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Abenaki Heritage Weekend

June 28-29, 2014

This special weekend, hosted by Lake Champlain Maritime Museum and presented in partnership with the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs, gives visitors an Abenaki perspective on life in the Champlain Valley. Members of the Elnu and Missisquoi Abenaki tribes, the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk and Koasek Traditional Band of the Koas Abenaki Nation, and the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association work with Museum staff to plan and present the event, with the advice and support of the Commission.

The Native people at this event are experts in the living indigenous arts and traditions which they come together to share with one another and with visitors. They have inherited, researched, reconstructed, or apprenticed to learn the techniques with which they create outstanding beadwork, quillwork, basketry, pottery, woodworking and other items for personal use or for sale. Tribal members will also share songs, drumming, dancing, games, food preparation, and other life skills. Abenaki scholars Fred Wiseman and Melody Walker Brook will present wampum readings, and an illustrated program “Seeds of Renewal,” describing the search for and preservation of heirloom plants and associated ceremonies and traditions.


Abenaki Heritage Weekend also includes opportunities to share cultural heritage through illustrated talks and Round Table discussions on topics such as efforts to preserve Abenaki as a living language, and the cultivation, use and exchange of heirloom plants. “I have been amazed by the richness and depth of the cultural and historical information brought out by the Vermont Indigenous bands during their research for Vermont State Recognition,” says Frederick M. Wiseman, Ph. D., Director of the Wobanakik Heritage Center in Swanton. “This is a new stage with great potential in Vermont culture and history – for Native people to work on their own history and culture and then present the results.”

This year, work by members of Vermont Abenaki Artists Association will be featured in LCMM’s permanent exhibit on the region’s Native peoples, Contact of Cultures.   Inaugurated in 2009 to reflect the maritime skills and traditions of the region’s Native people since the 1609 expedition of Samuel de Champlain, the exhibit has been augmented each year by Abenaki artists and historians working with LCMM staff. Lake Champlain’s first navigators are represented by a full sized bark canoe constructed by Abenaki artist Aaron York in 2007. Abenaki historian Frederick M. Wiseman, Ph. D. contributed miniature birch bark canoes, an array of canoe paddles, and some of the tools his family used to make them. El-nu Abenaki Chief Roger Longtoe created replicas of fishing lures, hooks, sinkers, and Vera Longtoe used the ancient twining technique preserved by her family to produce a traditional fish net and carrying bag. In 2011 and 2012, Abenaki videographer Lina Longtoe provided documentaries of artists at work, singing, and Abenaki Tribal Recognition events.  


Ongoing Saturday & Sunday


Saturday June 28

10:15am   Welcome Song
10:30am–11:00am Circle of Courage Dancers
11:00am-11:30am Voices of the Koas, Songs & Sun Dance
11:30am-12:30 Seeds of Renewal: Illustrated Presentation
11:30am-Noon Chunky Game
Noon -12:30pm Nulhegan Drum & Nulhegan Youth Drum
12:30pm-12:45pm Introduction of Commissioners, Jim Peterson Commemoration
12:45pm-1:30pm The Vermont Abenaki, A Struggle for Recognition:
Film by Brian Francis, Bear Paw Productions
Discussion & Conversation
1:30pm- 2:00pm Official Introduction of Vermont Abenaki Artists Association – Arts Marketplace - Jeanne Morningstar Kent - Seven Wobanaki Artists
2:15pm-2:45pm    Nulhegan Drum & Nulhegan Youth Drum
2:45pm-3:15pm  Circle of Courage Youth Dancers
3:15pm-4:00pm Wampum Reading
4:15pm- 5:00pm Joseph, Jesse and Jacob Bruchac
Stories and Songs from the Land of the Dawn, a three-generation program, bilingual in English and Abenaki


Sunday June 29

10:15am Welcome Song
10:30am-11:00am Conversations with Elnu Tribe and Guest Artists
11:00am-11:30am Chunky Game
11:00am-Noon Meet the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association
One Artist's Life: Jeanne Morningstar Kent
12:30pm-1:00pm   The Vermont Abenaki, A Struggle for Recognition:
Film by Brian Francis, Bear Paw Productions
Discussion & Conversation
1:00pm-2:00pm Abenaki Ceremonial Revitalization, Fred Wiseman and Melody Walker Brook
Videos: The Sun Dance and Green Corn Ceremony
2:00pm-2:30pm Nulhegan Drum
2:30pm-3:00pm   Storytelling & Community Dancing, Chief Don Stevens
3:15pm-4:00pm Wampum Reading
4:15pm-5:00pm The Vermont Abenaki, A Struggle for Recognition:
Film by Brian Francis, Bear Paw Productions
Discussion & Conversation


Special Discounted Admission for this event, thanks to an anonymous donor.
$5 Adults (usually $10); $3 Youth (usually $6); Free to Members & Kids 5 & Under


Special Related Programs:

Seeds of Renewal: Presentation on Wednesday June 18, 2014, 6:30-8:30pm

Paddle to Prehistory: Workshop on June 29, 2014


Abenaki Heritage Weekend 2014 Participating Artists

Presenters, Performers & Artists

Shirly Hook – rawhide rattles
Jeanne Morningstar Kent – gourd art
Jessee Lawyer –Vermont Abenaki Artists Association
Linda Longtoe Sheehan – wampum jewelry
Vera Longtoe Sheehan – twining
Roger Longtoe Sheehan – talks, history & culture, singing, storytelling 
Jim Taylor – shell wampum
Paul-Rene Tamburro - silversmith
Bernie Mortz – drum making, snow snakes, dance sticks, friendship bows, war clubs
Vermont Abenaki Artists Association Display Table
Haven Project Display Table, Melody Walker Brook
Didier Colucci, Snapper Petta, & Suzanne Vernette - eighteenth century skills
White Pine Association Display Table
Joseph Bruchac, Author and storyteller
Jesse Bruchac, Musician, linguist
Trudy Ann Parker, Author
Circle of Courage Dancers, Brenda Gagne,
Firepit Cooking Demonstration, Doug Bent, Shirly Hook, Dave Bent, Raven Wood
Nulhegan Drum
Don Stevens – drumming, storytelling, dance leader
Voices of the Koasek, Women’s Singing Group
Fred Wiseman and Melody Walker Brook: Wampum Readings
Fred Wiseman and Melody Walker Brook: The Haven Project
Nancy Jo Chabot, Curator, Mt. Kearsage Indian Museum
Rose Hartwell, quillwork

Melody Walker Brook – Conversations on Spirituality
Artists’ Development Sessions – speak to Arts organization representatives about presenting your art: portfolio review, artists’ statements, researching opportunities, use of social media, etc.