Action to Support H.119, an Act for Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Link to bill description page

The bill as introduced this session by principal sponsors Reps. Brian Cina and James Masland has 28 co-sponsors. It was introduced on Jan. 30, 2019 and sent to the House Committee on General, Housing, and Military Affairs. Thank you Brian and Jim! From Rep. Cina last Wednesday:

“Just wanted to let you know that the Indigenous Peoples Day bill has been introduced! It is time to mobilize our networks and communities to email members of the House General, Housing, and Military Affairs Committee! We need to ask them to take the bill off the wall, to gather testimony, and to finally pass this bill so that we do not have to rely on a proclamation from the Governor any more.”

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Bills in Committee are said to be “on the wall” – quite literally tacked to the bulletin board. To proceed, they have to be taken up by the Committee, testimony solicited, amendments offered (if any), and voted out to the full House Chamber. This is then repeated in the House, then the bill is sent to the Senate. I am told that Chair Thomas Stevens is favorably inclined, so that’s a good start. As Brian said, we need to contact the GHMA Committee and express support for taking action on H.119. Names and emails are below:

This is the page for the House Committee on General, Housing, and Military Affairs.

Chair Thomas Stevens tstevens@leg.state.vt.us

Vice-Chair Joseph “Chip” Troiano ctroiano@leg.state.vt.us

Ranking Member Diana Gonzalez dgonzalez@leg.state.vt.us

Matthew Birong Jr. mbirong@leg.state.vt.us

Marianna Gamache mgamache@leg.state.vt.us

Clerk Mary E. Howard MHoward@leg.state.vt.us

John Killacky jkillacky@leg.state.vt.us

Emily Long elong@leg.state.vt.us

Randall Szott rszott@leg.state.vt.us

Tommy Walz twalz@leg.state.vt.us

Here’s all the email addresses together if you want to send a group email (copy and paste all at once). Simply express your positive support for taking up H.119 in Committee.

tstevens@leg.state.vt.us

ctroiano@leg.state.vt.us

dgonzalez@leg.state.vt.us

mbirong@leg.state.vt.us

mgamache@leg.state.vt.us

MHoward@leg.state.vt.us

jkillacky@leg.state.vt.us

elong@leg.state.vt.us

rszott@leg.state.vt.us

twalz@leg.state.vt.us

 

Thank you for your help with this! I will keep you posted as the bill progresses.

 

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Jeanne Brink to be Honored at Middlebury College

jeanne brink abenaki basketmaker

From the Feb. 22, 2018 article in VTDigger.org.

Middlebury… will honor four other distinguished men and women with honorary degrees this year:

Jeanne A. Brink is an Abenaki artist and activist. She conducts workshops and programs on Western Abenaki storytelling, history, language, culture, basket making, oral tradition, dance, games, and current issues throughout Vermont and New England. Tracing her Abenaki heritage back to the early 1700s, she continues the tradition of Western Abenaki ash splint and sweetgrass fancy basketry as a master basket maker. Brink has served on the Vermont Commission for Native American Affairs, the Lake Champlain Basin Program Cultural Heritage and Recreation Advisory Committee, and many other local organizations. She is the author of several books about Abenaki art and language.

The Middlebury College Commencement ceremony will take place on the main quadrangle at 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 27. More than 5,000 family members and friends are expected to attend.

Abenaki Educational Outreach: Lucy Neel at Northfield VT Jr. High School

lucy cannon neel northfield jr high school vt

Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs Chair Lucy Cannon Neel shared this photo from two weeks ago at Northfield (VT) Jr. High, taken during part of their Bridge Program. The course included drumming and Abenaki heritage in four parts: pre-contact, contact, Abenaki people today, and storytelling.

VCNAA Support for Standing Rock Brings It Home

standing-rock-elnu-roger-rich

The Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs approved a proclamation in support of North Dakota tribes, 14 days before the new president announced he would resume two controversial pipeline projects.

“We approve everything unanimously because that’s the native way,” said Rich Holschuh, a Brattleboro resident on the commission. “As a commission, we work with the native people within what is now the state of Vermont. We also recognize that borders are political constructs, so we try to support similar people with similar interests and this is one way we can do that.”

The commission “proclaims support for those protectors at Standing Rock, N.D., who are resisting destruction of sites sacred to Dakota, Lakota and Nakota people, disruption of traditional ways and potential environmental contamination from crude oil pipeline construction and use.” The entire document can be found here.

Commissioner Joelen Mulvaney drafted the document, which was discussed and approved during the commission’s Jan. 11 meeting.

Read the full article by Chris Mays in the Brattleboro Reformer. Photo by Kristopher Radder of the Brattleboro Reformer.

west-river-roger-rich-vcnaa-proclamation

VCNAA Proclaims Support for Standing Rock #NoDAPL

At the regular meeting of the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs, held in Montpelier on January 11, 2017, the Commission adopted a Proclamation in support of the actions of the water protectors at and near the Standing Rock, North Dakota community, opposing disruption, destruction, and degradation of the the natural and sacred landscape.  The proclamation was written by Commissioner Joelen Mulvaney and adopted by consensus of all in attendance. pdf here: vcnaa-standing-rock-proclamation. Full text below:

Proclamation of Support for Lakota, Dakota and Nakota at Standing Rock, North Dakota by the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs

Whereas the Commission is charged by law to recognize the historic and cultural contributions of Native Americans in Vermont, to protect and strengthen Native American heritage, and to address needs in state policy, programs, and actions.

Whereas the Commission develops policies and programs to benefit Vermont’s Native American Indian population.

Whereas the Commission is committed to protecting and preserving sacred, culturally sensitive and historical sites crucial to strengthening Native American heritage and promoting understanding of indigenous conservation efforts since time immemorial.

Whereas the natural environment, grandfather mountains and ridges, forests and wetlands, lakes, rivers and streams and birds, animals and fish are integral to Abenaki culture, history, tradition, heritage and spirituality.

Whereas indigenous people who have been protecting and preserving sacred and historical sites and natural resources around the world and in Vermont are under siege by the pressures of industrial energy production.

Whereas the Commission recognizes the collective struggle of indigenous people to bring recognition to their cultural contributions and heritage, including the natural environment on Turtle Island, from Ndakinna to Kanaka Oiwi; from the northeast woodlands of Vermont to the islands of Hawaii.

And whereas sites such as Rocky Ridge in Missisquoi (Swanton), the Kwanitekw (Connecticut River) watershed, the Green Mountain National Forest in Searsberg and Botambakw (Lake Champlain) are places where industrial energy development threatens the preservation of historic, sacred and culturally sensitive sites.

The Commission proclaims support for those protectors at Standing Rock, North Dakota who are resisting destruction of sites sacred to Dakota, Lakota and Nakota people, disruption of traditional ways and potential environmental contamination from crude oil pipe line construction and use.