Burlington Free Press Newspaper
Letter: Miller stands up for Abenaki people
Thursday, October 14, 2010
After all of the struggles that the Abenaki people have endured over the years, we have had a few great senators like Hinda Miller willing to stand up and do the right thing. Senator Miller really cares about people and has been with us through all the highs and lows of recognition.
Our journey together has been one of mutual respect and admiration of just how tough you really need to be when working in the public spotlight.
The Nulhegan Tribe is proud to have someone of Hinda's caliber in our corner. We know and trust her to do the right thing for all Vermonters, no matter how it affects her personally.
Don Stevens is chief of the Nulhegan Abenaki Tribe, Lake Memphremagog.
This is a "classic" slap-me-on-the-back-and-I-will-slap-you-politically-on-the-back in-return. The Nulhegan-Coosuk group of people are composed of person's from the Clan of the Hawk, Incorporated (led by Ralph Skinner Swett) which was created by Howard F. Knight, Jr. ... and also some from the Mazipskwik Traditional Incorporated (led by Connie Brow) which was a "spin-off" of person(s) previously allied with Homer Walter St. Francis Sr. So, in conclusion, how can this self proclaimed "Nulhegan-Coosuk-Memphremagog group" claim to be a "Tribe" when its people are comprised of "refugee's" from these other incorporation's? As I have repeatedly stated, incorporation's do not equal Abenaki Tribes. Donald Warren Stevens, Jr. upon leaving the April Merrill group St. Francis/Sokoki Band of "Abenakis" became "Chief" of this "Nulhegan" group when Luke Willard was appointed by the previous Governor Jim Douglas to the Vermont Commission on Native American affairs, which is comprised of four of these incorporation's members/representatives. Don Stevens Jr. began to SOLICIT his Phillips relatives to join the Nulhegan, to make it appear legitimate AFTER he was appointed to the position of "Chief"!! How can a "Tribe" honestly exist BEFORE the solicitation of membership? It doesn't!
In a letter sent to "Chief" April St. Francis - Merill is Shumlin's letter of support for State Tribal Recognition.
October 28, 2010
To whom it may concern:
Vermont has always been a leader in the fight for equality and civil rights. I am proud to have led the charge to overcome some of those struggles in our state. Yet, much work is left to be done.
It is disappointing to think that Vermont has failed to recognize its native Vermont's for so many years. Rather than refusing to acknowledge and show appreciation of our land and the people living in it, we should embrace it.
Our Native American friends and neighbors should have access to the same rights and privileges as all other Vermonters. No longer should a Vermonter be denied a heritage based college scholarship. And no longer should merchants be barred from marketing their wares as "Abenaki made."
As a state we must reaffirm our commitment to respect all people living within our borders. During my time in the Senate, it has been my privilege to support legislation which seeks to do just that. I look forward to working with the Vermont Abenaki population to continue the fight to ensure that all Vermonters are treated with dignity and respect they deserve.
(3) A process for appointing a three member review panel for each application to review the supporting documentation and determine its sufficiency, accuracy, and relevance.
Deborah Blom was contacted by Melody (nee: Walker) Brook, soliciting Deborah Blom Ph.D and her possible participation as a scholar on the 3-member-Review Panel. Melody Walker-Brook explained that it was a FACT FINDING COMMITTEE, and Deborah Blom knew that that was DIFFERENT than what was discussed at the Meeting of the Committee where Deborah moderated, and Nancy (nee: Millette) Doucet had got up and walked off (swearing profanity as she did so); and she (Blom) declined. Deborah stated that the Academia should not be difficult to find, because they have to do a certain amount of community work, and the students could help with the research. NOT this CHECK CHECK CHECK type of thing that Melody Walker Brook is interpreting the law (S.222) to be, today. The Review Panel is supposed to RESEARCH/REVIEW, the material submitted and make sure it is factually accurate. The PROCESS the Scholars are supposed to us IS NOT a CHECK MARK this and that type of dynamic.
How are they defining "scholars"? Where are the Genealogists (and NOT Sherry Gould of Bradford, New Hampshire either!), Professionals, and Lawyers?; they are just using "Academic" scholars.
The review panel shall provide a detailed written report of its findings and conclusions to the commission (VT Commission On Native American affairs), the applicant (the VCNAA's appointee's who sit on the VCNAA ... "Chief's"!), and legislative committees (like Vincent Illuzzi, how became a "Honorary Chief" of the Clan of the Hawk, Inc. who obviously supports and has allied with these "Abenaki" incorporation's). Members of each review panel shall be appointed cooperatively by the commission and the applicant from a list of professionals and academic scholars with expertise in cultural or physical anthropology, Indian law, archaeology, Native American Indian genealogy, history, or other related Native American Indian subject area. If the applicant and the commission are unable to agree on a panel, the state historic preservation officer shall appoint the panel. No member of the review panel may be a member of the commission or affiliated with or on the tribal rolls of the applicant.
Frederick Matthew Wiseman's son Fred Jr. sits on the Commission. Takara Matthews, daughter of Carollee Reynolds sits on the Commission, and she is a member of both the St. Francis/Sokoki and the El-Nu groups! Luke Willard and Dawn Macie both sit on the Commission. Both of them created the Nulhegan-Coosuk/Memphremagog, Inc. group! ETC. Frederick Matthew Wiseman Ph.D reviewed one of the "Alliance" group's application(s) and yet he is Coordinator of such "Alliance"; and he conducted most of the "scholarly work" these "Alliance" groups cite in their "Applications"! He is a member of the St. Francis/Sokoki Band of Abenaki led by April (St. Francis) Merrill. Therefore it is a conclusion that he is BIASED in his thinking, in his conclusions, and also in his "scholarly work" including his biased review of these application(s) of his "VT Indigenous Alliance" groups. Even IF one of these biased, non-transparent "scholars" does not "review" one of the "Alliance" group's applications, just the FACT that these groups have created an Alliance with each other since 2008, places this whole application review by these "scholars" (who have a long "working history" with these groups) into question. This Commission chaired by Luke Andrew Willard and everyone sitting on this Commission, right along with these "Scholars" are TOTALLY BIASED.
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Around The Region
Native American Panel Meets First in Newport, Vermont
Luke Willard of Brownington wants to hear from people in his own county about the needs of Native Americans.
A member of the Nulhegan Abenaki
He is coming, as chairman of the newly reformed Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs, to Newport City to find out what others have to say HIS OWN INCORPORATION MEMBERS!
The commission holds its first meeting Nov. 16 at Goodrich Memorial Library in Newport City with a potluck luncheon at noon to meet and greet those involved in or interested in Native American affairs.
The commission will then conduct a business meeting at 1 p.m.
The Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs has been charged with establishing a process for state recognition of Native American tribes in Vermont. The Senate Committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs, chaired by Sen. Vincent Illuzzi, R-Essex-Orleans, introduced the commission's mission in the past year.
Illuzzi said he welcomes the commission to Newport City, noting the area has a relatively large number of residents of Native American descent.
"I hope that the commission will help Native Americans around Vermont continue to document their heritage and rebuilt their cultures and traditions," Illuzzi said.
Willard wants to devote the noon hour to hear about the needs and concerns of local Native people and to answer questions.
Here is the posting from the "Nulhegan" group's Facebook page...
ABENAKI NATION AT NULHEGAN/MEMPHREMAGOG The Vermont Indian Commission will meet in Newport, Tuesday, November 16th starting at noon. Tell the commission about our needs. Tell the commission that you want Title VII Indian Education for your children and/or grandchildren. Urge the commission to work hard in our community. Urge our legislators and educators... to attend. This is our time to be heard. -- Chief Don Stevens November 8, 2010 at 4:19pm
He also hopes that local educators will attend the meeting to learn more about Title VII Indian Education, a federal program that could bring money to local schools in the county. The commission intends to focus on education and public awareness.
"I think they go hand in hand," Willard said. "There are many Abenaki students in the schools in Orleans County. But I think most are afraid to embrace, and in some cases admit, their own heritage because it could bring teasing from other students who are only taught a small piece of Abenaki history, and literally nothing about the contemporary Abenakis who sit at the desk right beside them."
"This was a problem when I was a student and now I hear about it from my own children," Willard said.
The Newport meeting is the first of many throughout Vermont for the commission.
Where is the PROOF or EVIDENCE of Luke Willard's alleged "problems" of school discrimination, bullying or teasing from other students"? I think this is simply yet another example of these "Chief's" created confabulated "stories" in which to attempt and create a falsehood into being a false reality, to garner public "sympathy" for a reality that NEVER existed in the first place!
Page [1.]VCNAA MEETING MINUTES
November 16, 2010
Luke Willard, Chairman
Melody Walker - Brook, Vice-Chair
Charlene McManis, Secretary
Fred Wiseman Jr.
Fred Wisman Sr., Swanton
Chief Nancy Millette- Doucet, Koasek
Linda "Longtoe" Sheehan, Elnu
Katie Dye, Elnu
"Miss Lucy" Neel, Nulhegan
Billy Largy, Nulhegan
Nancy Daceir, Derby
Rachel Dugen, Morgan
Roxana Deyo, Nulhegan
Kathy Joyce Phillips, Nulhegan
Sandra Kilburn, Swanton
Ron Kilburn, Historic Preservation
Axie Noyes, Plainfield
Alain Berube, Nulhegan
Mandie Berube, Nulhegan
Randy Smith, Clan of the Hawk
Loraine Liberty Curtis, Clan of the Hawk
Eugene St. Onge, First Nation Bear Clan
Travis Collins, Nulhegan
Jaime Collins, Nulhegan
Evelyn Willard, Nulhegan
Donna Shelton, Nulhegan
Carol Irons, Albany
Robert Smith, Caledonian-Record
Anne Showalter, Milton
Mike Showalter, Milton
Debbie Willard, Nulhegan
Jessica Davis, Nulhegan
Lisa Davis, Nulhegan
Dwayne Davis, Nulhegan
Hope Bent, Nulhegan
Keith Davis, Nulhegan
Nancy Davis, Nulhegan
Bradley Davis, Nulhegan
Todd Pronto, Orleans
Roger McManis, Montpelier
Grace Mekersic, Holland
Roger "Longtoe" Sheehan, Elnu
Deb Smith, Westmore
Andrew Pike, Newport (He claims to be Luke's father)
Frank Cheney, Nulhegan
Yvonne Dague, Nulhegan
Before the meeting convened, a potluck and informational forum was held with questions, testimonies and statements. There was a general sense of neglect and a lack of cultural awareness among the guests who testified. Passionate testimonies in regards to Abenaki education and essential needs, or more specifically, the lack of it were voiced by many. Also many questions were posed in regards to the process and benefits of state recognition. Koasek, Elnu and Nulhegan submitted applications to the commission.
Luke brought the meeting to order at the Goodrich Memorial Library in Newport at 1:47 PM
1. Approve minutes of October 19, 2010
The minutes were reviewed. Nathan Pero moved to accept the minutes as written. Fred Wiseman seconded. All agreed.
Page [2.]VCNAA meeting
November 16, 2010
2. Native American Heritage Month
Luke read Governor Douglas's proclamation of Native American Heritage Month which was met by a large round of applause. Last proclamation was May 17, 1993 by Governor Salmon.
Several events were discussed including the panel discussion at UVM and the "Circle of Courage" program in Swanton. Discussion was held regarding planning more extensively next year. It was brought up that the first week of May was proclaimed as Abenaki Heritage Week and that October is Archaeology month. Native American Heritage Month will be a frequent item on agenda.
3. Abenakis & Schools
K-12 Curriculum - Luke spoke about the need for Abenaki history and contemporary social studies in the K-12 curriculum. Luke asked for a motion to updated the New Dawn curriculum and issue it to all schools in this state. TK moved to update the New Dawn curriculum and seek funding in order to print and distribute the updated information to every school in Vermont. Dawn seconded.
Teacher's Resource Guide - Discussion was held regarding developing an educator's resource guide. It was explained that a few resource guides were already available. The commission agreed to update to update and combine all information and make it available to the public.
Title VII Indian Education - Luke passed out information about the VII Indian Education. Discussion was held regarding tutoring, cultural revitalization, and language. There was high interest from our guests, all in favor of Title VII in the local school systems to increase cultural awareness.
4. Update of Scholar Review Panel
Credentials and a short bio of Eloise Beil. TK moved to accept Eloise Biel into the active scholar's list. Fred seconded. Melody will update the panel list and forward to members. Luke asked Melody to get a bio on Scott Dillon.
1. Meeting Locations
New meeting locations will be added to the website. Governor-Elect Shumlin will be addressing the commission at our January 19 meeting in Montpelier.
After a statement of gratitude from Luke to our guests, the meeting was adjourned at 3:05pm.
Respectfully submitted by:
Charlene McManis, Secretary
Page [1.]VCNAA Meeting Minutes
November 30, 2010
Luke Willard, Chairman
Melody Walker, Vice Chair
Charlene McManis, Secretary
Fred W. Wiseman
Fred Wiseman Ph.D, Johnson State College
Chief Don Stevens, Nulhegan
Roger McManis, Montpelier
Doug Bent, Braintree
Luke brought the meeting to order at Johnson State College at 6pm.
1. Approved Minutes of November 16, 2010
Fred moved to approve the minutes after removing the word "testimony" and replacing it with "discussion". Melody seconded. All agreed.
2. Update of Scholar's Active List
Melody has made attempts to contact Lisa Brooks to join the scholar's list but has yet to receive a response. Melody will create an updated Scholar's list with Paul Tamburro and Scott Dillon.
3. Update/Distribution of New Dawn Curriculum
After much discussion, it was decided to start fresh with the curriculum. The commission will work with scholars, educators, agencies, etc to develop the curriculum. This will take time. A draft resource guide was presented for review. Discussion was held and commissioners were very happy with the draft which was approved and will be updated and made available in December.
4. Meeting Locations
Updates will be posted to the website.
5. Applicant's Review Panels.
Fred moved to accept Eloise Beil, David Sknias and Bill Haviland for Koasek's review panel. Takara seconded. All agreed. Melody moved to limit scholars to two petitions for review at a time so as not to overload them. Fred seconded. All agreed. Additional information for Koasek's application was passed to commission members. Charlene moved to accept Fred Wiseman Sr., Dave Lacy and Eloise Beil for Elnu's review panel. Takara seconded. All agreed. Takara moved to accept Kevin Dann, David Lacy and David Skinas as Nulhegan's review panel. Fred seconded and all agreed. Luke excused himself from participating in this discussion. Chief
Page [2.]Don Stevens announced that there are 5 members listed in the Nulhegan application who are decreased. They are listed to honor the memory of their commitment to achieving recognition. Charlene stated that there are deceased tribal members on the Grande Ronde's tribal rolls.
1. Work Groups to review applications
Discussion was held regarding creating work groups to review applications. Luke, Takara, and Nathan will review the Elnu application. Melody, Shirly, and Fred will review the Nulhegan application. Dawn, Charlene, and David will review the Koasek application.
Fred Wiseman Ph.D informed the commission of three projects in which the commission may consider supporting: The Vermont Indigenous Ethnobotany Project, The Vermont Indigenous Summit, and The Vermont Indigenous Cultural Center. After a summary of each project, the commission agreed to lend whatever support is necessary.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:30 pm.
Respectfully submitted by: