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New Perspectives on Vermont’s Native Americans

November is National American Indian Heritage Month, and Vermont’s Governor Douglas recently proclaimed November as Native American Heritage Month in Vermont. Learn more about the history and culture of indigenous peoples in the Northeast–including some new and challenging perspectives–from these books and videos produced by an Abenaki historian and anthropology professor, an Abenaki filmmaker, and a collaborative group of professional scientists, tribal representatives and amateur researchers.

baseline 1609

Baseline 1609: Unexpected Elegance of the Indigenous Northeast

“A comprehensive review of the unexpectedly elegant culture of the people who greeted Champlain and other explorers along the St. Lawrence River. The early seventeenth century Wabanakis and their neighbors were socially and technologically sophisticated communities bound together, both politically and economically, by a great alliance with their neighbors. Heretofore unpublished graphics and artifacts complement the text.” –-Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.

Reclaiming the ancestors

Reclaiming the Ancestors: Decolonizing a Taken Prehistory of the Far Northeast

“Reclaiming the Ancestors sets the record straight about the early history of the Wabanaki – the Abenaki, Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Malecite, and Mi’kmaq. Wiseman proposes a sovereigntist approach to understanding the current archaeological understanding of Abenaki prehistory. He begins with an overview of the conflicting views of First Nations and archaeologists regarding Indigenous history and how he developed his research design model. Over the next 10 chapters the book explores and discusses the periods of Wabanaki prehistory. The final chapter takes the history to the beginning of the early contact period. The author makes he point that documentation of Wabanaki territory is of vital importance in today’s political climate of Vermont. The Wabanaki face major obstacles as politicians utilize archaeological evidence against the Wabanaki’s push for self-governance and recognition. The book contains limited black and white photographs of artifacts because the author made a conscious choice to respect items that were from grave sites. A fascinating history that dispels many previously-held academic viewpoints of the Wabanaki First Nations.” — Publisher’s web site.

Voice of the dawn

The Voice of the Dawn: An Autohistory of the Abenaki Nation

“Wiseman’s book offers the reader a well-told story of natural and human history but it is his discussion of the connection of all this history to commonplace aspects of modern life that is particularly compelling. Wiseman confronts the reader with the connections among history, land, and the conditions of modern Abenaki communities, and challenges the reader to think about these connections . . . Wiseman’s The Voice of the Dawn is essential reading for a student of regional history or archaelogy and is likely to challenge its readers’ way of thinking.”–Historical New Hampshire

Waban-aki [videorecording]: People from Where the Sun Rises

“Continuing to take the pulse of First Peoples in Canada, Obomsawin takes us home-to her Abenaki community of Odanak, Quebec. She skilfully weaves the richly textured history of her formerly prosperous basket and canoe making community with an exploration of contemporary Aboriginal identity and official ‘status’.” — IMDb

before the lake

Before the Lake Was Champlain [videorecording]: An Untold Story of Ice Age America

“Stories about ‘Lost Races’ are usually labeled and then dismissed as “Fantastic Archeology” but a surprising new discovery along a high beach terrace of the ancient Champlain Sea has introduced an unknown chapter in the history of Ice Age America. It suggests that an early and sophisticated Native culture once existed in the Northeast that researchers are just beginning to recognize. The lives that these ancient peoples lived were far different from the anthropological models that scientists developed for the Paleo-Indian and the implications of the new discoveries reach through the entire history of Eastern Native civilization to our own time. This program chronicles the long and careful process that has unfolded one of the great archeological mysteries of North America.” — Hidden Landscapes

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