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Who are the American Abenakis of Vermont?

Abenaki in ceremonial garb standing in semi circle

Although the Abenaki people have been a significant part of Vermont’s cultural landscape since the beginning of the Abenaki renaissance in the early 1970s, many Vermonters know little of their distinctive ancestral art, ceremonies, and subsistence technologies.

Join Dr. Frederick Wiseman as he shares his recent discoveries in the persistence of Native American language, dwellings, crops/horticulture, basketry, ceremonies, music, and many other markers of indigenousness well into 20th century and beyond in Vermont.

He concludes with a discussion of how this ethnic knowledge may help with cultural revitalization, public education and maintaining individual and community health.? 

$5 VHS Members / $10 Non-Members. Free for Abenaki tribal citizens. Register here.

About Dr. Fred Wiseman

Dr. Wiseman was trained as a Paleoethnobotanist at the University of Arizona. After serving in the Department of Geography and Anthropology at Louisiana State University and MIT Center for Materials Research in Archaeology and Ethnology, he returned to his Vermont roots to teach and do research at Johnson State College until his retirement in 2014.

Since 1987, he has focused on the Indigenous Wabanaki people of the far Northeast. Since 2009, Wiseman has worked with Indigenous groups in New England, Quebec, and the Mid-Atlantic to re-configure an almost lost Northeastern agricultural and forest landscape heritage. Wiseman teaches ceremonial craft arts, song, dance, and ceremony as important in crop nurture as sun, rain and fertile soil. He has also recovered significant numbers of ancestral recipes to help in reviving a lapsed regional Indigenous cuisine. 

His research into Wabanaki and Chesapeake Bay area food systems is detailed in his recent book The Seven Sisters: Ancient Seeds and Food Systems of the Wabanaki People (Earth Haven, 2018). He was instrumental in the research and political advocacy that led to four Vermont Indigenous bands being recognized by the state of Vermont, for which he was awarded the first Lifetime Achievement Award by the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association.   

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