Abenaki Heritage Weekend
June 24-25, 2017
This special weekend organized by Vermont Abenaki Artists Association and presented at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum gives visitors an Abenaki perspective on life in the Champlain Valley. Dancing, drumming, storytelling, craft and cooking demonstrations are presented by members of Vermont’s Abenaki Tribes. The Native Arts Marketplace and exhibit opening celebration provide opportunities to meet some of the artists featured in the special exhibition Alnobak: Wearing Our Heritage and other regional artists.
Abenaki Cultural Encampment
Roger Longte Sheehan
Doug Bent and Shirly Hook
Traditional Gardening (on the Green)
Make and Take Children’s Activities
Make a Gourd Rattle – Shirly Hook
Traditional Music and Story Telling
Nulhegan Abenaki Drum
Native American Arts Market (Boatshed and by fence)
Francine Poitras Jones – Paintings and Beadwork
Mike Descoteax – Photography and beadwork
Amy Hook Therrien – Paintings and Jewelry
Shirly Hook – Rattles and Jewelry
Roger and Linda Longtoe Sheehan – Soapstone pipes and wampum
Diane Stevens Photography
Jean Burbo – Pan Indian Jewelry
Vera Longtoe Sheehan – twined baskets and bags
Special Presentations in the Auditorium:
Decolonizing Native American Art.
Vera Longtoe Sheehan, Director, Vermont Abenaki Artists Association
Across academia, museums and Native American communities, who has the authority to determine what is art versus what is craft, and how to interpret it? Vera Longtoe Sheehan, explains inequities of law and other social justice issues that affect Native American artists. How have opportunities for Abenakis changed now that four Abenaki tribes have obtained Vermont State Recognition?
The light behind our eyes - a perspective on Abenaki identity.
Melody Walker-Brook, Adjunct Professor, Champlain College, and Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs.
Identity is the heart of the human experience. Every person carries a different vantage point by which to experience the world and that experience is a testament to the diversity of the human condition. There are many paths to seeing the beauty in all things and changing our lens can bring new perspective. Indigenous people occupy a unique space and express themselves through the values they hold, the clothing they wear, the skills they possess, and the way they interact with all of the persons that exist, from the plant and animal people to all of the other types of persons. When the landscape itself it animate, the human experience changes. Come and listen to what it means to be an indigenous person
Film, Lina Longtoe, Indigenous People’s Alliance
Alnobak: Wearing Our Heritage
Opening Celebration and Gallery Talk with Artists
This new exhibit presents wearable art, such as garments, regalia, and accessories by contemporary Abenaki artists, together with photographs and prints that reflect previous generations.
WHAT PARTICIPANTS SAID ABOUT ABENAKI HERITAGE WEEKEND 2016
This event is great for all Abenaki people and the Public as it brings us together. Abenaki people have a chance to learn from one another and the younger generations have a chance to speak with and learn from the many elders who come to this event. The young man whom I brought with me this year was able to spend a great deal of time talking to and learning from people from different bands within the Abenaki community. We share the song we sing and talk about the many different ways each song is sung. Our traditions of respect and honoring are also shared at this gathering. We share many things like song, dance, crafts, culture, history and language with one another and the public. This is an important time for our people. I give many thanks to the Maritime Museum and the VAAA. – Michael Descoteaux
My son Gavin and I traveled up from Wantastegok/Brattleboro and spent the day by Bitawbagw/Lake Champlain. It was a joy to see so many familiar faces (and make some new friends!), revel in the displays of traditional and contemporary craft, and feel the drumbeat under the brilliant summer sky. It is these gatherings of the people, of all generations, that keep the culture vibrant and maintain its relevance in a world that is too often alienated and confused. And for the public that was in attendance, the day's activities affirmed that there is an ongoing, active Native presence here, one that has much to share and celebrate. – Rich Holschuch
This was my third year attending the Abenaki Heritage Celebration. It's a wonderful time for the Tribes to get together and share. I've noted that it is not unusual for people to travel from long distances to attend; as a result, I've made new friends that I will look forward to seeing again the following year. This Celebration provides an excellent opportunity for people to learn about our past and gather new information to share with the generations now coming up. It's a wonderful thing to see the young ones sitting around the big drum together and then playing games, just having fun! It gives me hope for the future of our people; without a venue such as this Celebration, it would be difficult to get together the way we now can. I'm already looking forward to next year's Celebration! -- Francine Poitras-Jones