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Voices of Odanak First Nation

We declare that the W8banaki Nation doesn’t recognize any of the “Abenaki” groups in Vermont and New Hampshire.

Odanak Band Resolution,  April 1, 2019

In 2003 and again in 2019, the Odanak Band Council passed resolutions denouncing the Vermont State Recognized Tribes.

The Conseil des Abénakis d’Odanak wishes to denounce these groups and encourage the various government authorities and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)… to exercise more historical rigor before undertaking projects with them.

Odanak Band Resolution (2019)
Read more from the 2003 Resolution

Find the full text here

While we recognize that the band councils of Odanak and Wolinak issued resolutions in 1976 and 1977 recognizing the St-Francis/Sokoki Band of Abenakis as a group of Abenakis living in the United States, we also recognize that these resolutions were not based on any genealogical or historical evidence linking these “St-Francis/Sokoki” to our Abenaki and Sokoki ancestors

We also recognize that the number of organizations claiming to be Abenaki in the United States and in Canada has increased greatly since that time, again without genealogical and historical evidence presented to this council. Therefore, we resolve that the Counseil de Bande d’Odanak does not recognize at this time any organizations claiming to be the Abenaki First Nations in the United States or Canada, with the exception of our brothers and sisters at Wolinak and Penobscot. We, of course, also recognize our fellow Wabanaki First Nation – the Passamaquoddy, Malecite and Mi’kmaq.

Read more from the 2019 Resolution

Find the full text here

IL EST ATTENDU QUE que des groupes au Québec, au Vermont et au New Hampshire se clament d’appartenir à la Nation Abénakise ou être des descendants ou être d’origine mixte (métis) sans qu’aucun lien entre les descendants des bandes d’Odanak et de Wôlinak ne puissent être établis;

WHEREAS groups in Quebec, Vermont, and New Hampshire claim to belong to the Abenaki Nation or to be descendants or to be of mixed origin (Métis) without any link between the descendants of the Odanak and Wôlinak bands being able to be established.

ET RÉSOLU QUE le Conseil des Abénakis d’Odanak désire dénoncer ces groupes et incite les différentes autorités gouvernementales, Organisations Non-Gouvernementales (ONG) tel que Commissions Régionales sous l’APNQL, promoteurs privés et institutions scolaires autant québécoises, canadiennes qu’américaines à faire preuve de davantage de rigueur historique et avant d’entreprendre des projets avec ceux-ci.

AND RESOLVED THAT the Conseil des Abénakis d’Odanak wishes to denounce these groups and encourage the various government authorities and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), such as Regional Commissions under the AFNQL, private developers and educational institutions in Quebec, Canada and the United States, to exercise more historical rigor before undertaking projects with them.

In 2022, representatives from Odanak’s Band Council finally had the opportunity to speak publicly in Vermont.

Despite efforts by the Vermont State Recognized Tribes to try to stop the event (including petitioning the UVM administration and sending letters to Vermont’s legislators), members of the Abenaki First Nation from Odanak were able to tell their story, explain their documented history on this land, and show how their culture is being appropriated.

Odanak First Nation’s Mali Obomsawin tells Indigenous stories through music on Vermont Public.

There has been a rising movement of race-shifting or pretendians: groups of white people that may have a native ancestor from long ago deciding to form communities around this hobby.

Mali Obomsawin
Listen to the Statement Here

Citizens of Odanak spoke at the February 8th, 2023 meeting of the Vermont Council of Native American Affairs (VNCAA).

We do not recognize the groups who claim to be Abenaki in Vermont or New Hampshire. We have asked them to validate their Abenaki claims, and show us how we are related, and they have not. Nor did the State ask them to provide historical or genealogical evidence as part of the state recognition process.

Odanak was shut out of these processes, and we have watched these groups appropriate our traditions and bring shame to the Abenaki people. We would like to remind Vermonters that, by the will of our Councils and citizens, the Abenaki First Nation has actively opposed these groups since 2003. We maintain this stance today.

Isaak Gill, Abenaki First Nation at Odanak
Read the full text here

My name is Isaak Lachapelle Gill, I am Abenaki from Odanak First Nation, formerly called St. Francis. I am here with my father, representing the true Indigenous people of Vermont. I am a direct descendant of Chief GreyLock “Wawanoloath” of this region.

We are honored to be in our homeland today. We, the Abenaki of Odanak and Wolinak, have always defended this land where our relatives have lived, worked, and traveled since time immemorial. Our predecessors, the Abenakis and Sokokis, consolidated at Odanak and Wolinak between 1660 and 1800, but we never severed our relationship with the lands we come from in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and parts of the surrounding states.

Our community has lived the challenges of being Native, but we were never targeted by the Vermont Eugenics Survey. We have been visible in our territory and active in Vermont society. We have not hidden, and you can find mention of us in Vermont’s newspapers, public documents, and histories throughout the last several centuries.

We do not recognize the groups who claim to be Abenaki in Vermont or New Hampshire. We have asked them to validate their Abenaki claims, and show us how we are related, and they have not. Nor did the State ask them to provide historical or genealogical evidence as part of the state recognition process.

We understand that the VCNAA was created and staffed with members from these groups to ensure that the self-proclaimed “Abenakis” received state recognition. Odanak was shut out of these processes, and we have watched these groups appropriate our traditions and bring shame to the Abenaki people. We would like to remind Vermonters that, by the will of our Councils and citizens, the Abenaki First Nation has actively opposed these groups since 2003. We maintain this stance today.

All my relations.

In 2003, Odanak Chief Gilles O’Bomsawin asked the prominent “Abenaki” author Joseph Bruchac and his sister, University of Pennsylvania Professor of Native American Studies, Marge Bruchac, for their genealogies.

Three years later the siblings responded.

They continued to claim to be “Abenaki” without confirming a familial link to any members of the Abenaki First Nation at Odanak or any other Native American nation.

Read the full letters