#3: Going Into Depth

It is little known that the Abenaki peoples of Vermont have been fighting for many years to achieve their recognition as a native group. In 2006, the scales finally started to tip their way, after Bill S.117 was passed as a law. It acknowledged the Abenaki peoples as a minority group, giving them the ability to market the crafts that they produce as Abenaki, and entitling them to apply for grants for education and housing that are set aside for minorities. No matter how much this sounded like victory for the Abenaki, the bill had a catch: It only has, regarding who is to be considered Abenaki and who is not, an incomplete definition. Another victory for them was in 2011 and 2012, when Vermont formally acknowledged many of the Abenaki bands and tribes, giving them the next level of recognition that a native group is able to achieve.

Even though the Abenaki achieved a great victory in finally having achieved the long wanted statewide recognition many people still have ignorance about the native peoples. Abenaki leaders are more than glad for the recognition, but still think there can be some change in the future. Many people still have the incorrect assumption that all of the native peoples are like the stereotypical movie native, with darker colored skin and dark brown to black hair. This assumption causes many people to keep this stereotype, and to pass it on. Some of the Abenaki leaders think that a way that this stereotype could be decreased is by more education of Abenaki culture in schools. A problem about this idea is that  the Vermont Agency for Curriculum does not mandate the teaching about Abenaki culture. Instead they just leave it to the school district about whether they want to teach a unit about the Abenaki; if they choose to do so, when; and how they want to teach about the Abenaki peoples’ culture.

Works Cited
Evancie, Angela. “What Is The Status Of The Abenaki Native Americans In Vermont Today?” Vermont Public Radio. N.p., n.d. Web.
“State Recognized Tribes.” State Recognized Tribes | Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs. N.p., n.d. Web.
“Vermont Finally Recognizes the Abenaki.” Cultural Survival. N.p., n.d. Web.
Image Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Flag_of_Western_Abenaki.svg
Theo Ellis Novotny

2 Responses to “#3: Going Into Depth

  • This is really interesting post. I am not too familiar with the Abenaki so I am learning from your posts. I did, however, recently attend a conference where I heard an Abenaki woman speak about a little about her work in the education field. Her name is Melody Walker Brook and she might be someone worth connecting with as you move forward in your research.

    I really like the featured image. Is it the Abenaki flag?

    Erik

  • Your post made we wonder what do they do now? The Abenaki are the original Vermonters. Why haven’t I heard of this story? Why is it in the dark for, I’m assuming, most Vermonters? I think I could definitely benefit from a unit on the Abenaki.

    Thanks for a post that made we wonder,
    Elsa

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