With the proposed sale of the shuttered nuclear power plant known as Vermont Yankee in Vernon on the Kwanitekw, there has been a flurry of news coverage about the regulatory process and related interests. As noted on this blog, activity in this sensitive and sacred area of Sokwakik brings concern to Native people here in n’dakinna. Below are a few of the latest articles:
VTDigger 03/03/2017 https://vtdigger.org/2017/03/03/vermont-yankee-sale-review-attracts-crowd/
VTDigger 03/07/2017 https://vtdigger.org/2017/03/07/feds-commit-vermont-public-meeting-yankee-sale/
VPR.net 02/28/2017 http://digital.vpr.net/post/psb-sets-march-14-first-hearing-vermont-yankee-sale#stream/0
The last cited article reports that the first of two planned public hearings by the VT PSB will be held on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at the Vernon Elementary School, across the road from the plant.
The NRC has committed to holding a local meeting sometime soon, after much pressure. A date has not been set yet.
From VPR’s Town Meeting recap and updates:
Update 4:00 p.m. Kelly Salasin, who has been busy tweeting from Marlboro’s marathon Town Meeting session, says, after six-plus hours, “participatory democracy is petering out.” Salasin says voters have passed an article proclaiming the second Monday of October Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead of Columbus Day.
And from Brattleboro’s weekly The Commons:
“Another article, which proclaims the second Monday of October to be Indigenous Peoples’ Day, rather than Columbus Day, also passed. It used the same language as an article that will be voted upon at Brattleboro’s Representative Town Meeting later this month.”
For his exhibition, Tim Brookes carved phrases into indigenous wood using disappearing or endangered alphabets from across the globe. Pictured, in Abenaki, the phrase, ‘Language of the grandfathers who went before’ is carved into a plank of walnut. Photo from VPR.
Six years ago, writer and Champlain College professor Tim Brookes carved letters into wooden planks to give to family as holiday gifts. The presents were well received and Brookes enjoyed his new hobby. He added new and different alphabet letters and languages to his hand-carved signs. Then, by chance, Brookes learned just how many of the globe’s writing systems were disappearing and a project was born: The Endangered Alphabets Project.
Brookes talked with VPR about the Endangered Alphabets Project exhibition, up now at Champlain College through March 10. The thirteen carvings each bear the phrase, “Mother Tongue,” written in Abenaki, Balinese, Mandean, Inuktitut and several other cultures whose written word is disappearing.
Full article and podcast at VPR.
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!
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
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.
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.”