The Status Of The Abenaki In Vermont Today

vermont-abenaki-brave-little-state-vpr-evancie

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!

VPR Coverage for Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Vermont

rich_holschuh-vpr-weisss-tisman-20161010

A full story was assembled after an interview by Vermont Public Radio reporter Howard Weiss-Tisman on Friday, Oct. 7, the day after Gov. Peter Shumlin issued the Proclamation for Indigenous Peoples’ Day in place of Columbus Day. The story was posted today, Oct. 8th (audio to follow). Read it here.

Several other media stories have been released following the Oct. 6, 2016 action by Vermont Gov. Shumlin. WPTZ-NBC TV Channel 5 in Burlington rolled in the ongoing exploration of similar action in Hartford, VT.

Clink link for full report:

WPTZ – NBC

NPR

 

Brave Little State: the Resiliency of the Abenaki People

angela-evancie-vpr-brave-little-state-locust-ridge

I met Angela Evancie of Vermont Public Radio in Brattleboro’s Locust Ridge cemetery this morning for an hour-long interview (it’ll probably be closer to three minutes after editing). We were putting together material for a Brave Little State episode on the resiliency and resurgence of the Aln8bak – the Abenaki people – in what we now call Vermont. Angela’s editorial idea (brilliant) was to chat next to the grave of Col. John Sergeant, “the first person born in the state of Vermont.”

We covered a lot of territory (all good – it is n’dakinna after all) and I enjoyed the time spent exploring the state of things. And Angela is a wonderful, kind person. I believe this is going to be a good episode; it will be airing in November. I’ll post coverage here on Sokoki Sojourn of course.

There Are No Unsacred Places

sokwakik-great-bend-vernon-vt

This story and article reported by Howard Weiss-Tisman appeared yesterday on Vermont Public Radio: To Fill Void Left By Vermont Yankee, Vernon Looks For New Energy Projects.

Sokwakik, Squakheag, Great Bend, Cooper’s Point, Vernon Dam, Vermont Yankee…

Once again, I am struck with the antithetical values and legacies embodied in this place, so close to home. It’s almost hard to comprehend. It hurts.

Looking ahead, this toxicity will be with us for a long, long time, essentially forever: the land is basically condemned, which is a chilling sentence. Looking back just as far, essentially forever, most people have no idea what Vermont Yankee (and the Vernon hydro complex) is sitting upon… Once a favored and sacred fishing place, with small villages surrounded by corn fields, Native people have lived and died here for thousands of years. The people and the land were one, not separated. It is still a very special place, although sullied and scarred.

I think again of Wendell Berry’s words: “There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.”

Cassidy for VPR on Abenaki Artifacts at Brooks

vpr logo

When Brooks Memorial Library in Brattleboro announced an exhibit of local Native American artifacts, I made a special trip to the library, but then walked right by the small, anonymous bits of clay and stone in the local history section and had to ask a librarian for directions to the display.

A printed guide said that in 2004 Gordon Crandall, a local “avocational archeologist,” discovered a projectile point and a flake of flint in a test pit on a point of land near where the West River joins the Connecticut. Crandall engaged some young students to help him look for more artifacts a few feet below the surface of the earth. A casual observer might not even have noticed most of the objects, and fragments of objects, which are up to 3,500 years old. They include arrowheads chipped from flint, “projectile stones” that hunters threw at animals they were hunting, and the oldest pottery shards ever found in Vermont, which look like crudely flattened pieces of brick. All are humble, everyday objects, serving everyday needs.

[Full commentary on VPR]

 

Project Revives Abenaki Crops, One Seed At A Time

fred wiseman abenaki crops VPR

Vermont Public Radio has given the Seeds of Renewal Project a nice bit of coverage recently:

“Almost a decade ago, Abenaki scholar and paleoethnobotanist Fred Wiseman started working with Abenaki communities as part of the documentation process for federal tribal recognition. While he was in these communities, Wiseman noticed crops that had long been thought to have disappeared growing on the hillsides. It led him to start the Seeds of Renewal Project.” [full story]

Vermont Hosts The Wabanaki Confederacy Conference

abenaki drumsLeading off this morning, the Abenaki bands of Vermont are hosting a gathering of the Wabanaki Confederacy, in this state for the first time in 200 years. Vermont Public Radio’s Vermont Edition talks with Chief Don Stevens of the Nulhegan Band of Coosuk-Abenaki and Professor Fred Wiseman about this momentous and forward-looking event. The Conference will be held at Shelburne Farms in Shelburne, Vermont beginning today, August 19, 2015 through Saturday August 22, 2015; the public is invited to join the celebration all day on Saturday. A Facebook Event page can be found here.