Diversity Day at Derby’s North Country Union Junior High

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Members of the Nulhegan Abenaki brought traditional drumming and singing to North Country Union Junior High in Derby, VT  on February 2, 2017, as part of the school’s Diversity Program. Photos by Melody Nunn via Facebook – wliwni!

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Teach the Children Well

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Lucy Cannon Neel, Chairperson of the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs presented at the Benson Village School on  December 21, 2016. Lucy shared about the history and continued presence of Native Americans in what is now the state of Vermont. The students experienced traditional cultural materials as well; they were even able to drum (video below)!

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WPTZ’s Tom Messner with Chief Don Stevens and Professor Fred Wiseman

Four separate video segments:

  • Meteorologist Tom Messner of Burlington, Vermont’s WPTZ – NBC Channel 5 talks with Chief Don Stevens of the Nulhegan Abenaki Tribe about indigenous persistence, traditional crops and wisdom, and educational outreach. Link here.
  • In the second segment, he speaks further with Professor Fred Wiseman, featuring artful interpretations of those themes by elementary students. Link here.
  • In the third segment, Tom continues to talk with Fed Wiseman about the Seeds of Renewal Project and the return of Abenaki heritage crops and techniques. Link here.
  • And in the fourth piece, members of the Nulhegan Abenaki drum group demonstrates their traditional singing and drumming. Link here.
  • Filmed November 15, 2016 at the Harvest Celebration with the Seeds of Renewal Project at the ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain in Burlington.

Link to the Facebook event page.

The Status Of The Abenaki In Vermont Today

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Vermont Public Radio‘s new listener-sourced investigative journalism show “Brave Little State” released its latest episode, in response to the question:

What Is The Status Of The Abenaki Native Americans In Vermont Today?

Produced by VPR staffer Angela Evancie, the story examines the resurgence of today’s Abenaki, Vermont’s indigenous people, from a long, dark, and often-hidden past. The truth is being retold and affirmed, and today’s descendants want to share the fact that they are still here, after thousands of years, and they have a story to share. I was able to play a part in this episode and it makes my heart sing to know that our Native community is well on its way to a restoration of acknowledgement and respect.

Read and hear the full story on Brave Little State here!

Vermont Abenaki Build Cultural Awareness

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Abenaki tribes in Vermont have been hard at work promoting education and trying to improve public perception of American Indians. Roger Longtoe, Chief of the Elnu Abenaki tribe, said he has seen positive change over the past few years since state recognition occurred. “It’s happening little by little, but I’m seeing more people being aware of us,” said Longtoe, whose tribe is based in the southern Vermont town of Jamaica.

Full story in the Burlington Free Press.

Nulhegan Abenaki Gathering

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The fifth annual Nulhegan Abenaki Heritage Gathering will take place on Saturday and Sunday (8/13-8/14) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Throughout the weekend, there will be singing, drumming and dancing, and traditional games for both adults and children. Members of the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association, as well as other Native Peoples, will sell traditional and contemporary art, and some will demonstrate their crafts.

“This event is all about making sure natives can enjoy their culture and gather as a community. … My job as chief is to make sure that our kids know their culture,” Stevens said. “The public is also welcome to come, and understand who we are and what we do. We are often overlooked. Most people look at minorities, and don’t think of the Abenaki. We’ve been part of the fabric for so long that we aren’t seen as outsiders.”

Note: although this gathering took place this past weekend, a record of the story is placed here for reference. Full story in Stowe Today.