About Us

How we began

The Abenaki Arts & Education is an initiative of the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association (VAAA) that began because most of the scholarship that has been written about the Abenaki culture is out-of-date. Many of these publications were written before four Abenaki tribes did extensive research and petitioned the state of Vermont for Recognition*. Since this new data became available, VAAA thought it was important to share this new scholarship with the public. Additionally, VAAA’s Director Vera Longtoe Sheehan conducted a study among Vermont’s teachers who self-admittedly acknowledged their lack of knowledge about the Abenaki tribe and their desire for vetted materials about the Abenaki people.

Abenaki Arts & Education Center was created to fill that need. The content on this website was vetted by a group of Abenaki educators, scholars, and culture bearers who feel that these are excellent resources. However, please be advised that anything that was created before 2013 is likely an incomplete record.

The site was developed as an Open Education Resource (OER) as a capstone project for Vera Longtoe Sheehan’s Masters degree in Heritage Preservation. She developed the website by Vera Longtoe Sheeha with the assistance of community Advisory Panel.

Abenaki culture bearer, master artist, educator, and activist Vera Longtoe is the Director of the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association (VAAA), and works at the National Museum of the American Indian.  Sheehan is an MA candidate at SUNY: Empire College where she is majoring in Heritage Preservation and has also received an Advanced Certificate in Public History.

*The word recognition is capitalized because it is being used as a proper noun in keeping with literature from the field of Native American Studies which acknowledges and respects tribal sovereignty.