Presenting Abenaki Culture in the Classroom

Course Details

Course NamePresenting Abenaki Culture in the Classroom
InstructorsVera Sheehan (Click to Email)
Director of Vermont Abenaki Artists Association and the Abenaki Arts & Education Center
LocationOnline (Zoom and Moodle)
Dates & ScheduleSeptember 24–December 21, 2023
Class will meet via Zoom on Sunday afternoons from 1–4 PM, from September 24 through December 21. There is no class on the following Sundays: October 1, October 8, November 26, and December 4. Our first session, on Sunday 9/24, will be held in person from 10am to 3pm at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, located at 4472 Basin Harbor Road, Vergennes VT.
Credit3 credits available through Castleton University
Tuition$950 standard tuition, $1400 for Castleton Credit
Size20 participants maximum

Course Description

Immerse yourself in the richness of Abenaki culture and its continuity through music, history, archaeology, weaving, social justice matters, heirloom plants, and Indigenous knowledge. Led by scholars, historians, and culture bearers, this course presents the vibrant regional culture with roots reaching back nearly 13,000 years and thriving in the present. Through a blend of lectures and experiential learning, participants will gain knowledge of Abenaki cultural heritage and perspectives.

As you progress through the course, the presenters will uncover the potential of Abenaki culture as a transformative educational tool. You will learn how to seamlessly infuse Abenaki perspectives into your teaching, fostering an environment of inclusivity and mutual respect. By acquiring cultural competency and integrating Abenaki insights, you’ll create classrooms that embrace diversity and provide valuable insights to enrich students’ understanding of the world.

In its seventh annual iteration, the “Presenting Abenaki Culture in the Classroom” course equips teachers and homeschool educators with profound insights into the ongoing relevance of Indigenous culture in the 21st century. Explore history, challenge stereotypes, and access new resources designed for both physical and digital learning environments. Sessions cover age-appropriate activities and strategies for better supporting Abenaki and other Native students, all while teaching American history and other academic content areas.

A virtual tour of the exhibition Nebizun: Water is Life will help you gain an in-depth appreciation for the significance of water in Abenaki culture and its broader implications for society and the environment. This engaging experience provides educators with new resources, and a platform for creating and refining lesson plans with vetted resources. By embracing culturally sustaining pedagogy and aligning with the newly proposed Act 1 Ethnic Studies framework, participants will seamlessly incorporate Abenaki perspectives into their curriculum. This approach encourages students to engage with history, explore social justice topics, and broaden their perspectives, fostering a classroom environment that celebrates diversity and brings education to life.

Presented through a partnership between the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association, Abenaki Arts & Education Center, and Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.

Required Reading

Smith, Linda Tuhiwai. Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples.

Longon, UK.: Zed Books, Ltd

(Please note – there are two editions of this book. If you wish to purchase the book, the second edition can be purchased through Amazon.com or you may read a digital version of the first edition at: https://nycstandswithstandingrock.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/linda-tuhiwai-smith-decolonizing-methodologies-research-and-indigenous-peoples.pdf)