August 2nd, 2012
Chief Nancy Retires and Passes on Leadership to Chief Mortz
After fighting for State Recognition along with many others for the
last 20 years Chief Nancy Millette Doucet retires with her mission for
the Koasek People completed. Recently Chief Nancy Millette Doucet was
diagnosed with stage four cancer. Bernie Mortz has worked with Chief
Nancy MIllette since 1993 on many tribal issues. "
We believe Chief Bernie Mortz is going to be a wonderful leader of our tribe.
He has been on the front lines for many years."
After years of leadership and accomplishing Vermont State Recognition
with her Tribe Chief Nancy Millette Doucet retires passing the
leadership over to the new Chief Bernie Mortz.
May 7th, 2012
On May 7th, 2012 our Band recieved State Recognition by the State of Vermont.
Here are some pictures from that Day's Ceremonies:
Gov. Shumlin Signs our Recognition Bill into Law
Band Elder Trudy Ann Parker giving Acceptance Speech
Sen. Vince Illuzi with Gov. Shumlin
Alliance Chiefs of the Four VT Recognized Tribes
Chief Don Stevens Nulhegan
CHief Roger Longtoe Sheehan El Nu Tribe
CHief John Churchhill Missisquoi St Francis Sokoki
Chief Nancy Millette Doucet Koasek Abenaki of the Koas
Circle of Courage Youth Drum Group performing an Honor Song for
Chief Nancy Millette Doucet.
Nulhegan Drum Group performed a Warriors Song in honor of her
and the fight for recognition
April 26th, 2011
Towns to Honor and Celebrate their 250th Anniversary
Newbury, Vermont and Haverhill, New Hampshire will be celebrating the birth of their towns in a year long active celebration throughout the year of 2013. Whereas, Newbury and Haverhill see themselves as one large community the two will be setting full calendars to coordinate this incredible list of events. First including all annual events already in place the towns will add on to schedule with activities all year on both sides of the river.
The White Pine Association will be working with the communities to bring forth the Indigenous histories in activities of events and programs that were first introduced in Burlington Vermont’s Quad Celebration. The White Pine Association will add onto the events the celebration of Mission Des Loupes that was built in the Koas Meadows in 1675.
The Towns meet once a month at the Haverhill Selectmen’s office. These meetings will help coordinate all aspects of the 2013 celebration with the core committee and break out committees that will focus on individual merits of building such an event. We encourage organizations and individuals who would like to take part in this extremely exciting celebration to come to the meetings.
For more information please call Nancy Millette Doucet Committee Vice Chair at 603-747-1015.
March 24th, 2009
White Pine Association’s National Geographic DNA Event Exceeds Expectations
North Haverhill, NH- On March 20 and 21, 2009 scientists from the National Geographic visited the area to add another tool of identifying and preserving the history of the Mission des Loupes area and people. In 1675, Jesuit Joseph Aubrey built a mission to Christianize the Indians of the Koas Meadows today known as the Oxbows. For hundreds of years the descendants of the meadow region assimilated with non native population as they moved into the region. The history of the meadows is an important part of what makes the people of Haverhill New Hampshire and Newbury Vermont unique today.
Taking a male and female from families who volunteered to have a DNA annalist under the 5 year National Geographic program hosted by the White Pine Association over the weekend will be used as an important tool for individual families to use in their own genealogy study as well as helping to give a migration pattern to our region. Approximately 400 family roots will be studied of families who have been in the region for hundreds of years. “This is so important to individual families,” state the White Pine Trustees, “and for us it will give us more information as we build detailed historic preservation programs to give to the area children so they can take pride in their colorful past and identity of who they are.”
On Saturday March 21 Professor Fred Wiseman gave a preview of his new film 1609 The Other Side of History. Trudy Ann Parker told stories of Aunt Sarah, woman of the Dawnland and both she and Fred Wiseman were present for book signing. El Nu Tribal members found enough snow and ice in the field of the White Pine headquarters to have a game of snow snake. The White Pine’s annual Snow Snake games scheduled in Feb were cancelled due to the blizzard that kept teams from travelling in from Akwesasne, New York, southern and northern Vermont.
The White Pine Association finished their raffle with winners being, First prize: Photo Session (value $150.00) donated by Sonkist Photo. Mike Wood Waterbury, Vt. Second Prize: (value $100.00) One night lodging in the Jacuzzi room at Nootka Lodge. Donated by Nootka Lodge, Woodsville, N.H. Colin Wood, Montgomery Center, Vt. Third Prize: $50.00 gift certificate to Farmway. Donated by Farmway, Bradford, Vt. David Merfeld, Piermont, N.H. Fourth Prize: 2009 Garden seeds donated by Huntington Agway of North Haverhill,(value $30.00) Kevin Fagnant, Fifth prize; Abenaki Book, “Voice of the Dawn” the history of the Abenaki Tribe. Donated and written by Fred Wiseman. John Fullerton Jr., Woodsville, N.H. Sixth Prize: Abenaki Book “Reclaiming the Ancestor” Donated and written by Fred Wiseman. Shannon Rice East Corinth,Vt. Seventh Prize: 4 tickets to Jax Jr. Cinemas. Donated by Jax Jr. Cinemas, Littleton, N.H. Katherine Gaudette,Piermont, N.H. Eighth Prize: $20.00 gift certificate North Haverhill Pizza and Sub Shop, donated by owner. Ron and Joanne Fullerton, Woodsville, N.H. Ninth Prize: Gifts and Creations, donated by Dancing Star Creations, donated Milo Paquin. Larry Coffin, Bradford, Vt.
The White Pine Association would like to thank the above supporters as well as sponsors; Wal Mart, Town of Haverhill, National Geographic, our board of trustees and Koasek of the Koas Tribal council of elders for their help in making this event a success that exceeded our expectations.
March 16th, 2009
DNA and Book Signing coming up in North Haverhill
On Friday March 20 and Saturday March 21, 2009 National Geographic DNA testing will be taking place at the North Haverhill Town Office Building. On Saturday Trudy Ann Parker author of Aunt Sarah and Fred Wiseman author of several books about the Abenaki will have a book signing for those interested. Fred Wiseman will also show his film “Against the Darkness” at 3 PM and give a talk. All is free and open to the public.
The White Pine Association is please to work with Dr Schurr and National Geographic to bring the DNA testing to the Newbury Vermont and Haverhill NH area. There has been some confusion to how effective the tests will be for families who Native heritage goes from Female to Male. Recently, the White Pine spoke with Dr Schurr and he responded;
“In general, the DNA analysis that we perform reveal participants' maternal genetic ancestry (mtDNA), and, for males, also their paternal ancestry (Y-chromosome). It indicates the maternal or paternal lineage that a person has inherited from female and male ancestors extending back many generations”
Hours for the DNA testing are Friday March 20 from 11 AM to 7 Pm and Saturday March 21 from 10 Am to 5 PM. The programs are open and free to the public. For more information please call 802-280-8070 Director of White Pine Association
March 6th, 2009
White Pine Association to Host Free DNA Testing in North Haverhill
The White Pine Association will be offering Free DNA testing on March 20 and 21, 2009 at the gym in Haverhill Town Office Building on Main Street, North Haverhill, NH. Hours for testing will be Friday March 20st 11 am to 7 PM. Saturday March 21st from 10 Am to 5 PM. Requirements to take part in this program will include that your family has lived within 25 miles of the historic areas known as the Koas or Oxbow in the Haverhill NH, Newbury Vermont areas since the 1800’s. If you no longer live in the area but have direct genealogical ties to that area you are also welcome to take part in this program.
Some ways to show proof of historic family ties can be used from the following list: birth certificates, US census, death certificates, marriage certificates, family bibles, pages from history of community which identifies your family as being in one of the communities and/or written out oral family history. Copies of proof of long term family residency in the area will be required to take part in this program. Your historic residency to the area documentation can be sent to the White Pine Association (WPA), PO Box 42, Newbury Vt 05051 in advance or you are welcome to bring it with you at the time of the testing. For people who would like to take part in this program that have historic ties but live out of the area now can still take part in the program via mail. Just send above documentation into the WPA that shows your family has had early residency in the area and your name and address will be given to the lab to mail your DNA kit to your home.
Testing results will be confidential between the participants and the lab. The laboratory will give your DNA tests a number and your name will not be used for any other purpose except to have so your confidential test results can be returned to you. The White Pine Association will not be given the result. “We are only offering and coordinating this free of charge program to the general public rooted within the historic area because so many people have reported they have unsuccessfully tried to find documentation and proof of the Indian heritage in their families, “ states the board of trustees. “ Many had exclaimed they wish they could take a DNA test to help with their pursuit. There is also a very strong background of many cultures in the area. The WPA is dedicated to celebrating and preserving the rich historic and cultural make up of our homeland for the future generations and helping our communities today with preservation, educational programs, health and human services and more.”
DNA testing does have some draw backs. Indian heritage for enrollment into a tribe is not determined by DNA markers only. DNA tests are not complete if the gene crosses from male to female. For instance the test may be negative if the Indian heritage goes from mother to son or father to daughter with the mtDNA and Y-chromosome testing WPA will offer. There is another DNA test that would show this cross over if an individual would like to choose to have it at their own expense. The genetic make- up needs to follow male to male and female to female in the family line. Also, Indian heritage may not say the exactly tribe a person’s markers come from. Although DNA testing alone cannot be used to gain enrollment into a tribe it can be a useful tool. DNA will show markers of heritage whether it is Irish, Scottish, Indian, Italian etc etc. We all have mixed heritage and this gives the people of the Newbury Vermont and Haverhill NH area an opportunity to embrace the colorful past of who they are!
An example of enrollment into the Koasek Traditional Band of the Koas ( Newbury, Vermont and Haverhill, NH ) for example would include even with DNA positive results; birth, death, marriage certificates, US census that identify a Native American / Indian of that region and you can trace your heritage directly to that person; a family tree with supporting documentation; Persons who demonstrates tribal community involvement historically and consistently to recent times; family surnames that are already known to tribal communities and you can trace your linage to that family; person already proven Native American who have lived for generations in or near Newbury, Vermont and Haverhill, NH or have had family members show residency there in historic times which you can show clear relationship to. Family members mean someone sharing a relationship by blood. Near means within 30 miles of North Haverhill or Newbury and finally the person must not already be enrolled in another tribe.
The White Pine Association is very pleased to have this opportunity in bringing this program to North Haverhill, NH to help people find another piece of their genetic puzzle. The scientists and associates will be on location to answer your questions in person on March 20 and 21, 2009. The same DNA testing has been successfully utilized for the past thirteen years and has characterized mtDNA and Y-Chromosome variation in the East Asian, Siberian and some Native American populations. Other current projects are studies of genetic diversity in modern Aleuts, Indigenous Siberian Peoples,
and Neolithic populations from Lake Baikal region by this same team of scientists.
The White Pine Association is a not of profit organization who’s board of trustees are Native and Non Native residents of Haverhill NH and Newbury VT who are dedicated to helping their community with education, preservation and celebrating the uniqueness of our home.
For more information call 802-280-8070
January 27th, 2009
White Pine Association hosts Snow Snake Competitions
North Haverhill, NH- The White Pine Association, a non-profit organization will host the second annual snow snake competitions Sunday February 22 at 1 PM in the field next to the Haverhill Town Building, Main Street. The gym in the town building will be used for warm up and social gathering. The White Pine Association will host a raffle; the Koasek of the Koas Abenaki Elders Council will offer hot beverages and soups as well as a food sale. The events are free and open to the public. Fred Wiseman’s films: Against the Darkness and 1609: The Other Side of History will be shown in the gym. Other entertainment TBA.
What is snow snake? It is a very old eastern Native American sport. Teams compete to see who can throw a snow snake -- a stick carved especially for the competitions -- down the tunnel the farthest. When thrown, the stick looks like a snake in the snow.
It is said; Native Americans especially eastern tribes began playing the game more than 500 years ago. It is believed that at one time the game was used as a means of communication. Each snake has a unique appearance designed by its maker. The snow snakes are hand crafted out of hickory or ash. The Abenaki snow snake commonly ranges from 18 inches to 24 inches however; some eastern tribes use snakes that range to six foot long. Competitors have their own tricks that make the snake go faster and farther on the track. Everyone is pretty secretive about their techniques.
Traditionally, the snow snake was thrown in a motion similar to that of skipping a stone on a lake. Once your snow snake stopped it would be upended to show how far it had gone. The snow snake that had gone the furthest was the winner. Sometimes the winner would win all the other snow snakes, he would then gather up all the snow snakes, yell out and toss them all into the air. Then the other players would rush to get their snow snake, or the one they thought was the best. Today the teams play for fun or competition prizes.
The White Associations will offer first prize a $100.00 worth of groceries( donated by the Nulhegan Coosuk Abenaki Bands non-profit organization AHA and $20 cash, second prize a $50.00 gift certificate to Farmway and $20 cash, third prize $30 worth of 2009 garden seeds donated by Agway North Haverhill and $20 in cash.
“There are now many eastern tribes hosting snow snake competitions” said board of trustees of the White Pine Association. “This is our second annual game and we intend to build this competition annually.” The White Pine Association, located in Newbury, Vermont and Haverhill, New Hampshire works to promote and preserve the history, culture, health and healing of the Koasek of the Koas Meadows (the oxbows) and other Abenaki nations as well as celebrate all the heritages of the community.
The public is welcome to come to this community event free of charge. Doors to the gym will open at 11:30 A.M Feb 22, 2009.
For more information please call 802-280-8070.
Sunday, July 20th, 2008
White Pine Association Focuses On Abenaki Language Preservation
(The Recently Acquired Classroom Trailer, North Haverhill,NH)
North Haverhill, NH- The non-profit White Pine Association (WPA) for the Koasek Abenaki and in assistance to other Abenaki Bands within the Abenaki Nation’s alliance has put together an aggressive Abenaki language preservation program. The White Pine Association have been working for the past two years building a foundation to spring board what they call the phase one of a long term program into the Abenaki community in way of preservation of one of the most endangered Native American languages. WPA was able to secure a rare dictionary and a 50 cd set of the Joseph Aubrey / Joseph Laurent language. Only 200 Abenaki to English dictionaries were printed in 1884. Last year the WPA was able to secure a rare copy in mint condition. They also were able to secure a 50 cd set of the same dialect of the language in the fall of 2007. At the present time the WPA is working on a website to host the audio cd set and a PDF file of the dictionary. The Abenaki enrolled members of the three historic tribes in NH and VT will have access to the website. And for the elders and members who do not have computer access the WPA will reproduce the CD set free of charge and mail the set directly to their homes. The language phase one preservation program will be given free of charge from the WPA to enrolled Abenaki citizens within the Alliance Bands.
The long term goal of the White Pine Association is to be able to host language immersion programs. One of the problems has always been without a reservation the Abenaki have had a hard time gathering people together for such programs. For two years the White Pine Association had their eye set on possibly purchasing the old Wells River School House for a cultural center. With economy being what it is the WPA association voted to invest into the community phase one program first and put the goal of having a place on the back burner. However, thanks to the support of many and especially to Beth Mayette the WPA has purchased a large classroom trailer in North Haverhill, NH to host the programs and have an outreach office.
“We are very excited and grateful for this opportunity,” said Trustees of the White Pine Association. The board trustees members include: Nancy Millette, Peggy Fullerton, John Prescott, and Mike Fenn. All members were born and raised in the Haverhill / Newbury area. The Abenaki Alliance is made up of the Koasek, Nulhegan, Missiquoi/ Sokoki and El Nu Abenaki Nations and spans the whole state of Vermont and parts of New Hampshire. The White Pine is centered in the heart of the historical Koas Meadows of Newbury and Haverhill which was historically the home of the Mission des loups built around 1675 by Jesuit Joseph Aubrey.
Other programs the White Pine Association has sponsored in the area was Nawihla Native American Festival for the past two years. For the future the White Pine will be adding on more preservation work and projects as well as focusing on the language immersion programs. Thanks to the generosity of Beth Mayette for now the classroom trailer will stay where it is on Main Street North Haverhill. The White Pine Association is in hopes of being able to secure land where they can expand the trailer into a cultural site with living history projects and other programs within the communities of Haverhill, NH ande Newbury VT.
For more information contact Nancy Millette Executive Director at 802-280-8070.
Abenaki's Get National, Regional and Local Support
(TK; One of our Headlining Dancers;
Picture Taken at Dartmouth Pow Wow)
Haverhill, NH - The Koasek Abenaki Tribe will host the second annual Nawihla Native American Festival at the VFW Field, North Haverhill, NH on May 31 and June 1, 2008. Drum groups and dancers will be coming in to perform from all over New England with a special performance by the Iroquois Traditional Singers and Dancers from New York.
Nawihla, an Abenaki word meaning " We are returning home", is an name chosen to honor the rich Abenaki history of the Koas Meadows and the ancient Koas Mission de Loup which was built to Christianize the Abenaki of Newbury / Haverhill area in 1685." The history of the original people and the meadows has been over looked in recent years. It is an important part of the history of both the State of Vermont and the State of New Hampshire," said founder of Nawihla, Nancy Millette. " I think the public and school children should know how important the first people and that area has been to not only New England but to the founding of the United States of America."
Others have agreed and Nawihla has received financial help this year from New Hampshire Council on the Arts, the National Endowment on the Arts, Wal -Mart, Nookta Lodge and All Seasons Motel, Beckett Academy, FarmWay Bradford, Wells River Savings Bank, NuNaturals, Kevin Fagnant Builders, Fennway Builders, Mashantucket Pequot Nation Graphics Department and Schemitzun committee, the Town of Haverhill and the VFW. "This event is a major undertaking," stated Koasek Tribal Council, " However, it is a wonderful celebration of art, dancing and music and gives us great pleasure to bring to the public a taste of our history and ancient cultural identities."
Nawihla will also host an 18th century living village where the public can take a walk through yester-year and experience the life-ways of 18th century Abenaki. In the 18th century the Abenaki would trade many of their goods with ocean voyagers. Many things changed during that era and lodges were often times made from old torn ship sails made of canvas. Many of the lodges in the encampment will reflect that era as the Natives cook traditional food and demonstrate making of traditional crafts. Members of the living village will welcome questions and tell stories as visitors curiosity rises.
Special guest performance by the Aztec dancers of Mexico is scheduled for 2 PM both Sat and Sun. Special dancing and singing will take place throughout the two days with the Iroquois Traditional Singers and dancers. The public will be asked to participate!
Koasek Nawihla will be hosted May 31 and June 1 in North Haverhill, NH and Gates open at 9 AM and Grand Entry of dancers begins at noon.
For more information please see NAWIHLA page.
Wednesday, February 20th, 2008
Abenaki Snow Snake revived
The deep snow and cold temperatures didn't stop the Koasek Traditional Band of Abenaki from reviving the ancient Snow Snake games in Randolph,Vemont on February 16 th. Nancy Millette, past Chief of the Koasek Band and President of the White Pine Association of the Koasek Traditional Band of Abenaki welcomed the idea of hosting the games for the first time in hundreds of years; Roger Longtoe Sheehan of the El Nu Tribe approached her to help preserve this ancient sport.
The Snow Snake is carved from a flatten piece of wood with the front curved up some with the back of the stick being notched for an easy throw. In ancient times this game was performed after that winter hunts. The hunters from several villages would get together for competitions. After spending many hours making a snow snake everyone would hope theirs would be the one that would travel the furthest as the looser had to give over his snow snake to the winner!
A long shallow tunnel would be made in the snow for the snow snake competitions. This year there was just too much snow but after a year of preparing for this competition we weren't about to wait another year so we made a make- shift competition area in a long drive way." The snow snake competition didn't have any winner or losers this time around .Everyone just had fun and everyone went home with their own snow snake. The children had worked hard for months on their snow snakes and had a competition of their own. They proudly stood their snow snake in the side of the competition runway wherever the snake stopped hoping the next thrower would not slide past their mark. After the games everyone gathered for a pot luck feast, drumming and singing and great deal of fun.
The White Pine Association of the Koasek Traditional Band of the Abenaki Nation is dedicated to preservation of the Abenaki culture and traditions. Other projects of the White Pine Association is language preservation as well as historic preservation of the first people of Vermont. For more information contact Nancy Millette at 802-280- 8070.
Saturday, February 2nd, 2008
WPA secures Rare Laurent Dictionary
In the Last year, thanks to the many donors to the White Pine Association the organization was able to purchase a rare 1884 dictionary of the Laurent to English Dictionary in mint condition. The organization also was able to secure a rare 50 cd audio set of the Laurent language. The White Pine Association's plans are to be able to purchase a multi cd burner to reproduce the language and to distribute it to the community members free of charge. WPA are also planning to develop a website that will host the audio language in MP3 format as well as the dictionary in PDF files to make it as accessible as possible. " The Abenaki language is on the list of endangered languages." state Millette " We want to be able to give this important material back to the community it belongs to so it will be saved." White Pine has already donated full copy of the audio language to Missisquoi/ Sokoki St Francis Band to date. Millette and members of the WPA board has spent years working with other Native American communities such as Onondaga Reservation, Akwesasne and Kanatsiohareke to study how their successful language immersion programs helped to preserve the language which holds in itself the core of the cultural identity of the people to which it belongs.
For more information or if you want to make a donation towards this worthy cause, please the WPA page.
October 29th, 2006
VT Ski Hall Of Fame Inducts
Billy Kidd and Warren Witherell;
Two Native Amerians Honored
as MVP's of Skiing
(Warren Witherell (L) and Olympic skier Billy Kidd (Abenaki) at induction into the Vermont Ski Hall of Fame. Koasek Abenaki Chief Nancy Millette (L) presented Billy with an eagle feather and Olympian Suzy Chaffee a hawk fan
for doing wonders for Indian youth.)
Stowe, Vermont, Oct 28, 2006 -
A blanket of snow turned Vermont's Green Mountains white as Billy Kidd, the first American male to win an Olympic (silver) Medal in Alpine Ski Racing, was inducted into the Vermont Ski Hall of Fame at the Snowflake Lodge in his hometown of Stowe on Sunday. "Though not fully proven, it took the fearlessness of his Abenaki Indian and Pirate (Captain William Kidd) blood to break the glass ceiling," said fellow Olympian Suzy Chaffee, co-chair of Native Voices Foundation (NVF).
Governor Jim Douglas saluted the First Vermonters, the Abenakis, on their State recognition, and Billy for evolving into one of the most respected and beloved figures in the Ski World.
Earlier in the day at the VT Ski Museum, Nancy Millette, Chief of the Koasek Abenaki Nation, presented Kidd with an eagle feather, saying, "Billy is a hero and role model of the best way to restore the health and spirit of Indian youth whose Earth wisdom is critical to generations of skiers and people everywhere. And what a sense of humor!" Chief Nancy also presented Suzy with a red tail hawk fan for orchestrating this unprecedented bridge between the cultures.
Billy Kidd merited the ultimate eagle feather for these contributions
Founding in 1999, the "Ute Future Olympians" program at Steamboat (CO), where he is Director of Skiing -
(Utes then saved their Opening!)
Envisioning the Utes leading a Snowdance at Denver's SnowSports Expo (Nov), which resulted in 15 feet of early snow at Colorado ski areas that share skiing and snowboarding with the tribes.
Inspiring the SnowSports Industries of America (SIA) to donate a half million worth of ski gear
"to create a generation of Native Olympians."
For that and helping inspire 60 ski resorts to share skiing with their tribes, their Elders, in turn,
led snowdances/blessings that have saved ski areas in 10 states.
This phenomena prompted the Ski Industry to create a partnership with the tribes to help "Keep Winters Cool."
In 2005 Billy was elected Captain of the Native American Ski Team and suggested the successful launch of the Bid to create Native American Olympic Teams at the 2006 Torino Olympics.
His leadership helped inspire sustainable sponsors to back the Indian Teams: SIA ("Sustainable Slopes Program), NativeEnergy.com, BioFuels Colorado and NuStevia.
Warren Witherell-Father of US Ski Academies
Warren Witherell was another popular honoree. This World Masters Waterski Champion turned ski racer, Warren pioneered US Ski Academies starting with Burke Mountain, north of Mt Mansfield. As Burke's Headmaster his staff went on to produce 38 brilliantly educated Olympians and spread the ski, as well as snowboard academies, across America.
(VT Governor Jim Douglas celebrating Abenaki State recognition with Koasek Abenaki Nancy Millette
and Olympic skier Suzy Chaffee during Induction.
"We thank the skiers, as well as the Europeans who come to our cultural festivals for this victory," said the Chief.)
At Millette's ceremony at the Museum, Witherell announced with pride, "I am Chirakowa Apache."
As a result of a pow wow among these leaders at the Induction, US Ski Academies are considering offering Indian scholarships to enrich the experience of their students, while creating more Billy Kidds.
"Thank you Creator and the Abenaki ancestors for the SNOW," said Chaffee at the ceremony. "They must be delighted about this Abenaki progress, including their spiritual leader, Spotted Eagle, leading the invocation. And as we learned from the Western Indian Elders, whenever we thank Creator for snow, more snowblessings seem to follow."
This Who's Who of Skiing event was organized by Olympian Rosie Fortna, who founded the Abenaki Ski Program with the Olympic Cochran family and Cici Teague. Billy's coach, Bob Beattie, and hero, Jimmy Heuga, who together won the silver and bronze at the 1964 Innsbruck Olympics, were some other superstars paying homage.
NVF is a Colorado 501©3 non profit partnership of US Tribal leaders, Elders and Olympians, like Billy, whose mission is: "Through joyful unity of sport, education and health, helping heal Mother Earth for all our children." (nativevoices.org)
"Given the Global Warming Challenge, I honor the foresight of fellow Olympians for voting NVF a grant to help preserve skiing for all our children through the tribes, and Billy Kidd is the MVP," said Chaffee.
"I also salute Joe Jones of Rutland/Pico, our Abenaki coach who put five of us on the road to the Olympics; my Olympic brother Rick, a Ph.D., who influenced me as a teacher of the "Race to Save the Planet" course to corporations; and NVF Euro leader, Prince Albert (Lakota adoptee) who just led a successful expedition to the North Pole to raise awareness that Global Warming is HERE and destroying our glaciers and way of life of Alaskan Villagers."
-Suzy Chaffee-Snow Riders-
Koasek Abenaki Recieve Gift
(Sarah Calley Gifts Corn to
By Jacob L. Grant, Staff Writer
The Caledonian Record
- Wells River,VT-
They've been called the "original Vermonters."
They are a tribe that was here well before the first settlers.
And in the next few generations the last vestiges of their nation could become extinct.
There are some within the nation who have been working to preserve their ways and traditions and on Wednesday, a little more hope was granted.
At the Old School House in Wells River, the Koasek Abenaki nation accepted the return of the corn seeds of their ancestors and took another step toward acquiring the schoolhouse for their planned White Pine Cultural Center. Plans for the center - which comes under their nonprofit White Pine Association - include cultural exchange programs, historic preservation and language preservation.
"We only have a few left who can speak the original language," said Nancy Millette. "I expect it will be extinct in the next generation, maybe two, if we don't start preserving it now."
Lyons is leading the way to secure money through grants, donations and fund-raisers to buy the building from Charlie and Sarah Calley of Newbury, who said the building is being used for office space and apartments. Negotiations are taking place now, the Calleys said.
"We can't imagine better stewards for this building," said Sarah Calley during a short ceremony in front of the schoolhouse Wednesday afternoon.
The big focus of the day though was the return of the Abenaki corn seeds, which have been out of the hands of the original people for about 300 years. Though it may seem like a small gesture on behalf of the Calleys, it meant a lot to the nations citizens who gathered at the school to receive the gift.
"This is the first time in 300 years our corn has come home to us," Millette said.
As customary after receiving a gift, Millette said, the Abenaki would give a gift in return. She then presented the Calleys with an Indian sage - an item used for prayer - a small Abenaki basket and a T-shirt bearing the name of the Koasek Abenaki.
A Cherished Tradition
Centuries before the arrival of English settlers in the 1760s, the native Abenaki people grew corn on the fields of the oxbows of the Connecticut River in Newbury, Vt., and Haverhill, N.H., according to historical information gathered by Charlie and Sarah Calley. When the settlers arrived, they obtained corn seeds from the Indians and continued growing it, always saving enough seed for next year's planting.
The process of planting this corn, which only grows about waist high and produces one four-inch ear per stalk, was passed down through the generations of the settlers and eventually came to the family of the late Carroll Greene.
The Calleys met Greene in 1973. Greene, who had grown up in Newbury, grew the corn exclusively. He eventually gave the Calleys several ears of dried seed corn and asked them to keep the process going. Every spring since 1973, the Calleys said, they have planted the seed, thinning and weeding the rows and enjoying the corn, which comes early, usually in July. The Calleys said the corn withstands drought very well, thrives in a wet summer and never gets diseased.
The Koasek Abenaki plan to redistribute the seeds and start replenishing the corn. Millette said there are even a few members in their tribe interested in growing the corn themselves.
The location of the Old School House for the nation's White Pine Cultural Center is ideal because it's the location of what was, historically, the center of commerce for the Abenaki nation, according to Millette.
She said the center will have many aspects to it, not just for the preservation of Abenaki history, but also for the community.
Plans include a health and healing center that will offer licensed clinical and social workers who are schooled in alcohol, drug and HIV prevention.
There are plans for a traditional arts and crafts workshop where Abenaki citizens and others can learn traditional crafts from master craftsmen of the Abenaki Nation and elsewhere.
Programs for citizens of the Abenaki community are planned where people can share oral family history, research the Abenaki nation and genealogies and restore old ceremonies and traditions. Through the academy's Language Immersion Program, people will be able to relearn authentic Abenaki language from fluent speakers who travel in from other regions. Millette even talked about an "on property" recording studio where Abenaki, and other nations, can preserve their language and oral histories.
In line with the language preservation, there are also plans to work with various government agencies to help preserve the historically sacred sites of the Koasek Abenaki territory in New Hampshire and Vermont.
Plans for the Center also consider a community outreach program that will include a food shelf for people in crisis.
Next June, the White Pine Cultural Center will host an annual Native American festival and fund-raiser called Nawihla, which is an Abenaki word meaning, "I am returning home." Nawihla is scheduled to be held in Woodsville, N.H., and will include traditional dancing, song, arts, crafts, a living historical village and contemporary Native American performers. The event will be open to everyone.
The return of their corn and the process of preserving their tribe marks some very important steps in the history of the Abenaki since they achieved official state recognition last May. For 30 years the Abenaki have fought for a bill recognizing the tribe's existence in Vermont. They finally won state recognition in 1977, but the recognition was later rescinded.
The law makesthe nations citizens eligible for college scholarships, grants and the right to sell crafts labeled as "Native American."
May 3rd, 2006
STATE RECOGNITION ARTICLE
(AP Photo:Toby Talbot) Caption;
Governor Douglas Signs S.117; State Recognition of the Abenaki People
on the Steps of the State House.
(Photos By: Kim Hathaway Of;
Akwesasne Phoenix Sundays)
Caption;Chief Nancy Millette
Eagle Feather to
Chief April St.Francis Merrill
Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi
Governor Douglas signed into Law S.117 State Recognition of the Abenaki People at 10 at Montpelier at the Statehouse Steps officially recognizing the Abenaki as a Minority.
Caption; LtoR: Mark Mitchell,
Chief Nancy Millette,
Caption; Reading And Speech By Gov. Douglas
Caption; Drumming Celebration
April 19th, 2006
Jeff Benay, Chairman Of Native Affairs Commission
Announces that S.117 State Recognition of the Abenaki People will be signed by Governor Douglas on May 3rd, 2006 at 10 AM on the Steps of the State House.
S.117 Passes Both Houses
April 15th, 2006
Abenaki Councils in Unity move Forward
Historically the Abenaki Nation’s territory consisted of Vermont, New Hampshire, Southern Quebec, Western Maine, Eastern New York and North Western Massachusetts. With in this territory are many bands historically and many are alive and well today. In the last few months many of these councils have been meeting in Unity to plan for the future and help pave way for the generations to come. Councils and Bands have been focusing on programs to help preserve and make available to the youth and to the next generations issues that have always been on the minds of many.
Jeff Benay, Vermont’s Commissioner of Native American Affairs, Fred Wiseman historian, David Stewart Smith, Penacook and historian, Peter Newell, Intertribal Council, Roger Longtoe, El Nu Band, Howard Knight, Cowasuck, Yvon and Yannick Mercier of Sherbrooke, PQ are all pooling together the ancient history of their area and research to share and document for the future. All the bands above and several other groups are working to help Unify the bond between their band citizens as one Nation working for the better of all. Elders who are part of the Councils in Unity bring a spiritual awareness all focusing on the importance of brotherhood, responsibility, peace and ancient protocol. Fred Wiseman with the help of Jeff Benay and the Seven Fires, has recently produced a DVD Out of the Darkness which is a work in progress. With a projected finish date of 2009, it is Wiseman’s ambition to work with all the historians, re-enactors, families and leaders in Unity to complete this documentary film, which will give a good over all perception of the entire Abenaki Nation. All councils in Unity are working toward a better cultural awareness with schools to help the diversity to include the Abenaki children in all of the territory. Peter Newell, has been working with the schools in his area of New Hampshire and has put into place a program for the Abenaki students. Jeff Benay and other members of the Vermont NA Commission in years pass were able to produce a Teachers Guide to help the teachers and schools in VT. Many others citizens of the Abenaki have been making head way in the educational fields with in their area. Missisquoi in Swanton has a museum at their nation headquarters that is open to the public.