This Blog is to Inform, to Discuss, and to Show/Provide as Truthful of an Accurate Awareness Documentarily of what has been and is happening in N'dakinna (Vermont, N.H. etc), by those claiming to be Allegedly Vermont or New Hampshire Abenaki, etc.
Seven Eyes, Seven
Legs: Supernatural Stories of the Abenaki Exhibition
carvings by gifted Abenaki artistsGérard Antoine “Tsonakwa”Rancourt and Yolaikia Wapitaska [1.]were on
display in an exhibition entitled Sevens Eyes, Sevens Legs: Supernatural
Stories of the Abenaki at Arizona
State Museum’s Native Goods Gallery from July 16 through August 15, 2001.
The exhibition was a celebration of the Abenaki culture
from eastern Canada and the northeastern United States and is representative of
the images found in a recently published book, of the same name, by the same
Gerard carves wooden masks and stone sculptures with a
full range of traditional to contemporary styles and themes. He learned carving
under the instruction of his father and other family members. After a long
detour through political movements and other pursuits, he returned to artwork
full time upon the death of his father
in 1981. Since then, he has accomplished
more than sixty feature shows in museums and galleries in partnership with his
wife Yolaikia[1.]. Across the U.S., Canada and Europe he
has combined Abenaki stories and language with artwork to introduce diverse
peoples to Abenaki culture and awareness. Gerard
is originally from Quebec, Connecticut and Vermont.
Yolaikia is a
self-taught, spontaneous artist. She carves very complex groupings of figures
in antler, amber, and fossil ivory. Finished with settings of gemstones, many
of her works are strung to be worn. Her assemblages illustrate stories and
concepts from Abenaki mythic lore. Yolaikia
had a difficult time maintaining her Abenaki heritageuntil she
discovered her skill in carving. An accomplished artist, she has more than sixty feature shows to her credit.
Yolaikia is from Quebec, and Pennsylvania.
This particular descriptive write-up by the Arizona State Museum, claiming that "Yolaikia" had a difficult time maintaining her Abenaki heritage, until she discovered her skill in carving, is what caused me to begin exploring the merits of both Gérard Antoine “Tsonakwa” Rancourt Jr. and this 3rd spouse's merits, and foundation of their own histories.
What I discovered, was that not only did Gérard Antoine “Tsonakwa” Rancourt Jr. began to manipulate his own background (retrospective social history) into becoming not only an Indian-ist but also began to change his persona into being an "Abenaki" from and of the Province of Quebec, Canada.
Of course, all of it was dubious at the point of becoming aware of where he was actual born vs. what he was saying. A great storytelling it was, of concocted horse-pucky indeed. Even Odzihozo was amazed!
Gérard Antoine “Tsonakwa” Rancourt's 3rd wife, "Yolaikia Wapitaska" made mention briefly, her mother's name Edna Sciolé in the Acknowledgements section on Page 2 of their book entitled Welcome the Caribou Man.
Dominic D. Sciolé, in is Register of Wills, mentioned his Real Estate: 2526 S. Cleveland Street in Philadelphia, PA 19145. in 2004.
Marilyn Bernadette Sciolé was mentioned in her father's Register of Wills, Page 2, as living at 10775 West Mars in Tucson, AZ 85743.
WHY would it be difficult to maintain an Abenaki heritage, being that all four (4) grandparents of Marilyn Bernadette Sciolé, a.k.a. "Yolaikia Wapitaska" were ITALIANS.
As for Gérard Antoine (a.k.a. "Tsonakwa") Rancourt Jr.' genealogical ancestry:
In 1949, my father and two of my uncles along with some of their friends from Odanak came to Odzihozo [Rock Dunder, just off shore of Burlington, Chittenden County, Vermont] with offerings of tobacco, maple syrup, and coffee. Late on that summer day, my father napped in the shadow of Odzihozo and had a power dream which became the theme of a lot of his work.
The question begs to be answered, who were the two uncles, and some of their friends from Odanak that ALLEGEDLY went there? Were there photographic images made of this alleged event? Or is it just another fairy tale story concocted by Gérard Anthony "Tsonakwa" Rancourt Jr.?
My father kept and decorated many boxes. My mother gave these to me after my father passed into the spirit world. These boxes hold important things. Each item is a mnemonic, a coded reminder like the picture-symbols of our wapapi records. When read like hieroglyphs [sic], these things illustrate the entire span of my father's life.
These items MAY have been kept and decorated by Gérard Anthony "Tsonakwa" Rancourt Jr.' father Gérard Rancourt Sr., and these items MAY have been given to Gérard Jr. by his mother ... but if Gérard Jr. claims he was born in Central Quebec, Canada (blah blah blah), how does anyone know for certain that anything or dynamic is even remotely based in truth or fact? How does anyone really honestly know for certain that the man is telling the truth, vs. yet another story? What is to be believed, if he can't even tell the truth as to his own birth in 1945 Meriden, CT?
For a more detailed chronological Time Line of Gérard Anthony "Tsonakwa" Rancourt Jr.
Sherrie Pittman[daughter of Gérard Anthony "Tsonakwa" Rancourt Jr. and his 1st wife]
"I myself am Abenaki. My father is Gerard Tsonakwa ...."
Is she so sure? Or is she so quick to ride the coat-tails of her father's story-telling ...
March 05, 2009 (Ancestry.com)
She implies and states that her father Gérard Anthony "Tsonakwa" Rancourt Jr. and his father, Joseph Gérard Antoine "Tsemitzewa" Rancourt Sr. ARE MEMBERS OF THE ODANAK TRIBE OF CANADA.
Really? If that is the reality, then Odanak's Band Council and Registrar ought not to have any problem or hesitation, in confirming this alleged reality of membership of her father and grandfather! Or maybe a telephone call to Ottawa, would be informative as to the accuracy of her assertions.
This is a conversation I had starting on May 19, 2014 with Sherrie (Rancourt) Pittman, and my attempts to solicit communication with her father. Suffice it to say, he had nothing to say to me. I attempted to clarify certain dynamics I was finding in his stories about his ancestors, etc.
ok, doug. i googled you and called my dad. he will call me in about an hour and i will give him your info and he will contact you. however, he is slow in reaching people so give him some time. you can friend me on FB if you wish but i dont give out alot of infor on my dad. feel free to share any info on yourself.
I never did hear from your father Sherrie. Must be he doesn't want to explain the discrepancy between what he has put out there about him and his 2nd wife, vs. the actual documentation?
just saying is all....
How can he be born in Central Quebec, Canada when his birth certificate is in Meriden, CT, and his 2nd wife is FROM and of Pennsylvania? Is what I am seeing simply a concocted story created by your father?
Since I have not heard from him to clarify why I am seeing and looking at these discrepancy and distortions between what he Said and SAYS about him and his wife, and these records from and of Meriden CT, perhaps I ought to shed some light on this dynamic?
I don't know, on the one hand it matters not, but then on the other HE is claiming he's "Abenaki" and yet.... he says he was born and raised in Quebec, when in fact I have proof he was born and raised in Meriden, CT.
a bit fishy if you ask me.
check the CT Vital records and then cross reference with the cassette tape jackets you have. If you want I can send you the documents ....
it could be fabricated. i dont know. i met him was i 7-8 and i all ever knew him was to be "indian" personally i dont want to know the truth, i just want to remember my good times with him. and doug, i dont want him discredited he has done some great work in the NA community. As far as not reaching you he was hoping to retire to but had to find work. And, i hardly hear from him myself. Furthermore I do not know anything about his wife. I wish i could help more.
Sherrie, respectfully and politely I want you to read this portion of this article. I have asked politely to speak with your father Gerard A. Rancourt who goes by Tsonakwa, and I have waited patiently and kindly to speak with him.
I have been patient enough for the Vermont Cows to come in... and while I sought to be fair and courteous in my research, regarding your father, and yourself, I will be putting the documents together and posting them online in my blog etc. because it just another reality of cultural appropriate and Abenaki Identity theft. Like so many others sadly said. I, when I learned of your father, when I met your father a few years later, having come clear across the country, I assumed he was legitimately Abenaki. Sadly that is not the reality according to the documents I have now gathered together. I don't need to discredit him. His reality and persona did that all on its own. I wanted to talk with your father, for the simple reality that this weighs heavy on me, knowing what I do now. Do I ignore the truth? Do I turn my back on the reality of that truth? People need to know what has happened here, and not just with your father, but many other people as well. NOTHING has been forthcoming to negate my research, from yourself nor your father as I was hoping. Yes, the Truth hurts and for that, I am apologizing to you because you are a kind person, and I believe your father is too, yetI cannot negate my research and its direction these documents have taken me. That is all I have to say.
Now I will lay out the FACTS documentarily as i have researched them.
This is not tearing down anyone.
You of all people ought to know the Truth, I mean, he is your father.
you claimed he was/is a member of Odanak!
I mean ok, how so.
I have the memberships lists for Odanak from the 1960's on up to the 1990's
No Gerard Rancourt at all there.
Doesn't seem plausible that he was born on a Reservation, and yet his birth record doesn't show anything to that. Its marked Meriden CT April 19 1945 and that is also the date on his marriage records.
So please, this does not make me feel anything but perplexed that what his stories about himself through the 1980's and 1990's does not match what his records show BEFORE 1977
He has declined to communicate... and you tell me that you hardly communicate with him, and you have made trips to meet him, talk with him, and so on Sherrie. You have a 'shrine' claiming to be Abenaki. Is that really the reality?
People believe their lies and distortions. Gullible people that are naive believe those stories and his "history" as truth. It isn't the truth is it Sherrie....
in case you did not get my text message via phone yesterday. my father said do what you want.
thank you for the articles doug i enjoyed reading them
And I never did hear one word from Gérard Anthony "Tsonakwa" Rancourt Jr. at all. Not by letter, email or telephone ...
Suzanne Rancourt, is not actually by birth, a Stewart. Upon divorcing William LaPrairie of Stony Creek, NY ... she opted to take her mother's maiden name (just like Donna Carvalho - Charlebois - Moody did when she'd divorced Robert Charlebois). It makes them 'more' "Abenaki" I guess to take their mother's maiden names. Robert(s) to imply they are related to O'Bomsawin's; and Rancourt's to imply they are related to the Rancourt's of Old Town, Maine (i.e. Penobscot Nation).
Suffice it to say, that Suzanne (nee: Stewart) Genealogy has been worked on and mapped out:
Was Suzanne (nee: Stewart) (1m. Scott Bartlett Emery 2m. Scott S. Pierce and 3m. William LaPrairie) who took the maiden name of her mother, Muriel Evelyn Juliette (nee: Rancourt) (and Muriel E. J. Rancourt had married previously to Clarence E. Paradis in 1949 and then to Lee E. "Sonny" Stewart in 1956) to infer or imply genealogical relationship to Gérard Anthony "Tsonakwa" Rancourt Jr. and his storytelling and "Abenaki-ness"?
14. Suzanne “Suzy”
J. “Blue Flame” Stewart - Rancourt
In her 2003 book entitled Billboard in the Clouds, of her poems, she implies that her ancestors were/ are Abenakis. At the end, she claims she is an Abenaki, of the Bear Clan, because allegedly someone of the Penobscot Nation SAID she was, because her half-sister, Michele M. (nee: Paradis) who married to Charles Robert "Tim" Tyler in March of 1971 married at the Ste. Anne's Catholic Church (by Rev. Real J. Nadeau), in Old Town, Indian Island, Penobscot County, Maine ... and Suzanne's maternal grandfather father George Walter Rancourt, had sat in a pew, allegedly reserved for the Bear Clan (according to Arnie Neptune) that day in March 1971. That made George an Abenaki? He (meaning George, Suzanne's grandfather) died Dec. 25, 1976 in Lewiston, Maine and had married to Dorothee (Dorothy) St. Onge in November 1913.
My question is, aside from reading and reviewing the aforementioned book of poems written by Suzanne (Stewart) Rancourt, that I am still wondering and confused ... how is she actually an 'Abenaki' herself or the descendant of an Abenaki?
I guess, she became Abenaki because her family didn't beat their child(ren)? Or the like ...
And btw, Gertrude 'Rizpah' (nee: Cleveland) Stewart, of which Suzanne made mention of in her book on Page 25 ... was not "Abenaki" because of the middle name she carried. It is a biblical name: (riz'-pa, "coal", "hot stone") was the daughter of Aiah, and one of Saul's concubines. She was the mother of Armoni and Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 3:7; 21:8-11).
Gertrude 'Rizpah' (nee: Cleveland) Stewart got the middle name 'Rizpah' from her maternal grandmother Rizpah (nee: Adams) 1m. Hewey 2m. Lewis.
The common Rancourt ancestor between Sherrie (nee: Rancourt) Pittman and Suzanne (nee: Stewart) was and is ... Jean François Rancourt born on 2 Apr 1694 in Ste. Joachim, Ile d'Orleans, Montmorency, Quebec, Canada. Suzanne descends from his 1st wife Louise Poulin. Sherrie Pittman descends from his 2nd wife Marie Claire Jodoin.
While Suzanne does have a distant 1600's genealogical ancestral connection to Roch Manintoubeouich / Manitouabeouich & Outchibabhanoukoneau, TWO HURON REFUGEE'S fleeing the Mohawk incursions/ attacks against Huronia in the mid-1630's, under the Jesuit umbrella of Protection at pre-Odanak in Sillery ... Sherrie (Rancourt) Pittman, does not have that same connection in her ancestry. And if the Rancourt's were in Ste. François d' Beauceville, Beauce County, Québec, Canada, again, that still does not mean her Rancourt ancestors were Abenakis at all.
ganttizdrama2 is in reality Sherrie Elizabeth Rancourt and Steven Lee Gantt's daughter, Falicity Gantt, who married to Sean Wheless.
This granddaughter of Gérard Anthony "Tsonakwa" Rancourt Jr. also believes her grandfather and her great-grandfather were "Abenakis". And that her great-grandfather's wife was half-Cherokee.
As for the storyteller, Gérard Anthony "Tsonakwa" Rancourt Jr. (and or his 3rd wife) or any of their ancestors being genuinely Abenakis, I do not discern any evidence of such reality.
And now, let's explore the honest-legitimate "history" and genealogical record(s) of his 3rd wife, this so-called "Yolaikia Wapitaska" ... who is really Marilyn Bernadet Sciolé ... who claims to be Abenaki as well from the Thetford Mines, Quebec, Canada area ...