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Saturday, January 21, 2012

So Let Us Review the Results of the Oct. 1982 Petition and the Jan. 1986 Addendum ~ Part 9:


The petitioner admits that “the Missisquoi villagers were never a tribe,” but rather a changing groups of families who hunted in the area. The confusion in nomenclature in the petitioners own submissions indicate a more serious ambiguity as to identity and an uncertainty about community and descendancy.

The only area in which Colin Calloway adds information to Gordon Day’s work is in his smatterings of references to events in the 19th century. However this is not his own research but rather it is traceable to unpublished writings of John Scott Moody, an advocate for the “Abenaki” who authored the instant Petition.

Petitioner overstates the size of the Abenaki population at Missisquoi during this period (ca. 1749) in which it asserts that Missisquoi grew at the same rate as Odanak/St. Francis. This ‘theory’ is unsupported and contrary to other research.

The fact that this Robertson’s Lease of 1765 at Missisquoi is for 91 years suggests that the Abenakis had no immediate intention of returning to use the land. John Moody’s contrary reading of the Robertson’s Lease is tenuous at best.

The real significance of Robertson’s Lease is that it the ONLY existing list of names of Missisquoi Abenakis prior to the mid-1970’s.

Also in the year 1765, Moses Hazen sought a grant of land on the Missisquoi River from the British Governor of Lower Canada (Quebec). The petitioner pointed to the refusal of the Governor to approve this grant as an indication that the Abenakis had not left the area (Petition: 37). However, the actual letters of the Governor’s secretary are not so clear. Secretary Goldfrap called off the survey in order to ascertain whether the lands belonged to Indians or not. He wrote to Lieutenant Scott, who was stationed at Montreal, on March 29, 1765, as follows:
His said Excellency and Council accordingly ordered a Warrant of survey Directed to the Surveyor General in the usual Form, since which information has been Received that the Lands so petitioned for, are the property of the Indian Nation Inhabiting near Montreal, it is therefore Desired that you will make ample Inquiry of the said Indians, or of any other people touching their pretention thereto…..(Goldfrap 3/29/1765)(emphasis added).
There is nothing in that correspondence that identifies the owners of the land as Abenakis. 14. Rather than confirming that Indians were living on the Missisquoi in 1765, this letter raises the possibility that the land belonged to the Indians who formerly belonged on the Missisquoi but had since left and were then living near Montreal, raising the possibility that the political center of that Indian group was based near Montreal. Thus the Indians referenced by that correspondence could have been the Caughnawagha Mohawks15. Either in their own right or as spokesmen for the Seven Nations, which included the St. Francis Abenakis [at Odanak!].

Footnote 14. William Haviland and Marjorie Power overstated the evidence, perhaps because this section of their book is not based on their own research. Rather, they stated in their bibliographical notes, for events following 1763, “they relied almost exclusively on John Scott Moody (1979) and the data from the Abenaki Petition [for Federal Acknowledgement] (1982) and its Addendum (1986), much of which was gathered by Moody.”

Footnote 15. The Caughnawagha (or Kahnawake) Mohawks and Akwesasne were villages that were part of the Seven Villages, or Seven Nations of Canada which included the following: The Iroquois of Akwesasne, Kahnestake (Oka), Kahnawake, Oswegatchie, the Abenakis of Odanak, and Becancour (Wolinak), and the Hurons of Lorette.


Instead of tracing the descendants of members of that historical Abenaki community at Missisquoi down to the present, the petitioner attempted to show a community by listing all of the people who may have surnames similar to today’s ‘members.’ The petitioner listed both people who have married in to the group, who are non-Indian, as well as those who may have Indian ancestry, which confuses the issue. In various forms of the petition submitted at different times, census records were used by the petitioner to show the appearance of persons from whom the modern-day ‘community’ may descend.

Today’s petitioner looked (especially in the 19th century) much like the rest of the communities that were predominately French Canadian. Many of the petitioner’s ancestors had the same occupations, such as farm laborer, day laborer; many could not read or write English.

The petitioner’s ancestors did not identify in the records as ‘Indians’, and were intermixed with other French-Canadians, and many others. The petitioner’s petition attempted to give reasons for this phenomenon, and regardless, there is the fact that there were other persons listed in VT as Indian when the censuses were taken.

The ancestors of the modern-day ‘community’ were consistently listed as ‘white’ on Federal Census records.


The petition did not explain the details of this claimed process of living ‘underground’.

The available evidence does not demonstrate that the petitioner or its claimed ancestors descended from the St. Francis Indians of Quebec, a Missisquoi Abenaki entity in Vermont, any other Western Abenaki group, or an Indian entity from New England or Canada.

The petitoner’s group is a collection of individuals of claimed but undemonstrated Indian ancestry“with little or no social or historical connection with each other before the early 1970’s.”

The methodology used by John Moody of Norwich or Sharon, VT to support the petitioner’s claim(s) of descent from a historical Indian tribe was concluded to be unsound. The methodology posited genealogical connections based on similar surnames in geographically proximate locations. The researcher for the petition apparently searched for the family names of the St. Francis/Sokoki Abenaki (SSA) petitioner on 18th and 19th century lists for the St. Francis Indians at Odanak as well as in other local records of the greater Swanton area of Vermont. If the researcher (John Moody) found similarities between SSA surnames and the surnames in the greater St. Francis region of Quebec, Canada, he designated the SSA families to be “Abenaki” family lines. This is a flawed methodology for several reasons. First, it speculates about genealogical connections, but it does not document them.’ Therefore this methodology is not acceptable by current professional standards. Third, it assumed that individuals with a surname that is also borne by many Indians or frequently associated with known Indians are also Indians. Which is not necessarily factual the reality. And therefore, his cited 1979 MissisquoiAbenaki Survival in Their Ancient Homeland. The manuscript which is in the possession of the author, John Moody, of Sharon, Vermont and 91 pages was based on this flawed methodology.

Although the Petitioner claimed descent from the historical “Western Abenaki” Indian tribe, it did not document descent from that historical Indian tribe or any other historical tribe.

While the petitioner provided some limited genealogical information for its ‘members’, it did not demonstrate descent from the Western Abenaki Indians or any other historical tribe.

The petitioner did not properly identify its ‘members’.

The petitioner did not submit genealogical information that linked the group’s current ‘membership’ to individuals belonging to the historical Indian tribe of Western Abenaki Indians in the 17th, 18th, 19th, or 20th centuries.

The petitioner did not demonstrate descent from the Abenakis names on the register at Fort Saint Frederic or on the Robertson’s Lease.

The only known list of Abenaki Indians of the Missisquoi is the Robertson’s Lease. None of the 20 Abenakis listed in that 1765 Lease appeared in the Family Descendancy Charts of the petitioner. However, Addendum C. was apparently never provided to the BAR/BIA. The “Addendum C was referenced in the Petition, and described as containing family histories, an oral history overview, and a pre-1800 historical work summary.
When the genealogies were finally provided to the BIA, in the form of the Family Descendancy Charts in 1995, no indication of any connection to Robertson’s Lease was indicated in any of the family charts. In fact, 4 families that were listed in the Petition’s Addendum of January 1986 as having genealogies linked back to Robertson Lease are not even included in the revised genealogies of present day petitioner.
Apparently, the contention that the present day families can be allegedly traced to Robertson’s Lease of 1765, has been dropped, perhaps because there was NO REAL EVIDENCE to support it.

The current day petitioner and it’s ‘members’ are not descended from the historic Missisquoi tribe of Abenaki, or from the Abenak at Odanak/St. Francis.

There is simply NO evidence that the families of the petitioner descend from the people who they claim were Abenaki Indians living in northwestern Vermont at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

The petitioners claimed ancestors are not identified as Indians on any of the US Census records between 1790 and 1930. The petitioner did not demonstrate descent, either of its members or its 20 “social core families,” from any individuals belonging to a historical Abenaki Indian tribe (with the excemption of Simon Obomsawin that came from Odanak into Vermont).

There is no evidence in the current record showing that any of the petitioner’s current members descend from these individuals [Joseph Abomsawin and Marian Poorneuf].

The petitioner did not document the descent of its ‘members’ from a historical Indian tribe or from historical Indian tribes that combined and functioned as a single autonomous political entity.

The methodology used to support the undocumented contention that its 20 “social core families” as “Abenaki” families is a speculative methodology that does not meet professional genealogical standards.

Neither the petitioner nor any other party (such as John Moody, etc.) submitted new evidence in response to the repeated questions raised in the Proposed Findings by the BAR/BIA concerning the group’s claimed descent from the historical Indian tribe.

The “Against the Darkness” DVD created by Professor Frederick M. Wiseman presents no real genealogy that can be evaluated.

The Obomsawin descendants, such as Jeanne Brink, was not associated with the SSA 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.

The petitioner’s governing body submitted only 2 documents to considered for the Final Decision, which was a membership list from allegedly 1975 and a membership list from 1983. The petitioner labeled one list as the “1975” Tribal Roll-Abenaki Nation of Vermont, St. Francis/Sokoki Band.”

It is unclear if this is a copy of the original document, or a list that was compiled at a much later date, that attempts to reconstruct an earlier 1975 group.

Documents from the middle 1970’s generally refer to the group either as the “Abenaki tribe” or as the “Abenaki Tribal Council,” rather than the “St. Francis/Sokoki Band.”

The petitioner included no description of the circumstances surrounding the preparation of this list or any separate analysis of it.

On May 17, 2006, the BAR/BIA received a letter, dated May 9, 2006, and postmarked May 10, 2006, from Lester Lampman and several other individuals associated with the petitioning group. This letter alluded to “oral history” tapes in the possession of the family, but the letter did not provide copies of the tapes or transcripts of them. Despite being notified of the additional 90-day extension to the comment period, neither Lester M. Lampman nor the cosignatories of the letter submitted copies of the “oral history” tapes allegedly in the possession of the Lampman family, transcripts of the tapes, or copies of the documents that allegedly were “left in the files at the tribal office.”

November 15, 2005 
Editorial Comment
The Abenaki Decision Is The Right One
The Bureau of Indian Affairs recently denied federal recognition of the Abenakis as a separate and distinct Indian tribe. The Abenakis' petition failed four of seven criteria required for recognition.
The bureau's decision was the right one. The Abenakis' claim to tribal status has been ongoing for a long time now, but they are no closer to proving that they are a truly separate and distinct tribe than they were at the beginning. There are two distinct groups pushing for recognition, the sentimentalists and the avaricious. With regard to the sentimentalists, no amount of wishing will make tribal status so. As for the avaricious, their real motivation is to make land claims and establish casinos.
Attorney General William Sorrell's opposition to federal tribal recognition is predicated on his fear that land claims and casinos will inexorably come in the train of such recognition. That's a real fear and a real threat. That has happened with predictable regularity in a dozen places in the United States already. All one has to do to verify it is drive across the Mohawk reservation in upper New York State. Bingo palaces abound, casinos that lost out in the grab for the gambling dollar are falling down, and disputes with the state and federal governments over who has authority over what are a constant. 
Sorrell's position (and that of Gov. Douglas) may be unpopular among sentimentalists and racial opportunists, but it is the right one for Vermont.
 November 15, 2005
Abenaki leader blasts attorney general
Chief claims Sorrell blocked her efforts to obtain federal tribal status
By Sam Hemingway
Burlington Free Press Writer
Page A1
SWANTON - Abenaki Chief April St. Francis Merrill on Monday blasted the State Attorney General's Office for its role in persuading the Bureau of Indian Affairs to deny federal recognition to her tribal group last week.
"Despite the best efforts of the Attorney General's Office to harass, hinder and block our petition, the Abenaki Nation will proceed," Merrill said during a news conference at Abenaki Self-Help Association headquarters. "We will rebuff the efforts of the AG's office."
Last week, the Bureau of Indian Affairs turned down the petition for recognition of the St. Francis/Sokoki band of the Abenaki, saying the group failed to satisfy four of seven criteria for recognition.
The Bureau found there was not evidence the Abenaki remained a "distinct community" in northwestern Vermont through history. Federal recognition would allow the Abenaki access to a variety of federal grants and legal rights.
The Attorney General's Office, citing concerns about possible land claims and casino gambling has long opposed recognition. Attorney General William Sorrell said Merrill's attack on his office was off-base.
"It's unfortunate she won't stay on the facts of the case," he said. "I don't apologize for our office doing its work. If the ..... See ABENAKI, IIA
November 15, 2005
Lower Left Hand Corner: Raymond Roy Phillips
[Born June 26, 1942 in Swanton, VT to Louis Nolan Phillips and Catherine Sarah Weeks, and a sibling to Albert Leo Phillips and Richard "Blackhorse" Phillips ... married to Roxanne Rose Germain]
At the Birch bark Podium: April A. (St. Francis) 1m. Rushlow 2m. Merrill
[Born May 16, 1968 in St. Albans, VT to Homer Walter St. Francis, Sr. and Patricia "Patsy" Rae Partlow]
Behind "Chief" April A. St. Francis - Merrill: Louise May Lampman - Larivee
[Born September 03, 1959 in St. Albans, VT to Leonard "Blackie" Miles Lampman and Lorraine Mary Payea]
November 15, 2015
Abenaki leader blasts attorney general
Chief claims Sorrell blocked her efforts to obtain federal tribal status
By Sam Hemingway
Burlington Free Press Writer
Continued from Page 1A
.... Abenaki met the legal test, they would be entitled to recognition."
Merrill said she remains hopeful that her group's bid for federal recognition ultimately will be successful and said some of the deficiencies in the group's petition are easily correctable. She said the bureau failed to receive some key genealogical information for reasons she could not explain.
"I don't know how they didn't get it, because we sent it," she said. "I know that because I was the one who sent it."
Merrill, speaking with 30 tribal members standing silently behind her, also said she would be asking Gov. Jim Douglas for help in funding her tribe's effort to persuade the Bureau of Indian Affairs to reverse its decision.
She said the Abenaki has less than $5,000 in its bank account to fund legal work on its petition. "We have very little money," she said, "but we will do the work that needs to be done."
She estimated Sorrell's office spent $400,000 to oppose the Abenaki bid. Sorrell, contacted later Monday, said Morrill's estimate was wrong and that his office had spent $86,800 on legal work involving the Abenaki petition.
Meanwhile, a gubernatorial spokesman said later Monday that it was unlikely Douglas would provide the Abenaki the kind of financial help Merrill was seeking.
"Given the stage of the process and the BIA's very strong response, it is more likely the governor would authorize funding for economic development and education than provide resources for the Abenaki to hire attorneys," Jason Gibbs said.
Jeff Benay, chairman of the Governor's Advisory Commission on Native American Affairs, attended Monday's news conference but did not speak. Afterward, he said he, too, would ask Douglas if the panel could help out the Abenaki with its petition. Three members of the panel are Abenaki, he said.
On a related matter, Sorrell said late Monday his office would support legislation giving state recognition for the Abenaki, so long as the language of such a measure made clear that recognition would not lead to casinos, land claims or other actions detrimental to the state. He said a measure passed by the Senate in May lacks that sort of specificity.
"Now that federal recognition has run its course, we can turn to the issue of state recognition," Sorrell said. "We do not oppose state recognition."
 Here is another B & W article (previous put on this blog earlier)
Wednesday, November 15, 2005
Abenaki Chief Vows To Continue Fight For Federal Recognition After Setback
By Lisa Rathke
Associated Press Writer
SWANTON - The head of the Abenaki Indians living in Vermont said Monday that the group would continue to pursue federal recognition as a tribe and would ask the governor for money to help in the effort.
April St. Francis Merrill, chief of the Abenak Nation Missisquoi Sokoki band, said the group deserved the same amount of money that the attorney general's office has spent opposing its bid for state and federal recognition.
"While we struggle on our own to win federal recognition, the attorney general's office of Vermont is spending a significant amount of scarce taxpayers' dollars," she said.
The attorney general's office has questioned the Abenaki's heritage in Vermont and has argued that federal recognition would lead to land claims and casino gambling.
Last week the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs found the Abenaki have failed to meet four of seven criteria required for the designation and said it planned to deny the application.
Gov. James Douglas' spokesman, Jason Gibbs, said the governor had been neutral on the question of federal recognition.
"He's said the process would carry itself out and that he would be happy to abide by whatever the federal designation is."
On the question of money to support the Abenaki's continuing push for recognition, Gibbs said the governor's office had received no such request. "We will look at it and evaluate it when it arrives," he said.
"The governor has recently expressed support for economic development and education investments in their region of Vermont," Gibbs said. "I suspect his view will be that state money would be better spent on economic development and educational areas, rather than on lawyers."
The federal agency found the Abenaki failed to show that they had descended from a historical Abenaki tribe, that the tribe has existed since 1900, and that it has been part of a continuous community. The Abenaki have 180 days to revise their application.
"So this is far form being over for the Abenaki," Merrill said.
She said the group failed to send all the materials in its original application and said it would also provide more information to prove the number of Abenaki living in Vermont.
But she acknowledged that the group has little money - about $4,000 to $5,000 - to work with a lawyer and complete its petition.
She estimated that the attorney gerneral's office has spent about $400,000 researching the Abenaki. Deputy General William Griffin said Monday that his office had spent $86,000, on a part-time staff lawyer and consultants in about two years.
Merrill also criticized the attorney general's office for commenting on the bureau's preliminary findings when the process is not yet over and the Abenaki are preparing to respond.
"Despite the best efforts of the AG' office to harass, hinder, and block our petition, the Abenaki Nation will proceed," Merrill said.
Griffin said his office has received inquiries about the Abenaki's application and said the information from the bureau supported the state's belief that "the claims of this group are not supported by evidence."  
November 15, 2005
Abenaki Chief April St. Francis holds a news conference with fellow members of the Abenaki tribe at their headquarters in Swanton on Monday, November 13, 2005. Leaders of the Abenaki tribe met with reporters for the first time since the Bureau of Indian Affairs disclosed it was recommending against giving the tribe federal recognition.

NOTICE that Louise May Lampman - Larivee (and her brother?) standing BEHIND 
April St. Francis - Merrill ~ in support.

LINK: http://reinventedvermontabenaki.blogspot.com/2010/04/louise-may-nee-lampman-larivee-e-mail.html

If such a news event was an alleged "set up" as Louise Lampman proclaimed, then WHY didn't she simply leave the room? Even if, after the fact, she became aware of such an alleged "set up" by Jeff Benay towards her family members, then why didn't she, as "representative" spokeswoman of her family, the Lampman's make PUBLIC NOTICE that such was the reality of the situation?

On May 17, 2006, the Department received a letter, dated May 9, 2006, and postmarked May 10, 2006, from Lester M. Lampman and several individuals associated with the petitioning group. 4 The letter requested an extension of the comment period and contained comments on the PF. Attached to the letter were a photograph, a photocopy of a photograph, and 11 pages of documents to supplement their comments. The letter also alluded to “oral history” tapes in  possession of the family, but the letter did not provide copies of the tapes or transcripts of them.
Furthermore, the letter mentions documentation that was “left in files at the tribal office.”  The Department responded to this letter on June 2, 2006, notifying the senders of the 90 ­day extension to the comment period and confirming the receipt of their initial comments on the proposed finding. Despite being notified of the additional 90 ­day extension to the comment period, neither Lester M. Lampman nor the cosignatories of the letter submitted copies of the “oral history” tapes allegedly in possession of the Lampman family, transcripts of the tapes, or copies of the documents that allegedly were “left in files at the tribal office.” 

Footnote 4:
The letter was from Lester M. Lampman; Mark Wayne Rollo, Sr.; Louise Lampman Larivee; Larry LaPan, Sr.Colleen Brow Plante; and Lisa Lampman Rollo. Their letter begins with the assertion, “We are members of the St. Francis/Sokoki Band of the Abenaki Nation of Vermont.” However, only one of these individuals appears on the petitioner’s August 2005 “A1” list, the list that the petitioner’s governing body formally certified and the Department used to conduct its evaluation. The rest of these members appear on the petitioner’s “A2” list. In a letter the Department received on August 23, 2005, the petitioner defined the “A1” group as members with complete membership files. According to the petitioner, “A1” members are the only members eligible to vote in the group’s elections (ATC Minutes 08/12/1997, 2). The “A2” individuals are described as “Abenaki,” but cannot vote until they complete their files as requested” (St. Francis­-Merrill to AS­IA 2005, 1). For more information on the “A1” and “A2” lists, see footnote 21 on p. 43 of this FD and the Abenaki PF 2005, pp. 88­89, 140­146.

An exception that may refer to the period before 1975 is a photograph of the “Grandma Lampman Site Maquam Shore Project” memorial, which is a commemorative plaque affixed to a rock. The Lampman letter provided no description of who “Grandma Lampman” was, how she descended from a historical Indian tribe, or how she is related to the petitioner. 10 The memorial was dedicated in 1995. The location of the memorial and the author of the plaque’s text are unspecified. If a member of the SSA group authored the text of the plaque, it would be a self­-identification and thus not be evidence acceptable under the criterion. Otherwise, the memorial might, based on the dates of “Grandma Lampman’s” life, arguably constitute a pre­1975 identification of “Grandma Lampman” as an “Abenaki woman.”  The memorial also references
“her children and grandchildren.”  However, as stated earlier, references to individual Indian descendants or Indian families are not satisfactory identifications of an American Indian entity.
When the memorial’s text states, “This site will always be known as Grandma Lampman’s by the Abenaki Community and others,” it is unclear when or where this “Abenaki community” existed. However, the best estimate is that the “Abenaki community” is contemporary with the memorial itself, which was dedicated in 1995.

Footnote 10:
The petitioner’s FTM genealogical database lists a “Martha Ann Morits” who was Leonard M. Lampman’s
grandmother. According to the FTM genealogical database, Martha Ann Morits was born in 1866 in Bedford, Quebec, Canada, and died in 1943 in Swanton, Vermont, after living for 35 years in the United States. Martha Ann Morits allegedly descends from the Morice family, and the PF notes that the available evidence did not demonstrate that the Morice family descends from a historical Indian tribe (Abenaki PF 2005, 128­132). Whether or not “Grandma Lampman” descended from a historical Indian has no bearing on the evaluation of the memorial that was created in May of 1995.

So, the Lampman's, in part or in whole, claim to be 'members' of the "St. Francis/Sokoki Band of the Abenaki Nation of Vermont" ... (several 'members' of the Lampman family DID IN FACT sign on Incorporation and other documents, along with the Homer W. St. Francis Sr. family retrospectively-speaking) and yet ... April A. St. Francis - Merrill told the ASIA [Assistant Secretary of­ Indian Affairs] that the Lampman Family were NOT 'members', because the Lampman's needed to complete their files as requested .... meaning the Lampman's DID NOT submit the necessary documentary EVIDENCE to substantiate their claims of being "Abenaki" to the St. Family who were in power? 

Well, neither did the St. Francis Family either submit the NECESSARY documentary EVIDENCE of the St. Family being genealogically-historically or socially connected the Abenakis; so it IS like one NON-ABENAKI bunch of Wannabiak telling another NON-ABENAKI bunch of Wannabiak that they are NON-ABENAKIS. Go figure that one out eh.

Does one not smell the b.s./illusions/distortions (even from the Lampman "representative" of the "Maquam Band" ... in that she could not and or will not substantiate their claims of being "Abenaki"? She kept pointing towards that 1995 Monument for "Grandma (Martha nee: Morits) Lampman" that was contemporaneously created. Her father "Blackie" a.k.a. Leonard Miles Lampman was "Chief" of the "Abenaki" Self-Help Association Inc.'d (formerly operated by the late Homer W. St. Francis, Sr.). His own daughter, Louise Lampman-Larivee, and April St. Francis-Merrill were also working at ASHAI together. I will be addressing this document-for-document, in the blog at some point. Of course, the Lampman's have been mentioned documentarily, in this blog, numerous times already. 

So, what does this INDICATE ... as to the MERITS and FOUNDATION of the previously posted Petition and Addendum research data proposed by the  ALLEGED and RE-INVENTED "Vermont Abenaki" ??
Using Dr. Gordon M. Day's draft of his "Identity of the St. Francis Indians" in 1979, through Day' communications with John Scott Moody (along with the late "Chief" Homer St. Francis Sr. and his merry band of Franklin County, VT-based "Abenakis" situated in Swanton, Vermont....as well as the late "Chief" Leonard Miles "Blackie" Lampman) this "St. Francis/Francis" group claimed to be connected to ... 

Per the Oct. 1982 Petition's Jan. 1986 Addendum...
Page 147: …family tie to the Lake Road area goes straight back to the early Missisquoi village. The 'Swatson' oral tradition, recounted in this section, included the MoritsLampmanGardner,Phillips and St. Francis families, and was anchored on the Highgate side of the River at the Monument. 

On a parallel line of research, it was recently discovered that theMaurice/Morits Missisquoi family also used the name ‘Tanagite’.

Page 172: "Evidence has even appeared which suggests that the old Towgisheat (Tanagite) Abenaki Indian farm was in fact Morits (Maurice) land and remained in their control well into the 19th century." 

Page 314: "This was the period of the Swatson tradition given in detail here in Section 1 which stated that the MoritsLampmanGardnerLapanSt. Francis and Winters families were still living with Chief Swasson Tanagite (Joachim Morits) at the Monument.

Douglas Lloyd Buchholz' Research:

There is a 
Joseph Sanagite or Sanaghiki (Morrisseau) who married to Agnes Portneuf in September 1827 in L'Annonciation de la Bienheureuse Vierge Marie Church, at Oka, Quebec, Canada.

It appears that the man, 
Joseph Sanagite, was the son of an Algonquin father with the name Guillaume Kajigowich (sp.?) … and an Iroquoian mother named Ann Iawanouwe (sp.?), based on what the marriage record states in September 1827. It would appear that documentarily that this couple Joseph Sanagitte / Morrisseau and Agnes Portneuf were the parents of Sophie Morrisseau (who later married Theophile Panadis on 21 Sep 1846 at Odanak, Qc, Canada). Clearly her mother Agnes Portneufwas identified as Abenaki, per Agnes' marriage record).

Here's some interesting findings:

Sophie's sisterMarie Anne Sanagite Morrisseau married 1st to Michel Tahamont on Jan 19, 1848 at Odanak, Qc, Canada. He was the son of Laurent Tahamont and Marie Agathe Sanagite Saziboite(Not sure why they put "Sanagite" in the entry for Marie Saziboite, but I will leave it there until indicated to remove it; interesting, that it is there though)
Michel Tahamont had a brother, named Swanssin or Joachim Tahamont born on 17 Oct 1817 at Odanak, Quebec, Canada.
Marie Anne Sanagite ? /Morrisseau remarried a second time, to Guillaume O'Bomsawin on 17 Nov 1856 … at Odanak as well. He was the son of Simon O'Bomsawin and Monique Wawanolett, having been born on 31 Mar 1833 at Odanak, Quebec, Canada.

So what was the "St. Francis/Sokoki Band of the Abenaki Nation" trying to imply? That they were allegedly genealogically connected to Odanak (a historically known Abenaki Community) simply by way of the late Leonard Lampman SAYING that he remembered that someone SAID they were related to "Tanagite" simply because the Lampman's squatted on a section of Monument Road land, that was "next-door" to this "Tanagite" man? 

Heck, IF I live next to Pine Ridge, South Dakota's Lakota People, does that make me an instant shake-and-bake Lakota or Sioux Indian? Or if I live next to some Penobscot's near Old Town, Maine, does that make me legitimately a Penobscot Indian? 

Seems to my thinking, that this group of "St. Francis/Sokoki" are so desperate to be Vermont's "ABENAKI," that they were and are willing .... to make things up, even if it meant trying to 'attach themselves' to the Odanak People .... by inference and downright lying about their ancestors! There is NO EVIDENCE to substantiate these claims having been made by Swanton's "Abenaki" "community" ... or else they would have shown and provided this EVIDENCE documentarily with the Bureau of Indian Affairs Acknowledgment Office, back before June 2007. But the "St. Francis/Sokoki" (nor John Scott Moody or Frederick M. Wiseman) could NOT show and provide the necessary clear and convincing EVIDENCE, because that ALLEGED EVIDENCE didn't exist in the first place!

LINK: http://reinventedvermontabenaki.blogspot.com/2010/04/louise-lampman-letter-2-pages.html 

LINK: http://reinventedvermontabenaki.blogspot.com/2010/04/louise-may-nee-lampman-larivee-e-mail.html
Christine "Cookie" Barrett, a well known Abenaki basketmaker, and her granddaughter, Krista Rose
Page 01
Christine "Cookie" Barratt is a well-known Abenaki basketmaker. Christine's family has been making and selling baskets since the 1900's, for many generations! Many of the baskets were sold to tourists to supplement the family income.
Christine gathers sweet grass and black ash to make her baskets. Christine enjoys creating and sharing the Abenaki craft; a part of her heritage. She looks forward to the day she will pass her artistic abilities to her granddaughter, Krista Rose.
 Page 02
Christine "Cookie" Barrett [Christine Mary Young born December 28, 1953 in St. Albans, VT to Raymond James Young and  Esther Ruth nee: Barratt] is a well known Abenaki basketmaker. Christine's family has been making and selling baskets since the 1900's, for many generations! Many of the baskets were sold to the tourists to supplement the family income.
Christine gathers sweetgrass and black ash to make her baskets. Christine enjoys creating and sharing the Abenaki craft; a part of her heritage. She looks forward to the day she will pass her artistic abilities to her granddaughter, Krista Rose.
Abenaki Medicine Caves
A short distance behind the sugarhouse and barn are the Medicine Caves. The late Abenaki Chief Leonoard "Blackie" Lampman's grandmother, Martha [nee: Morits] born in 1868, visited the caves throughout her life. The area was well known to the native inhabitants as having an abundance of herbs used to make medicines.For some families, it was known as a healing place.
"A five minute hike through the sugarwoods and you will be at the caves. When you enter the Medicine Caves, close your eyes and feel the presence of a magnificent, past history."

[It is RAYMOND JAMES YOUNG, b. 15 Sep 1935, St. Albans, Franklin County, Vermont; m. NORMA JEAN LAVANWAY, 13 Jun 1990, Georgia, Franklin County, Vermont; b. 27 Jul 1937. [Raymond James Young sits or sat on the "Abenaki Tribal Council"/Incorporation of Homer W. St. Francis Sr./ his daughter April Ann nee: St. Francis) Rushlow-Merrill] 

LINK: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_hqC5V9v2WXg/S1tMV9vNG7I/AAAAAAAAClI/QPrtTjdOpZg/s1600/Wobanaki+Inc+vs.+Tribal+Council.jpg
Page 03
Abenaki Sugarmaking
One spring day, some Abenaki were out in the woods gathering food. They noticed a liquid dripping from a maple tree. They dipped their fingers in the liquid and tasted. The liquid was thick and sweet. These Abenaki shared their discovery and soon the entire village went to the woods to try this new food. They enjoyed it so much, that they were soon visiting every day.
One day, Gulskabe, an Abenaki spirit, visited the village and found it empty. His search for the villagers found them lying on the ground underneath the trees with their mouths open, drinking this syrup. He warned them that they were enjoying this syrup too much. Upon returning, he found them lying on their backs drinking the sweet liquid and getting lazy and overweight. Gluskabe decided to do something about this. He changed the liquid to be like water, but with a hint of sweetness. Gluskabe told them that if they wanted to make the syrup, they would have to collect it, boil it and work hard. And so it was that the process for sugaring began.
For more information on Abenaki history and events contact:
Louise Lampman-Larivee
P.O. Box 57, Swanton, VT 05488
Phone: 802-782-1771
Email: twinsage52@hotmail.com 
 Side 01 of Pamphlet
Abenaki Basket Maker
Christine "Cookie" Barrett
Christine is a Abenaki Community member who lives and working in Swanton. Christine is Cultural Coordinator for the Abenaki Learning Center in Swanton. She is pictured holding two baskets that she made out of pounded ash and sweet grass.


Title IV-E Director
Gale Burford Ph. D.
UVM Department of Social Work
Project Coordinator

Gary Widrick Ph. D. MSW
Training Coordinator

Louise Lampman Larivee
Office Manager

Lori Jordon
Email: gwidrick@uvm.edu - Gary
Email: abenaki1@sover.net - Louise
Email: abenaki@sover.net - Lori

Abenaki Project
51 Church St.
Swanton VT. 05488

Designed by
Louise Lampman Larivee

Maurice Trahan Printing Service



Enlarged Image of the Photograph in the Pamphlet
[Notice that April St. Francis-Rushlow-Merrill is squatting down in the front row (far right) with Christie "Cookie" Mary (nee: Young) Barrett to April's left]
Abenaki Community Members, UVM Staff, SRS Social Workers & Other Trainees post for a picture on a field trip at one of the caves in Franklin County, Vermont.

Side 02 of Pamphlet
Every native child must have access to community-based, culturally appropriate services, which help them grow up safe, healthy and spiritually strong-free from abuse, neglect, sexual exploitation and the damaging effects of substance abuse. In addition, children should be protected from the effects of individual and institutional acts of racism, prejudice and discrimination and grow up in a welcoming, inclusive community and society. (Adapted from the vision statement of the National Indian Child Welfare Association)
The Abenak community, The University of Vermont and the Vermont Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services have entered into a Title IV-E Training Partnership. This project began in January 2001 with the guidance of a broad based steering committee: made up of Abenaki community people, SRS Directors & Social Workers,representation from Northwest Counseling, Missisquoi Valley Union High School, Title V Indian Education, and the Governor's Advisory Commission on Native American Affairs, Abenaki Tribal Council, and VT. Foster & Adoptive Parent Training program, Director of Special Education for Swanton, SRS central office (Waterbury) Champlain Valley Area Health Education Center, Foster Parents, Missisquoi Health Center, & local Swanton community members.

Training is provided in community, cultural competence with Abenaki families. Recognizing the strength of the Abenaki cultural values will help social workers and foster parents understand the importance of maintaining cultural connections within the community. Training modules will include: developing resources and support systems within the Abenaki community, utilizing and incorporating kinship care and extended family care within child welfare practises and a historical tour of the Abenaki tribal homeland. The training is experiential in nature emphasizing hands on cultural activities & the voices and stories of Abenaki community members.

"WEAVING THE WEB" Native American tool used to connect everyone together, by learning something about each other.

Ken Maskell        Patty Greenia
Mary J. Rollo       Jeff Benay
April Rushlow      Debbie Bergeron

Brent Reader Presentation on Abenaki 
 Page 01
January 1997
Submitted by the Vermont Abenaki Council
There are many more Abenaki families who do not publically acknowledge their Indian heritage than those who do. There are many more Abenaki people who do not affiliate with any group than those who do. This is a continuation of the strategy which proved safest for our families for the past 150 years. Because of this, it is a fact that census reports, and other estimates, of the numbers of Vermonters with Native American heritage are very inaccurate. It is likely that there are many thousands of Abenaki-heritage people currently living in Vermont.

There are cultural differences which seem subtle, yet are powerful currents within our families. Extended families often live close to each other. They visit back and forth frequently, and cousins interact like brothers and sisters. Gatherings at holiday time, during sugaring, at fishing camp, berrying, etc. are common. Occupations of farms and logging are still favored by many Abenaki descendants because they are in the out of doors. Hunting, fishing, and some gathering activities persist not only as recreation, but as necessary activities for supplementing the food supply. Gardens are extremely common.
Underemployment and poverty are part of the stereotype of the Indian. The value of advanced formal education is not the general Abenaki population, although there certainly are increasing numbers of college educated members of this culture. In the EuroAmerican economic system, the better-paying jobs are usually pegged to advanced education. Values important to the Abenaki culture are based on relationships rather than on economics. Families, community, pets, work animals, and friendships are the focus of attention.
Time, a cherished value of the dominant culture, is not a high priority of Abenaki culture. Activities are carried out in their own natural rhythm and flow. Gatherings, meetings, even home schedules such as mealtimes, may happen "on Indian time", when the necessary elements come together with the flow of all the demands and tasks.
Another significant value in Abenaki culture is the understanding and understanding and respect for the circular flow of all energy. This is in contrast to the linear concept of time and of processes to which directly affects our communities today, for the pyramid-type civil and political structures structures are contrary of time and of processes to which directly affects our communities today, for a pyramid-type civil and political structures are contrary to the equalizing model of the circle. This is why the BIA requirements of Tribal Council, chief, and other positions of authority are so destructive to our Bands. In our extended families and Bands, traditionally, leaders are chosen for specific tasks only. Meetings which are conducted traditionally allow for any participant to speak in turn, as the members sit in a circle of equality. Concensus, rather than voting or majority rule, is the decision-making process.
The Bands, Groups, and Organizations now active in Abenaki communities function in various ways. Each is autonomous (as in the Old Way), and the members focus on activities chosen by their own people. Among the many projects and activities currently being enjoyed are Drum groups, craft workshops, craft marketings, potluck gatherings, camping weekends, powwows and other open-to-the-public events, substance-abuse counseling, research ...
 Page 02
January 1997
projects for reclamation of cultural heritage, education of members and the general public, school and civic group presentations, publications, and apprenticeships for continuing cultural ways.
The potential for development related to the Abenaki culture is tremendous. The current strengthening of identity and cultural ways is a valuable part of Vermont's heritage and history. A popular interest in Native American Ways is lending further impetus to this culture's revival. Already there are Native Americans earning a part or all of their income in culture-related activities such as wildcrafting, crafts, teaching of Abenaki history/culture, workshop presentations, woods lore and survival skills, and basketry.
Tourism is an important industry in Vermont, and there is much which can be shared with the traveling public. Heritage displays, publications, Powwows, and specialty foods are only a few examples.
There are many possibilities for Cottage Industries and Small Businesses which will provide jobs and economic growth for communities, which in turn will promote self-esteem and renewed pride in the Vermont/Abenaki combined history.
January 1997
Page 03
Abenaki Groups In Vermont
as of 1/1997
Unaltered Document
January 1997
Page 03
Altered Document
Abenaki Groups In Vermont
as of 1/1997
Tolba (Southern Tribal) - Brattleboro [Ms. Kevin Parsons and Roger A. Sheehan]
Mazipskwik - Highgate Center [Connie Brow and David Gilman]
Alnobak Nebesakiak/Women's Hoop - NE Kingdom [Bea Nelson]
Northeast Native American Education Association - Glover [Mariella Squire]
Missisquoi - Swanton [Homer St. Francis Sr.; now April A. St. Francis-Rushlow-Merrill]
Cowasuck - Newport [Howard Franklin Knight, Jr.]
Dawnland Center - Montpelier [Dana Pictou and Lorraine Landers]
Abenaki Family Alliance - Essex County [Thomas Obomsawin, Daisy Goodman, Trudy Call - Parker]
Hawk Clan [Ralph Skinner Swett][Possibly now known as "The Clan of the Hawk"]
Beaver Meadows - Orleans [?]
Aristignticook - Orleans [Richard Bernier]
Dave Hill - Bellows Falls - North American People of the Dawn 
[David Descoteau-Hill]
Written by Philip J. Thibault a.k.a. "Soaring Eagle", in pen ink:
Maquam Band (Swanton) - 
[Lampman Family & Barrett Family]
Winooski Band. - 
[Judy Dow]
Bear Clan - North Troy 
[Philip J. Thibalt a.k.a. "Soaring Eagle"]
non-affiliated with groups
Tunbridge/ Chelsea
Island Pond
Newport Center/Troy/Westfield
East/West Charleston
Marriella Squire PhD - Dartmouth, CCV, Johnson State
Fred Wiseman PhD - Johnson State
Jeanne Brinke - Dawnland Center
William Haviland PhD - UVM
Colin Calloway - Dir. Native American Studies - Dartmouth
Marjory Powers
John Moody
The Western Abenaki - Colin Calloway
Dawnland Encounters - Colin Calloway
The Original Vermonters - Haviland & Powers
Changes in the Land - William Cronin


NO "El-Nu" (1) Abenaki Tribe
NO "Koasek of the Koas" (2) Abenaki Tribe? 
NO "Nulhegan-Coosuk" (3) Abenaki Tribe? 
Oh ... that's because these 3 contemporary ALLEGED and REINVENTED "Abenaki Tribes" had not INCORPORATED (under VT State Laws... YET ... as of January, 1997) ... Oh ... wait a second ... these groups DID NOT EXIST before their Incorporation Status Dates! 

Vermont Politicians and these self-proclaiming "Abenakis" waved a magical "Native American/Indigenous" wand, and simply clicked their heels together in the Montpelier Legislature ... and with 'smoke & mirrors" research went"POOF" by 2006 into 2012/20013 Vermont magically CREATED "Abenaki" "Tribes" for the $$$$$ .... based on fraudulent baseless research, genealogies and so on!! 

All the while, Odanak (whose descendants ARE Abenakis WHOSE ANCESTORS CAME FROM VERMONT ETC) were maliciously told none-so-politely ... to go piss off and shut up. 

Above, the Native American Commission
VCNAA 'Commission Members' From Left-to-Right:
Nathan Elwin Pero
David Vanslette
Luke Andrew Willard (chairman)
Charlene McManis (secretary)
Melody Walker-Brook
Frederick W. Wiseman
April 20, 2011
St. Albans Messenger Newspaper
Front Page
Abenaki in-fighting mars panel session
Tribal band torn into two entities
Swanton Village - Abenaki in-fighting became public here Tuesday during the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs' first meeting in Swanton - now home to two bands of Abenaki; the Missisquoi-Sokoki and the Maquam.
Fiery talks of Missisquoi-Sokoki defection, questionable population counts in the nation's application for state recognition, and now the cancellation of the annual heritage festival permeated a lunchtime public forum that the commission held at the Swanton Village Municipal Complex.
Even while the Missisquoi-Sokoki Abenaki forge ahead with a long time effort for state recognition, it appears a divisiveness has splintered them unlike any seen since the mid-1980's, when former chiefs Leonard "Blackie" Lampman and Homer St. 
Left, Chief of St. Francis/Sokoki band, April Merrill. Right, Nathan Pero, commission member, hands three Native American pumpkin seeds to St. Francis Merrill during the meeting/forum.

... Francis engaged in public rivalries, along with their families.
“I realize there’s a disagreement in this community that goes back a long ways,” Commission Chairman Luke Willard said during one point of the 90-minute forum, which preceded the commission’s regular monthly meeting. “But this is not the commission’s business, and it is not my business. I hope you can work things out.” 
About 30 people, including a group of Abenaki children, attended the public forum. The nine-member commission typically holds its meetings in Montpelier but has traveled around ...
... the state and held similar forums at its sessions.
“We thought it would be a good idea to travel the state,” said Willard, of Newport. “People from different regions have different needs and we want to know what they are.” Swanton’s Abenaki had no problem telling him.
Missisquoi Abenaki Chief April St. Francis Merrill, the late Homer St. Francis’ daughter, quickly announced the cancellation of the Abenaki Heritage Festival, held during the first week of May in Swanton Village.
Each year, Abenaki from all over the state and Northeast fill the village green with music, crafts and other displays of Abenaki culture, but for the first time in 18 years, the festival is a no-go.
In- and out-of-state vendors claimed $4-a-gallon gas prices were keeping them from traveling to Swanton this year, Merrill said.
“We have tried everything that we could possibly try,” the chief said.
A few minutes later, the conversation turned to the Missisquoi Abenaki application for state recognition. Frustrated with the process, 12 to 15 members of the Missisquoi Abenaki, including members of the Lampman family, have broken off into their own faction: the Maquam band.
Three of them – Christina and Matthew Barratt, of Swanton, and Brad Barratt, of South Burlington – question the Abenaki rolls included in the application. The rolls contain incorrect names and addresses, duplicate and triplicate names, and the names of deceased Abenaki, the Barratts claimed.
“This should be thrown right out the window,” Brad Barratt said, holding up the thick application.
About a dozen people from the Maquam band have called Willard and asked to be relinquished from the Missisquoi Abenaki rolls. Those people have not completed the proper forms or turned in their Abenaki citizenry cards, Merrill said.
The Abenaki rolls are under review, but they should meet the criteria for recognition, because 51 percent of them are from a specific geographic area, and there is evidence that the Abenaki conduct a census, according to Willard.
“We just have to have proof that one exists,” he said.
That wasn’t enough for the Barratts, who stormed out of the meeting.
“We’ll see you all in federal court!” one of them shouted at Merrill. Brad Barratt yelled at Willard and pointed his finger at him.
“Don’t you point your finger at me,” Willard snapped, as the Barratts left the complex.
Connie Brow, of Swanton, who was seated with the Barratts, said the Bureau of Indian Affairs received a signed letter from her, asking that she, too, be removed from the Abenaki rolls. Brow said she never sent the letter.
Dave Vanslette, a commission member from Highgate, thought it was unfortunate that the recognition process divided the Abenaki into bands and did not consider them “a whole, one people.”
“We could, as a people, put our differences aside,” Vanslette said. “I just hate to see any true Abenaki miss out.”
Brenda Gagne, who leads educational programs for the Missisquoi Abenaki, echoed Vanslette’s sentiments.
“We all need to become one,” she said. “The children don’t need to sit here and hear this. They hear enough of it at school. They don’t need to see it from their elders.”
The commission finished reviewing the Missisquoi-Sokoki Abenaki petition for recognition earlier this month and will pass it on to lawmakers before the end of this session.
However, it is unlikely lawmakers will act on the application until the 2012 session, Willard said. That news frustrated some Abenaki and Willard, who announced that if the petition did not see expeditious action, he would reluctantly resign as commission chairman.
“We’ve been dealing with this for 40 years,” one Abenaki man said. “To wait another year, it’s kind of a slap in the face.” He and others worried that a future legislature could repeat history and rescind recognition, if it’s approved.
“Just because the Abenaki aren’t recognized by the state, just remember: you don’t need anybody to tell you who you are,” Vanslette said to applause.
Another cloud hangs over the Abenaki: the pending criminal charge against Chief Merrill, 42. Last month, she denied in court that she stole thousands of dollars from an elderly member of her nation during a five-year period.
The state contends that Merrill stole more than $30,000 from Louis LaFrance, of Highgate Springs, after she became a payee on his bank account in 2005.
During a break in the session yesterday, Merrill told the Messenger that two people have asked her to step down as chief since her charge surfaced, but she is not going to.
"I am not guilty of anything, and I haven’t been convicted of anything,” Merrill said. “And I will continue to run my nation as I do.”

Luke A. Willard, Chair of the VCNAA, claims, "he will step down from the Commission on Native American Affairs, in VT", IF the VT Legislature DOES NOT 'recognize legislatively, the Swanton-based "St. Francis-Sokoki" "Band" of the "Abenaki" "Nation." He, and those of his ilk and like-mindedness, want the State of Vermont Politicians to do the very SAME dynamic as what happened with HIS "Nulhegan" group's state recognition this previous 2011 (this also includes the "El-Nu" group led my Roger Sheehan, as well). By this, I mean that Willard WANTS the State of Vermont to railroad this 'recognition' of the Swanton-based "St. Francis-Sokoki" group without having anyone legitimately evaluating and validating the data PUSHED by Dr. Frederick Matthew Wiseman, of Johnson State College, and his other scholarly cronies, who have had a 'working relationship' for years and years with these various "Abenaki" entities. True, Mr. Brad A. Barratt has every right, title, and interest as a 'member' of the afore-mentioned group "St. Francis-Sokoki" group as does Louise M. Lampman - Larivee to voice their concerns and frustrations to the arrogant biased VNCAA that is 'stacked' with these "Abenaki" groups members/representatives 'giving themselves' the official VCNAA nod-of-approval/recognition in 2011. The so-called "Maquam Band" is not a newly-created entity (since it was 'created 'out of thin air' according to Phillip "Soaring Eagle") by the Lampman Family ...

Lampman's/Barrett's ~ VS ~ St. Francis's/Phillips
Swanton's "Abenaki" Arena

In this corner is "Chief" Leonard Miles "Blackie" Lampman and in this corner is "Chief" Homer Walter St. Francis Sr. ..... ding.... let them fight it out, yet neither can PROVE clearly and convincingly with any documentation, that either of their families are descended from a historical Abenaki Community, can substantiate that neither descend from any known Abenaki ancestor either.  

As for "Chief" April A. (nee: St. Francis) Rushlow - Merrill claiming in this particular newspaper article ... that "she is NOT GUILTY of anything, (regarding the theft and exploitation charges pertaining to the late Louis LaFrance) ...

and that she has not been convicted of anything" ... YET

READ THE DOCUMENTS IN THIS FOLLOWING LINK: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/34082281/April%20St.%20Francis-Merrill%20Docket%20No.%20261-3-11%20Frcr.pdf  

Which brings about another legitimate question, WHY hasn't the Attorney General and or the Prosecuting Attorney James Hughes [who filed the initial charge(s) against Mrs. April Merrill] actually, as he allegedly intended to do, re-filed the charges in a Vermont Court of Law as he said he would be doing so, in-the-near-future? It's been 7 and a half months! Whose, trying to bury these 'particulars' regarding April Merrill? 

April A. St. Francis - Rushlow - Merrill

Prominent Abenaki leader accused of exploiting vulnerable adult
By Mike Donoghue, Free Press Staff Writer • Wednesday, February 2, 2011
April St. Francis Merrill, chief of the Missisquoi Abenaki tribe based in Swanton, is facing a charge of exploiting a vulnerable adult by manipulating his financial records, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department said Wednesday.
Merrill, 42, of Highgate is due for arraignment March 14 in Vermont Superior Court in St. Albans on the felony charge, Sheriff 
Robert Wayne Norris said.
Repeated attempts to reach Merrill at her home and tribal headquarters were unsuccessful Wednesday.
Norris said “several thousands of dollars” were involved during a 4½-year period related to bank and credit-card accounts while Merrill was taking care of the financial business of an elderly man.
Norris said his office received a complaint last summer from Adult Protective Services about “what appeared to be some suspicious activity in his personal bank account.”
Norris said the call came into the Sheriff’s Office because it patrols Highgate. He said during the past several months Detective 
Kevin Bushey conducted the investigation, which wrapped up Tuesday when he issued Merrill the citation. 
Franklin County State’s Attorney Jim Hughes, who will be responsible for prosecuting the charge, said he had spoken briefly with the sheriff’s department about the case and plans to meet with Bushey to review the allegations. Hughes said he does not expect to receive the final court paperwork until about 10 days before Merrill’s arraignment.
Merrill is the daughter of 
Homer St. Francis, the longtime chief of the Missisquoi band who fought for federal and state recognition. He died in 2001.
Merrill, who inherited her title from her father, told the Burlington Free Press in September that tribal rolls include about 2,500 Vermont and New Hampshire residents with Abenaki roots.
Her father began to seek state recognition in 1974 after taking over as chief. It was granted in 1976 by 
Gov. Thomas Salmon but rescinded the following year by Gov. Richard Snelling. Gov. Madeleine Kunin rejected the request in 1985 because of the legal problems it would create. The Vermont Supreme Court rejected an Abenaki request in 1992 to claim land in northwestern Vermont.
The Legislature was asked last month to recognize two tribes, while two others including the Missisquoi group are not far behind.
“If it weren’t for my father, none of this would be happening,” Merrill said last month of the state recognition effort.
The Abenaki sought federal recognition initially in 1980, withdrew the application in 1985, and reapplied in 1992. The Bureau of Indian Affairs denied their petition for federal recognition in 2005.

Abenaki chief charged with stealing money from dying man
WCAX ... St. Albans, Vermont - March 14, 2011

April St. Francis Merrill let her lawyer do the talking in criminal court in St. Albans Monday, as she faced charges for allegedly turning a vulnerable adult into her personal piggybank.
"Enter a plea of not guilty," defense attorney Peter Langrock told the court.
Merrill is the head of the Sokoki band of the Abenaki in Swanton. The Franklin County Sheriff's department says she abused the trust of one of her fellow Abenaki. Louis Lafrance is now dead, but for several years, Merrill was helping him take care of his bills and other household responsibilities.
 [She is also S.S.A. 'Payee' for "Elder" Burton Decarr (so I am told), Doris Minkler's disbabled adult son as well; I wonder if she was doing the same sort of questionable financial activities with his Social Security monthly checks? Anyone check or INVESTIGATE the Account(s) of Mr. Burton DeCarr?]
A Sheriff's Deputy wrote in court paperwork that Lafrance questioned thousands of dollars of ATM withdrawals and purchases Merrill made with his account, buying gas, groceries, flowers, and more. Investigators say some of that spending happened while Lafrance was in a full-time care center and couldn't okay the purchases.
Merrill denied stealing from the dying man. Her lawyer said she helped Lafrance and he ended up with money in the bank. "There may be some sloppy bookkeeping," Langrock admitted. "She may have done things with his permission. We don't claim perfection. But we don't believe there is probable cause for a felony [charge]."
Merrill has been front and center in the Abenaki people's fight for official recognition. The chief celebrated one step, state recognition, in 2006, and has vowed to continue working toward a federal designation.
Court documents show sometimes, Merrill deposited her own money into Lafrance's bank account. Police say it was just enough to keep the account from going into overdraft.
The Abenaki chief denied WCAX's request for a comment. Her lawyer said in court that the allegations are flimsy and just don't add up. If she's convicted, April St. Francis Merrill could face 10 years in prison.

Sam Hemingway  6/16/11
The chief of the St. Francis/Sokoki band of the Abenakis in Swanton has been cleared - for now - of a charge alleging that she improperly spent money belonging to a vulnerable man in her care.
April St. Francis Merrill was arraigned in March 2011 on charges she'd financially exploited Louis P. Lafrance of Highgate Center. According to court papers, Merrill spent [stole?] $30,697 between 2008 and 2010 on items that did not benefit Lafance, also an Abenaki member. Lafrance died in October 2010.
Merrill, 42, of Highgate did not respond to a phone request for comment Wednesday. Her lawyer, Peter Langrock, said Merrill was glad he charge had been dropped. He said Merrill may not have been a perfect bookkeeper, but that she did "not steal a nickel."
"Chief April St. Francis Merrill at all times has maintained her innocence and claimed that all monies that came into her control on behalf of Louis LaFrance were spent on his behalf and at his direction," Langrock said.
"Franklin County State's Attorney Jim Hughes confirmed his office had dropped the charges against Merrill but said he intends to file new, more specific felony charges against her in the Lafrance matter in the near future to resolve a procedural issue raised by Langrock in the original case.
"The defendant filed a motion requesting specificity on all the different acts," Hughes said. "So we'll be filling at least a dozen charges we feel can be proven."
Hughes said he expected to file those new charges in the next week or two. "They're coming," Hughes said.
Langrock said he didn't think Hughes would re-charge Merrill once he studies the facts in more detail.
"I'd be very surprised if he does," Langrock said. "He doesn't got anything."
According to court papers, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department began investigating Merrill’s handling of Lafrance’s money after Lafrance’s family raised questions about expenditures listed on his bank and credit card records and alerted police.
Among the transactions that came under scrutiny were instances where Merrill withdrew money from Lafrance’s account via an ATM while in Rutland, where Merrill has family
 [in October 2005 and again in September 2008], and at the Veterans of Foreign War post in Swanton, where she is a member but Lafrance wasn’t, court documents said.
Other purchases she made occurred while Lafrance was in the hospital or a rehab center. Still others involved things such as buying pizza and paying for a car wash. Lafrance, who lived on Social Security payments, did not own a car.
Langrock said the car wash was for Merrill’s car and was done after Lafrance had become sick while in the car. As for the pizza purchases, Langrock said the food was for Lafrance and his friends. "I don’t think she got a single piece of free pizza out of it," Langrock said.
Merrill became chief of the Sokoki band of the Abenakis following the death of her father, Homer St. Francis, in 2001. 

Well, Jim Hughes, we're all still waiting for you to refile those criminal charges against April St. Francis Merrill regarding the late Louis P. Lafrance. It's already January 20, 2012 and that is (hmm, let's see here....)  is 7 months and 15 days, from the time of dismissal to present. So... WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON IN VERMONT? Seems me "someone got to Hughes" and "leaned on him" to "shut up" ... 

Maybe it was Senator Patrick Leahy ? Senator Bernie Sanders  or Peter Welch ?who "leaned" politically on the Judcial System "to back down" about "Chief" April St. Francis - Merrill in 2011. LOOK at the $$$$ Trail. Where has the Department of Labor $$GRANT$$ Funding for the Abenaki Self-Help Association been coming from? Well, let's take a look, shall we....

In the Year 2000, A.S.H.A. [Abenaki Self-Help Association] Inc'd in Swanton, VT received $107,947.00 dollars from the Dept. of Labor - Employment and Training Administration. 
WIA [Workforce Investment Act] Native Americans. 
Congressional District: VT00: Vermont At Large 
Recipient Catagory: "Government"
Recipient Type: "Indian Tribe"

In the Year 2001 A.S.H.A., Inc'd in Swanton, VT received $11, 064.00 dollars from the Dept. of Labor - Employment and Training Administration. 
WIA Native Americans.
Congressional District: VT00: Vermont At Large
Recipient Catagory: "Government"
Recipient Type: "Indian Tribe"

In the Year 2002 A.S.H.A., Inc'd in Swanton, VT received $110, 887.00 dollars from the Dept. of Labor - Employment and Training Administration. 
Native American Employment and Training.
Congressional District: VT00: Vermont At Large 
Recipient Catagory: "Government"
Recipient Type: "Indian Tribe"

In the Year 2003 A.S.H.A., Inc'd in Swanton, VT received $111, 486.00 dollars from the Dept. of Labor - Employment and Training Administration. 
Native American Employment and Training.
Congressional District: VT00: Vermont At Large 
Recipient Catagory: "Nonprofits"
Recipient Type: "other nonprofit"

In the Year 2004 A.S.H.A., Inc'd in Swanton, VT received $109, 166.00 dollars from the Dept. of Labor - Employment and Training Administration. WIA Native Americans. 
Congressional District: VT00: Vermont At Large 
Recipient Catagory: "Government"
Recipient Type: "Indian Tribe"

In the Year 2005 A.S.H.A., Inc'd in Montpelier, VT received $97, 455.00 dollars from the Dept. of Labor - Employment and Training Administration.
Congressional District: VT00: Vermont At Large 
Recipient Catagory: "Government"
Recipient Type: "Indian Tribe"

In the Year 2006 A.S.H.A., Inc'd in Montpelier, VT received $86, 829.00 dollars from the Dept. of Labor - Employment and Training Administration. 
Native American Employment and Training.
Congressional District: VT00: Vermont At Large 
Recipient Catagory: "Nonprofits"
Recipient Type: "other nonprofit"

In the Year 2007 A.S.H.A./N.H. Indian Council, Inc'd in Swanton, VT received $79, 506.00 dollars from the Dept. of Labor - Employment and Training Administration. WIA Native Americans. 
Recipient Catagory: "Government"
Recipient Type: "State Government"
Congressional District: VT00: Vermont At Large 

To see the data (above) for your own sake, go to www.fedspending.org and type in Abenaki Self-Help Association and do the research, as I did. FOLLOW THE MONEY!

So, what was really happening here with the Department of Labor Federal Grant Monies that were coming into and for the Abenaki Self-Help Association, Inc'd? First they are based in Swanton, VT as a 'non-profit' in 2000; then in 2001 ASHAI is 'Government' and 'Indian Tribe'; But by 2003 ASHAI is again a 'nonprofit'; In 2004, ASHAI is back to being a 'nonprofit' still based in Swanton, VT; Yet, by 2005, ASHAI was then being categorized as a 'Government' & 'Indian Tribe' based in Montpelier, VT; and going further...Still based in Montpelier, VT ASHAI reverts back to being called a 'nonprofit'; and yet again, by 2007 ASHAI is back in Swanton, VT being categorized as a 'Government' 'State Government'. I wonder about this 'categorizing dynamic" and "Recipient Type labeling" they got going on; why did it change back and forth so often? What were the reasons for ASHAI being in Montpelier and then reverting back to Swanton, VT? 

Who is the Congressional Representative(s) for Congressional District VTOO: Vermont At Large?

Why, the answer is Senator Class I Bernie Sanders and or Congressman VT At Large (House of Representatives) Peter Welch; and I wouldn't be too surprised if Senator Class III Patrick Leahy was possibly also/ or isn't as well involved in this business of the State of VT getting Federal Dept. of Labor $$$$'s every year) since -gosh-knows-when ... early 1980's to my thinking ... whom were seemingly  sending those DOL Federal Monies on up to the late Homer St. Francis Sr. and or his daughter April St. Francis-Rushlow-Merrill as a "Abenaki" "Tribe" via this "Abenaki Self-Help Association"... 

 Vermont: At Large: Congressman Peter Welch
 Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy
 Peter Welch, Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders
Peter Welsch, Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders

... and yet after 40+ years of being Incorporated, these self-proclaimed "Abenakis" of Missisquoi (not-a-one-of -them, not even the Lampman's) could NOT prove clearly and convincingly to the BIA that they were Abenakis or even connected to any historical tribe/community! Go figure that one out eh. Yet, these three Politicians (Leahy, Sanders, and Welch) appear to have kept allowing the flow of Federal Monies to go to the Abenaki Self-Help Association, Incorporated operated by the St. Francis family and or at one time, the Lampman's.  Seems to my thinking, someone was indeed, helping themselves to somebody else's money!

Regardless, these self-proclaiming "Abenakis" were obtaining these Federal Monies to allegedly 'train' or 'help' their fellow ALLEGED "Native Americans" prepare to obtain VT "jobs." How many "Abenakis" have they honestly helped, each year, actually gain & retain employment, for that amount of funding? How much went into "Administration Costs" (St. Francis pockets, etc)?

Abenaki Coverage missed the mark
I am writing a letter to clarify what I read in Leon Thompson's article entitled "Tribal Band torn into two entities." [See April 20, 2011 newspaper article above in this posting]
First of all, Mr. Thompson spun that whole article into a way to promote the St. Francis/Sokoki band's attempts to gain recognition. He showed that he does not understand that the process for recognition is shoddy, biased and obviously, other people are being left out.
My goal when I went to the meeting at the Swanton Village Complex was to point out the inaccuracies in the St. Francis/Sokoki application.
April Merrill has shown that she does not care for those who do not kow-tow to her, by requiring people to fill out a piece of paper to be removed from her tribal rolls. She should remember that the Maquam Band split off at least 10 to 20 years ago. 
I have not lived in Swanton for almost 10 years now and my name and my family members names are on these rolls. The Maquam band is not a "group of 12 to 15 people" as Mr. Thompson claims. We are bigger than that. Since the St. Francis/Sokoki band no longer has a tribal council, their rules no longer apply to tribal members. Therefore, April should either update her tribal rolls or face continued scrutiny from the Maquam band and other observers.
If Mr. Thompson had take the time to personally speak to the dissenting members, he would have gotten a completely different take on this process. Instead, he's doing a disservice to your readers by skewing this article.
Brad Barratt
South Burlington

So, are the Lampman's and or the Barratt's "St. Francis/Sokoki Band of the Abenaki Nation" 'members' ...or are they not? 

It would appear that their statement's and positions are more 'contemporary' than one would suspect. 

Recently, I received this email from a Clifton "Jack" Barrette, complaining that while I was doing some Barrette, Barratt, Barrat, Berrat (etc) genealogical postings of documents on this blog, that I had the Barratt names wrong, and that they were (according to him) 'Barrett' ... Barratt vs. Barrett (without or with the ending e?). Yet, the following email from this man, confirmed that yes, SOME of the Barrette/Barrett/Barratt families members consider themselves 'members' of the "St. Francis/Sokoki" group led by April Merrill, and formerly by her late father Homer Walter St. Francis, Sr.

FROM: Clifton Jack Barrette  
TO: Douglas Lloyd Buchholz
Wednesday, November 23, 2011  3:54 PM

Hi My name is Barrette and I am a member of the St. Francis Abenaki. My ancestors include the Barratt, Barrett, and Samuel Barratt who married Sarah E. Morits.  You have some of the Barratt names wrong as they are Barrett.  I know the spelling changes a lot over time as most of the ancestors could not read or write. My link goes, Raymond, Vilous, Calvin Dury Jr., Calvin Dury, Samuel and Sarah. Sarah Morits was on the cover of the booklet submitted to the Vt. assembly for recognition status.  I got a copy from April quite a few years ago and have included all name into my genealogy. Thanks,  I will try to join your blog. Very nice blog and I am interested in reading all and saving information for my records.
Thanks, Clifton (Jack)

I responded to Mr. Clifton "Jack" Barrette, and inquired why he was giving grief over a slight spelling variation in the Barratt/Barrett(e) family ancestry on this blog? The documents are what they are. Having a picture of Sarah E. Morits/Barratt (or Barrett) does NOT make her an Abenaki, just because she's on the cover of a contemporaneously created booklet submitted to the Vt. Legislative Assembly for "recognition status" as Abenakis. 

I didn't get a reply in return from Clifton (Jack) Barrette. I guess, in the end .... all he had in ... to prove a connection to his alleged and reinvented "Abenaki" ancestor ... was a booklet cover photograph of Sarah E. Morits-Barratt, given to him by "Chief" April Merrill. 

Perhaps he ought to re-read the BIA Conclusions regarding the Morits/Lampman/Barratt (or Barrett) families.

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