what the O.F.A. of the B.I.A. and the Attorney General's Office (William H. Sorrell and Eve Jacobs-Carnahan) concluded BASED ON THE FACTUAL DOCUMENTATION. Is anyone willing to address this question, and provide an answer to these Incorporated Group's 3-D's? I'll inform readers what the 3-D's are, in a little bit in this post.
Or perhaps the better question could be... Ought any of these INCORPORATE GROUPS to gain Legislative "Abenaki Recognition" from the Legislature, based on dubious questionable foundations of being connected to the Abenaki People?
And yet another question....If the Missisquoi, Coosisak ("Koasek"), and the other Abenakis in New England went to Odanak, Quebec, Canada and of course, there are Abenakis and their descendants who have openly lived their lives and died in Vermont and New Hampshire within the previous 100-200 years (like the O'Bomaswins, Watso's and Robert Families etc., to name just a few, WHERE are their descendants in all of this "Abenaki Recognition" Process going on here in Vermont and or New Hampshire?! Why are these Incorporated Groups who are now proclaiming that their follower's/members are "Abenaki Tribes" so afraid, threatened and hostile towards Abenakis and their descendants who ARE connected to Odanak etc.? I will explain where I am going with this, in the next posting of documents.......