Leahy presents $ 250,000 grant to the Vermont Indigenous Heritage Center
Senator Patrick Leahy (center) and his wife, Marcelle (left) examine examples of squash and corn cultivated by the Abenkai in Vermont thousands of years ago, as Eric Bishop-von Wattenberg watches of the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at UVM. Leahy was at the Vermont Indigenous Heritage Center on Monday to announce a $ 250,000 grant. Courtesy photo
Vermont Business Magazine During a visit to the Vermont Indigenous Heritage Center on Monday, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) announced a grant of $ 250,000 to make improvements to the center’s home at Ethan Allen Homestead.
On hand for the announcement were Dr. Fred Wiseman, whose personal collection of artifacts forms the main part of the collection; Phelan Fretz, Executive Director of the Leahy ECHO Center; and Nick Warner of the Winooski Valley Park District (WVPD).
The announcement comes as Vermont celebrates its second Indigenous Peoples Day.
The event included Abenaki songs performed in the Abenaki language, as well as Abenaki prayers.
In her remarks, Leahy stressed the importance of the center for future generations. “You are not only celebrating the past, but the future,” he told the gathered crowd, saying he was eager to bring his own grandchildren to the center.
“If you don’t learn from the past, you are not prepared for the future,” he added. “I am proud of the work you do.
Funding from the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission (GLFC) will be used to expand exhibit space inside the building and install museum-quality display cases for the exhibits. There will also be a community space.
The center is a place where the Abenaki can practice their traditions and celebrate their culture. In collaboration with WVPD, Alnobaiwi, a non-profit group dedicated to the preservation of Abenaki culture, has a garden with plants cultivated by the Abenaki people, a foyer, a space for music and dance and an artisanal tent at the closed.
“I welcome you all to a fresh start,” said Wiseman. “Today we have a safe place here. . . be indigenous.
Wiseman exhibited a new wampum belt created for the event, explaining its symbolism. An onion represents the WVPD, like the Winooski is the Onion River. A hut depicted on the belt represents the farm and a campfire represents the community gathering. The bangs at each end of the waistband represent the floor.
The center displays “authentic and legitimate Abenaki culture,” with artifacts of known provenance, Wiseman said.
As Leahy noted in her remarks, in the past there have been efforts to deliberately erase this culture.
“Our artwork, our pearls, our canoes are as good and as well researched as anyone,” Wiseman said.
Events celebrating Aboriginal culture often seem to happen in the fall when “when we have a lot of squash,” Wiseman said. “We have developed a concept of squash diplomacy.
With squash diplomacy, visitors leave with a squash
Patrick and Marcelle Leahy indeed left with a squash, after discussing the site’s gardens with Holly LaFrance, who takes care of the site’s native gardens. LaFrance showed the many varieties of squash cultivated by the Abenaki people, as well as the ground cherries, which are not fruits, but a relative of the tomatillo.
“It was important for many of us to reconnect with the foods our ancestors ate,” Joanne Crawford told the Leahys. She noted that chronic illnesses, which are often related to food, are more common in the Abenaki community.
Eric Bishop-von Wettberg, of the UVM’s Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, said the wild rice grown in rivers by the Abenaki might be better at removing phosphorus from streams than plants we do. currently have. Studying Abenaki food systems can help make today’s food systems more sustainable, he suggested, telling Leahy, “We have to understand where we were to understand where we are going.
The Leahys also witnessed a demonstration of the use of flint to light fires, Abenaki carving and moccasin making.
Speaking about the grant, Leahy, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, said, “I included these funds in last year’s spending bill and, man, I’m glad I did. .
PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of Senator Patrick Leahy’s office or courtesy photo.
0079 A member of the Abenaki community shows Senator Patrick Leahy and his wife, Marcelle, how the Abenaki people used flint to light fires during a visit to the Vermont Indigenous Heritage Center on Monday. Leahy secured a $ 250,000 grant for the center through the Great Lakes Fishery Commission.
0012 Dr. Fred Wiseman (left) gives Senator Patrick Leahy a tour of the Vermont Indigenous Heritage Center. Wiseman donated his personal collection of Abenaki artifacts to the center. Leahy was awarded a grant of $ 250,000 for improvements to the center, including museum-quality display cases for the exhibits.
Source: (MONDAY October 11, 2021) – Leahy