Emotional ceremony recognizes 2 bands of Abenaki - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Emotional ceremony recognizes 2 bands of Abenaki

Montpelier, Vermont - April 22, 2011

An emotional bill signing Friday at the Vt. Statehouse. Gov. Peter Shumlin signed a law giving state recognition to two bands of Abenakis. The ceremony was met with tears, thanks and song.

"The signing of two pieces of legislation by our governor essentially washes away that very bad history and recognizes the culture that has been with us long before the European settlers moved to a place we call Vermont," said Sen. Vince Illuzzi, R-Essex-Orleans Counties.

"The education you are going to give to your kids, the education you are going to give to us and the ritual and the deep understanding of the earth and love you have brought us is fantastic," said Sen. Hinda Miller, D-Chittenden County.

"And I would like to say to other tribes we are not done and we will see you right here soon enough. No Abenaki left behind. Remember those who came before us, remember their lives, remember their words and look down upon us and cheer... We did... We did..." said Luke Willard of the Vt. Commission on Native American Affairs.

The state recognition will allow the bands to sell Native American arts and crafts, and children can apply for certain college scholarships. The state recognition is not a precursor to federal recognition and it forbids the bands from opening casinos or making land claims.

Some in the Abenaki community question the process and legitimacy of the tribes.

Anson Tebbetts - WCAX News

Related Story:

2 Abenaki bands ready for state recognition

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