"When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money."
-Alanis Obomsawin b.1932
Award-winning Abenaki American Canadian filmmaker, singer, artist, and activist primarily known for her documentary films
As October comes to an end, WeCAN friends, we would like to bring your attention to two events beyond Windham County that aim to amplify Native American and Indigenous voices here in (what we now call) New England and abroad in (what is now known as) Canada.
The first event, Dawnland Storyfest 2021, is New Hampshire’s annual Native American Storytelling Festival that features 45-minute storytelling performances focusing on sharing traditional Native American lesson stories. This year's festival is happening exclusively online. The second event is the 2021 Native Cinema Showcase. Hosted by The National Museum of the American Indian/Smithsonian, the Native Cinema Showcase is an annual celebration of the best in Native film and is also available online. This year's showcase focuses on Native people boldly asserting themselves through language, healing, building community, and a continued relationship with the land. We hope you will enjoy these programs and bring these viewing experiences into your activism work here in Windham County. We look forward to seeing you at an event soon!
Dawnland Storyfest 2021
hosted by Strawbery Banke Museum, Portsmouth, NH
Saturday, November 13th, 2021, Online. 10am-6pm.
The festival is free to attend, with a $10 suggested donation. Preregistration is required via StrawberyBanke.org/events/dawnland-storyfest.cfm. For more information, storyteller bios, and to preregister, visit StrawberyBanke.org and https://www.strawberybanke.org/dawnland.cfm.
Strawbery Banke will virtually host Dawnland StoryFest 2021, New Hampshire’s annual Native American Storytelling Festival, in connection with the Museum’s permanent “People of the Dawnland” exhibit.
The daylong festival invites attendees to hear traditional Indigenous storytellers from New England and Canada.
This year’s virtual festival is dedicated to the memory of the life and work of Wolf Song, a well-respected and much loved Vermont Abenaki traditional storyteller who influenced several of the participating storytellers.
The festival features 45-minute storytelling performances focusing on sharing traditional Native American lesson stories. Designed to be both entertaining and educational, each story has a compelling narrative, but also some subtle—and overt—life lessons. Storytelling sessions occur in blocks, which allow participants to hear from each storyteller.
Participating traditional storytellers include: Louise Profeit-LeBlanc (Tse Duna - “The Beaver Woman”), Na-Cho Nyak Dun First Nation; Anne Jennison, Abenaki; Darlene Kascak, Schaghticoke Tribal Nation; HearsCrow (Nootauau Kaukontuoh - “She Hears the Crow”), Narragansett; Deborah Spears Moorehead (KutooSeepoo - “Talking Water”), Seaconke Pokanoket Wampanoag; Jonathan Cummings.
Additionally, attendees hear a keynote address by Louise Profeit-LeBlanc, the co-founder of the Yukon International Storytelling Festival. Participants are invited to engage in breakout room conversations, Q&A with the storytellers, and a “Swapping Grounds” story-sharing session facilitated by Jonathan Cummings when audience members are invited to share traditional Native American lesson stories.
2021 Native Cinema Showcase
hosted by the National Museum of the American Indian/Smithsonian
Friday, November 12th, 2021-Thursday, November 18th, 2021, Online.
Available on demand November 12th-18th, 2021: https://nmai.brand.live/c/native-cinema-showcase
The National Museum of the American Indian's Native Cinema Showcase is an annual celebration of the best in Native film. This year focuses on Native people boldly asserting themselves through language, healing, building community, and a continued relationship with the land. Activism lies at the heart of all these stories. The showcase provides a unique forum for engagement with Native filmmakers from Indigenous communities throughout the Western Hemisphere and Arctic.
All films and filmmaker panels are available on demand; please check individual listings for dates and times of availability. Short-format films are grouped into programs. Closed captioning is available for some films; please check individual listings for availability.
All films are available on demand; please check individual listings for geo-blocking restrictions.
“It’s absolutely inhumane to ask anyone to sleep in the woods or on the street in the Summer. That’s multiplied by 1,000 in the Winter….Having an address meant (I) was able to see a doctor, get the eyeglasses (I) needed, and seek treatment for post-traumatic stress. I felt respected as a human being. Along with Brenda and anyone else ... I will stay here until the governor takes action. This is not some fun thing to do.”
Josh Lisenby of Vergennes, who was exited from VT’s General Assistance Emergency Housing Program program in July, 2021*
We start out this week, WeCAN friends, with a Call to Action from our very own member, Brenda Siegel. Brenda is currently sleeping on our VT Statehouse steps every night until Governor Phil Scott confirms that his administration will continue the General Assistance Emergency Housing Program that supports our unhomed neighbors across our state in various motels. Take a look below to see how you can make a difference right now in Windham County and beyond.
Call to Action: Extend the General Assistance Emergency Housing Program
Now's the time to act to push Governor Phil Scott to fully reinstate and extend the General Assistance Emergency Housing Program to ensure our neighbors remain safely housed this winter. Advocates including RAD member leader Brenda Siegel for Vermont and Josh Lisenby are staying on the State House steps to demand real action. The group is demanding that the expanded eligibility applied during the COVID pandemic, which was set to expire Oct. 21, be extended until the end of the year, and that the state accept federal funds intended for that purpose. The advocates are asking that persons who lost program eligibility over the summer have it restored, that an 84-day limit they described as “arbitrary” be scrapped, and that the practice of offering participants $2,500 to leave the program — which Siegel characterized as “a bribe”* — also make clear that participants have the right to decline the funds and retain their eligibility.
Join if you can, offer supplies if you can't, and call the Governor today at 802 828 3333!
Email [email protected] to find out what is needed or go to https://www.giveinkind.com/.../camp-in-for-homelessness-1 to support in any way that you can.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 17th, 2021
Brattleboro Families Rise Up Meet-up
a project of 350VT
Sunday, October 17th, 2021, at Wild Carrot Farm (511 Upper Dummerston Rd, Brattleboro, VT 05301). 10am-12pm.
Questions? Contact [email protected]
* Snacks and childcare support provided
* Masks recommended when not eating or distancing
Join us for another in-person, outdoor meet-up! This month, we'll be meeting at Wild Carrot Farm and joined by farmers Caitlin, Jesse, and their awesome kids.
We'll share gratitudes, do a somatic grounding exercise, talk about parenting amidst the climate crisis and the COVID pandemic, learn about ways to take action with 350VT's Just Transition campaign, and end with a song.
This is a project of 350 Vermont bringing together families to talk about the tough realities of climate change and to participate in the transition to a healthier and safer world. What Joanna Macy calls the “Great Turning,” or the third revolution, is this unprecedented time where we are called to stop the destruction of our world, to build new life-sustaining practices and ways of being, and to shift our collective consciousness. We especially wish to engage young parents in this vital discussion of how we can make positive changes to protect our planet for our children's future.
Author Discussion: Imbolo Mbue on “How Beautiful We Were”
hosted by Windham County World Affairs Council and the Brattleboro Literary Festival
Sunday, October 17th, 2021, Online. 4pm.
Register for the event here: https://us02web.zoom.us/.../481.../WN_4ub2kj_VRQeAs-0XTMecmA
Please join WWAC as we team up with Brattleboro Literary Festival to host author Imbolo Mbue discussing her work of fiction, "How Beautiful We Were."
Imbolo Mbue’s powerful second novel, How Beautiful We Were is set in the fictional African village of Kosawa and tells of a people living in fear amid environmental degradation wrought by an American oil company. Pipeline spills have rendered farmlands infertile. Children are dying from drinking toxic water. Promises of cleanup and financial reparations to the villagers are made—and ignored. The country’s government, led by a brazen dictator, exists to serve its own interests. Left with few choices, the people of Kosawa decide to fight back. Their struggle will last for decades and come at a steep price.
Mbue will be in conversation with our own Clare Gillis who is the Chair for Windham World Affairs Council Board of Trustees, an international correspondent, and professor at Landmark College.
And check out more Brattleboro Literary Festival events here: https://emamo.com/event/brattleboro-literary-festival
“It’s always been an affront to me that we would celebrate someone who had committed such atrocities as Columbus did. And so by having an Indigenous Peoples’ Day, perhaps the whole truth would come out, perhaps the whole history could be taught.”
Beverly Little Thunder
Huntington, VT resident and an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Lakota Band, in North Dakota
This Monday, October 11th, 2021, Vermont will again formally recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Earlier this month, President Biden became the first president in history to formally recognize the day with a presidential proclamation...a small step in the right direction as we aim to center Indigenous People throughout the land now known as the United States and North America. Recognition honors Indigenous Peoples' continued presence and contributions to our shared society, as well as attempts to reconcile a history of injustices such as mass genocide, forced removal from land, forced sterilization of women, forced assimilation and murder of Native American children, and subsequent income, health, and education disparities (which we, at WeCAN, acknowledge can never truly be reconciled).
The Wabanaki are named for the area in which they lived and continue to live called Wabanahkik or “Dawnland” in the traditional language, Algonquian. This region stretches from what is now called Newfoundland, Canada down to what is now called Massachusetts, US and was home to the first peoples of this territory—Wabanaki or People of the Dawn—which include Mi’kmaq, Wolastoqiyik, Abenaki, Penobscot and Passamaquoddy tribes.
We encourage you to attend one of the Indigenous Day events listed below, if you are able, and to take some time to visit the resources we have provided. These resources will hopefully give you a much clearer picture of what present day life is like for the Wabanaki in what we now call Vermont as well as the history of this area's earliest inhabitants long before European settlers invaded. Happy learning, friends!
Podcasts to Check Out
-Anthropology Meets Oral History and Intersects With Living Abenaki Culture
In this episode, Moccasin Tracks talks with Anthropology Professor Robert Goodby who is publishing a new book with the help of The Harris Center and Cheshire County Historical Society in New Hampshire. His students from Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, NH. have been part of his historical digs and findings.
You can find the podcast HERE.
-Indigenous Food Sovereignty in Vermont: A Podcast from Root Words and Vermont Farmers Food Center
Vermont officially recognizes four Abenaki tribes today: the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk-Abenaki, the Elnu Abenaki, the Abenaki Nation at Missisquoi, and the Koasek Traditional Band of the Koas Abenaki Nation. Up until industrialization, and throughout much of the world today, a community’s access to food is tightly woven in with that community’s access to land.
On this episode of Root Words, we talk with Chef Jessee Lawyer, Professor Fred Wiseman, and Chief Don Stevens. And we’ll hear little about the Abenaki community’s connection to this land, game animals, and traditional food ways, and we’ll hear how these living traditions have continued to evolve and grow through contemporary times.
This episode was produced by Stephen Abatiell. Special thanks to Jessee Lawyer, Professor Fred Wiseman, and Chief Don Stevens.
Root Words is produced in the heart of Rutland County Vermont and is made possible by generous support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. You can support Root Words by visiting us online.
You can find the podcast HERE.
Continuing Your Education
-The Abenaki Experience Speaker Series at Morrill Homestead
On Sunday afternoons during September 2021, the Friends of the [Justin] Morrill Homestead in Strafford, VT hosted “The Abenaki Experience: Prehistory to Present,” a speakers’ series designed to foster an understanding of the long and complicated history of the indigenous people of this area.
The series looked not only at the conflict and misunderstandings of the past but also the vibrancy of the Abenaki community today. Discussions include “Archaeological History of the CT River Valley” with Vermont State Archeologist Jess Robinson, “The Vermont Abenakis: Unwriting History” with Professor Fred Wiseman, and “We Are Still Here” with Joseph and Jesse Bruchac of the Nulhegan Abenaki Nation… and “Our Stories Remember”- Abenaki musicians and storytellers sharing traditional stories for the whole family.
All of the presentations were recorded and are archived on YouTube, linked individually on this website.
Links may also be found in the top option menu on the Friends of the Morrill Homestead website.
For more information, please go to:
Elnu Abenaki Community Initiative:
The Wabanaki Collection:
Native Land Interactive Maps:
The VT Indigenous Heritage Center:
VPR on Indigenous Peoples’ Day in 2019
“I know that no matter what happens in Washington, we have to be prepared here in Vermont to do our part to protect our reproductive liberty for all Vermonters.”
Lt. Governor Molly Gray, D-Vermont
In reference to advocating for Proposal 5 (which would enshrine the right to choose an abortion in Vermont) to be added to the VT Constitution, at the Women’s March in Montpelier
Saturday, October 2nd, 2021
This week's email is chock full of ways to positively impact your community, Friends. From Silent Vigils and Democracy Forums to NAMI mental health assistance programs and an Empty Bowls Dinner, there is truly something for everyone this week. We look forward to seeing you at a meeting or event this October. Have a great week!
National Volunteering Opportunity
From the Indivisible Truth Brigade:
Propaganda, false characterizations, intentionally misleading messages, and outright lies threaten our democracy and even our lives. We can effectively combat disinformation, despite the well-funded machines that drive it. They may have money, but we have truth and we have people. People believe sources they trust. When we share and amplify unified, factual messages to those who trust us, we shift the narrative. When we do this by the thousands--we’re part of the Indivisible Truth Brigade, and we get our country back. Join us.
For more information and to sign up, please go to https://act.indivisible.org/signup/indivisible-truth-brigade.