Wednesday, July 29, 1987
North Conway, New Hampshire
Keeping Indian Memories Green
By Erma Perry
Not since the Indians gave away Manhattan for $24 has there been so much for so little as the little Indian Shop in Intervale. If you are a scholar, you can brush right past the trinkets for tourists and pick up rare manuscripts on local Indians.
"This book," said Stephen Laurent, owner of the shop and son of a full-blooded Abenaki Indian, "was printed back in 1859. You could not buy it today for any amount of money."
The book gives the history of the Abenaki Indians, their vocabulary, some information on pronunciation, and the treaties entered into with the British.
Many people ask Stephen if he will sell that book.
"Hell, no," he says, "that is the only one I have, but I'll photocopy it for you."
He did, and now sells the photocopied book in his shop for a modest $3.95.
Books that are hard to find are the ones he copies. For instance, a book on omithology of the Northeastern Indians is very valuable and impossible to obtain. Some of his books are in French, because of his customers are linguists.
"Here is the story of Wonalancet," he says, "I copied that so other scholars could enjoy it."
Stephen's father wrote a book in 1884 called "Abenaki and English Dialogues". Some years ago Stephen recorded the entire book on five reels of tape. These tapes are in the library of the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia among their books on the American Indian.
"Someone heard them there," said Stephen, "and asked if I could read a shorter version of my father's book onto cassettes, explaining the pronunciation of the Abenaki words."
These cassettes are now in the shop, plus a ninety-minute one on Masta's "Book of Indian Legends", giving the etomology of the words. For instance, a white ash is called "a snowshoe tree", because Indians make snowshoes from it. A dog is 'one who runs before".
At the Maine Historical Society, Stephen met a man named Charles R. Huntoon.
"When he heard that I was an Abenaki Indian, he told me he was attempting to translate an Abenaki-French dictionary into English, but his French was not good enough."
A few months later Huntoon brought the famous Rasle dictionary to the post office in Jackson, where Steve was working, and slapped it down on the stamp counter. He wanted Steve to translate it.
Steve was elated. He had never had his hands on a copy before. He had only heard of it. Rasle was a Jesuit missionary at an Indian settlement in Maine from around 1691 to 1724, when it was attacked and burned by the British. Father Rasle himself was killed, but the dictionary miraculously escaped the flames.
"That book is in the Harvard Library now, and you cannot get within half a mile of it," said Stephen.
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Keeping Indian memories green
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In 1833 a man named Pickering undertook to have the Rasle dictionary printed, and what they have at Portland is the Pickering book.
Steve translated this book back in 1865, and it is today in the archives of the Maine Historical Society in Portland.
"Nice work," said Huntoon, "now how would you like to translate the Aubery?"
The Rasle has 200 pages. The Aubery, which Stephen is now translating, has 400 and is more like a real dictionary. Father Joseph Aubery was a Jesuit at St. Francis village from about 1705 to 1755. The original of that book is today in the Museum of the Abenaki Indians in Odanak, Quebec.
In the dictionary, Father Joseph Aubery says: "What is written in another handwriting other than the author's is not pure Abenaki. It is Algonquin. The author of this dictionary washes his hands of it."
During his lifetime, Aubery loaned the book to another priest who did not hesitate to annotate it, and he wrote in Algonquin. At the top of each page is a small cross which the Jesuits used to show that the work was done for the glory of God.
As a postscript to the dictionary, it says: "Here at last is the end of this teaching book for the Indians of the village. May it help anyone who studies it, and in their prayers let them remember the one who wrote it. Signed Joseph Aubery."
When the Director of the Museum of the American Indian in New York City visited Laurent, he said, "You know, you could get paid for doing this. You could be funded."
To this Laurent replied like a true New Englander, "I know I could; but if I accepted, I would probably have to devote more time to it than I care to.
"I would rather do it just on my own without pay and go as far as I can and drop it. If you are funded, you have to see it through to the bitter end. I am not i nthe trade for losing my eyesight. You can see how difficult it is to decipher."
The Abenaki Indians had formerly lived here in the White Mountains and in Maine before the white man chased them North from their hunting and fishing grounds. In Quebec, the French, at war with the British, welcomed them, encouraging their raids on the villages in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. The British retaliated by destroying the Indian settlement at St. Frnacis in 1759.
This was where Laurent's father was born in 1839. When the Jesuits baptized Indians who had unpronounceable names, they would give them the names of saints or feast days. Stephen's father became Joseph Laurent.
When Stephen was born in 1909, his village was still called St. Francis, but in 1917 the Canadian government decided that the Indians should have their own post office. The Indians chose the name Odanak, meaning "village where people live."
On a plaque outside the Indian Shop, dedicated to Joseph Laurent, tourists wil often question the paternity. How could Stephen be the son of a man who was born in 1839? Because Joseph had two wives and two sets of children, nine by the first and eight by the second. Stephen was the last adn the seventeenth born when his father was 69.
Stephen first went to a school run by the Grey Nuns of the Cross in his village, then on to Nicolet College to study the classics. His wife, Margaret, is a graduate of Adelphi College and Columbia University. She taught French in New York City. Both Laurents are devoted to keeping the memory of the Abenaki Indians alive.
When prestigious institutions like the National Geographic Society want authoritative answers to questions on the Abenaki Indians, whom do they call? Stephen Laurent in Intervale
© Erma Perry
Abenakis Hiding In Plain Sight?
I do not think the 'late' Stephen Laurent or any other Abenakis-connected-to-legitimate-Abenaki-Community, were "hiding" in plain sight or anything of the sort. Comparatively speaking, these "corporate" ALLEGED and REINVENTED "Abenakis" seem to use the Eugenic's Survey Program as a confabulated reason WHY of the lack of their genealogical, historical, and social documented connection(s) to the Abenaki Ancestor(s) of N'dakinna.
The Conway Daily Sun
November 29, 1996
By Edward Parsons
Tales from a musical life
His life molded by Native American and European tradition, multi-talented local Steven Laurent recalls stories from his days as a classical musician
Steven Laurent, 87, of Intervale has seen many sides of life - as son of an Abenaki chief, protector of ancestral land, author, musician, and Jackson Post Office worker. Born on the St. Francis reservation in Quebec, he travelled his first summer with his family down to his tribe's ancestral land in Intervale and continued to come here every summer to the "Indian Camps" next to the Intervale train depot. Eventually, he moved here permanantly.
In 1952 he married Margaret Pfister, and they moved into an ample house off of the main road (now 16A), where he still resides today.
Long ago, Laurent's father published a Abenaki/English dictionary. Following these practical and diplomatic footsteps, Laurent himself recently finished a unique collaboration that transcends time.
A St. Francis Jesuit missionary named Joseph Aubery (1701-1755), wrote a more complete French/Abenaki dictionary and phrasebook. Laurent has added English translations to this, and completed a French/Abanaki/English dictionary, published in December 1995 (Chisholm Bro. Press, Portland, Maine).
Recently, in a discussion with him, he brought up a part of his life influenced by European tradition, his musical side. We decided it was worth an article, as it effectively portrays an era of the Mount Washington Valley and elsewhere gone by, an era entertwined with this century's two world wars.
Laurent's musical life started when he was a child in St. Francis. In school he played the trumpet. His first paid performance occured one summer while down here in Intervale, when he was asked by Mrs. Merriman to play "Taps" for a play she was putting on. The next day, Mrs. Merriman's son came over to the Indian Camps and gave him two dollars - quite a sum in those days.
When he was 15, he bought a violin from a cousin in St. Francis for $30. This instrument, which he still treasures today, happened to be made in 1726 in Venice by Matteo Gofriller, a student of Stradavari. Laurent didn't take serious lessons on the violin until 1940, when he was living in Intervale year round. His interest at that time stemmed from being part of the Conway Village Orchestra, begun in 1935 and directed by Etta Kennett. They played at commencements, held concerts and practiced every week. Laurent was also a guest player at Sunday classical concerts at the Eastern Slope Inn, given by a Swiss Orchestra in residence at the inn.
This group had come to America at the outset of World War II in order to play at the New York World's Fair. When it was over, it was too dangerous for them....
see PARSONS page CN 3
Cool News Page 3
to go home. Harvey Gibson invited them to North Conway, where they remained.
Laurent's violin teacher was Melvin Bryant, a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, who had a summer house on the West Side. "He was a great teacher and personality," says Laurent. "He had many stories about the BSO that have stayed with me."
[See article remainer by puting "cursor" over image of article and click, to enlarge the document]
Valley Folks 
Laurent publishes Abenaki dictionary
By Gabrielle Griswold
Intervale resident and full-blooded Abenaki Stephen Laurent is shown above [image] with the French-English-Abenaki-dictionary he had printed last fall. Laurent began work on the dictionary in 1965 and completed it in the summer of 1994. His is the first Abenaki dictionary to feature English translations.
Article from an Native American Magazine
Regarding Stephen Laurent
Story and Photography courtesty of Brock Dethier
Thursday, May 31, 2001
Stephen Laurent, keeper of Abenaki tradition, dies
Nephew from Quebec will take over maintenance of Intervale camp site.
By Joshua Williams
The Conway Daily Sun
Conway - Stephen Laurent, Abenaki Indian elder, passed away on Sunday. He leaves the traditional Abenaki encampment located in Intervale to be maintained by his nephew, Deny Obomsawin, an Abenaki now living in Quebec.
"It's a sad day for us," Obomsawin said when he learned that Laurent had died at age 92. "He was a great resource for Abenakis and the Abenaki past. It's a sad day."
Laurent was one of the last remaining Abenakis living in the area. Born in 1909 on Odanack Abenaki settlement near the St. Francis River in Quebec, Laurent moved to Intervale in 1940. He was Jackson Postmaster form 1945 to 1975, and played cello and violin in local chamber music
see LAURENT page 10
Laurent Page 10
Laurent was known and widely respected for his translation of a French-Abenaki dictionary. The original French-Abenaki dictionary is credited to Father Aubery, a Jesuit priest who died in 1755. Laurent worked for 30 years translating Aubery's dictionary into English. In 1995, 500 copies of Laurent's translations were printed. Laurent also recorded the entire book onto tape, to preserve the pronunciation of words as they should be spoken.
Laurent maintained a gift shop and cabins in Intervale.
The Intervale site is now owned by
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from preceding page
the town of Conway. The Peguawket Foundation had purchased the land in 1985, and gave it to the town the same year. There is a walking trail on apporximately two acres of property which is maintained by the twon conservation commission.
The town has an agreement with the Abenaki people to let the Abenaki use the site during the summer.
The site is listed on the National Historical Register.
Although Laurent did not own the land, he has a life estate deed on the property, allowing him to maintain the buildings until his death. Obomsawin received permission from the town in 1995 to maintain the property and buildings after Laurent's death.
The original deed had specified that the property would return to forest land upon Laurent's death, and that the buildings would be taken down. Selectmen decided in 1994 to change the deed to allow the buildings to remain.
"I will take over," Obomsawin said of the Intervale site. "It's important to our people. It will be open. Because I live in Canada, it will mostly be open on weekends."
Laurent's father, Abenaki Chief Joseph Laurent, brought his people from Quebec to Intervale in the summer of 1884, and the Abenaki returned every summer to Intervale for years. Chief Laurent was born in 1839, and died in 1917.
"It was our area, where we started," Obomsawin said. Chief Laurent "went there to go back to where our ancestors are from."
A monument at the Intervale site dedicated to Chief Laurent reads: "In 1884 he led back to the land of their fathers a group of Abenaki and Sokoki Indians and established here in the woods of Intervale a perennial summer settlement of his people." The monument was erected in 1959, "in love and reverence by his children."
THe Abenakis once populated land across New England and up the St. Lawrence River in Quebec.
Many Abenaki fled north to the Odanack settlement in Quebec, where Obomsawin now lives, to escape the diseases and wars brought by English settlers.
Odanak was the site of a 1759 massacre of the Abenaki people that was led by Robert Rogers, in retaliation for a 1745 Abenaki attack that destroyed his Dunbarton homestead.
Today, approximately 400 Abenaki live at the Odanack settlement.
Furber and White Funeral Home of North Conway will be in charge of arrangements for Laurent. Dates and times for any services have not yet been determined.
Intervale - Stephen Laurent, 92, died May 27, 2001, in Memorial Hospital, North Conway, New Hampshire.
Born in the Indian village of the St. Francis in Odanak, Quebec, Canada, he was the son of Abenaki Chief Joseph Laurent and Georgianna (Wawanolet) Laurent of the St. Francis Abenaki Indian Reserve.
He attended Nicolet Seminary, Nicolet, Quebec, Canada.
Before retiring in 1974, Mr. Laurent worked many years for the U.S. Postal Service in Jackson. In addition, he and his family operated the Indian Shop in Intervale for many years.
He was a communicant of Our Lady of the Mountains Roman Catholic Church; a member of many historical societies in the Mount Washington Valley.
Mr. Laurent spent the past 25 years translating Father O'Brien's copy of Aubery's French to Abenaki dictionary to English. It was published in December of 1995 by Chisholm Bros. Press, Portland, Maine.
He was married to Emily M. (Pfister) Laurent, who died August 18, 1993.
Family members include a sister, Bernadette Laurent of Odanak, Quebec, Canada; and nieces.
SERVICES: A memorial service is planned for Thursday, June 28, at 10 a.m. in Furber and White Funeral Home, North Conway. Burial will be in Intervale.
Memorial donations may be made to the charity of one's choice.
Dr. Gladys Tantaquidgeon
Mohegan Medicine Woman
Gladys Tantaquidgeon began training with her aunt, Medicine Woman Emma Baker, as a specialist in herbal medicine in 1904. From another traditionalist aunt, Fidelia Fielding, she learned the ways of the makiawisug (the sacred woodland little people who guard healing plants).
In 1919, Gladys began studying anthropology with Dr. Frank Speck at the University of Pennsylvania. After completing her research there, she toured among northeastern tribes to conduct field work. Then, in 1934, she was hired by the federal government to administer new educational privileges for northeast Indians under the Wheeler-Howard Act.
Gladys made perhaps her greatest contribution in 1931 when she joined her father, John, and brother, Harold, in founding the Tantaquidgeon Indian Museum, an institution was created for the display of Native artifacts. She worked there until 1935, when Commissioner of Indian Affairs John Collier offered her a position as an Indian reservation social worker in Rapid City, South Dakota. In 1938 Gladys transferred to the Indian Arts and Crafts Board to serve as a "Native Arts Specialist" under Dr. Rene H'Arnoncourt. Her duties with that newly created agency included organizing Indian cooperatives and researching and preserving ancient Indian artistic techniques.
Gladys concluded her government service in 1947 and returned to Mohegan Hill. Since then she has worked as the fulltime curator of the Tantaquidgeon Indian Museum. During the 1970's and 1980's she served on the Mohegan Tribal Council.
Gladys is the aughter of numerous articles on New England Indians and of the book Folk Medicine of the Delaware and Related Algonquin Indians. She has received numerous accolades for her academic and social contributions. Among them are the Eagle Achievement Aware for distinguished service to New England Indians from Eagle Wing Press, Inc.; the Tiffany Jewel Award from the University of Connecticut; the Friends of Education Award from the Connecticut Education Association; the Wauregan Award from the Mohegan Tribe; the Connecticut River Pow-wow Society's Award; and the Elders Aware from the Institution for American Indian Studies. In 1987 she received the Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the University of Connecticut.
Was Dr. Gladys Tantaquidgeon "hiding-in plain-sight" too?
I think not.