The Abenaki Arts & Education Center (AAEC) was founded by Vera Longtoe Sheehan in 2017 but its roots are much older. With more than 25 years as an Educator, Longtoe Sheehan knew Abenaki history and living culture is not widely taught in schools. In 2011 and 2012, the recognition of four Abenaki Tribes was codified into law by the State of Vermont. Vera became Director for the intertribal Vermont Abenaki Artists Association (VAAA), and she immediately began the “Arts & Education” initiative which quickly outgrew VAAA’s mission.
In Graduate school she studied the problem of Abenaki Erasure from history. The solution she envisioned was a placed-based cultural center of the future filled with FREE digital resources available 24/7/365.
As her capstone project for her Masters Degree, Sheehan worked with the Abenaki community and a team of advisors to develop the Abenaki Arts & Education Center (2018) using a combination of Decolonization theory, Indigenous Research, and Online Instructional Design Methodologies.
Today, the Abenaki Arts & Education Center continues to grow as more resources are developed, submitted, reviewed, and added regularly.
AAEC offers a variety of virtual and live engagements for classrooms, as well as programs in cultural competency, land acknowledgement, and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) for schools, educators, nonprofits, and corporate lunches and events.
In 2017 the Abenaki Arts & Education Center was conceptualized as an digital education center with a dream to make Abenaki curriculum, resources, and programs available to everyone. Virtual Programs for all ages (upon request)
Since that time we have celebrated many accomplishments, a few of which are outlined below:
Presenting Abenaki Culture in the Classroom (PAC Teacher Training) – During the Summer of 2017 our Team embarked on a formal journey to educate teachers. PAC began as a one day teacher training, at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, with funding from the Vermont Humanities Council and developed into a three month immersion into Abenaki culture. The course is now offered through a partnership with Castleton University. Details and registration here.
Curriculum – Since 2017, AAEC has developed many curriculum materials that are ready to plug and play in your classroom.
Coloring Sheets and activity sheets for early childhood education have been developed by Abenaki artists and educators. Appropriate for various age groups and learning styles.
YouTube Channel – The Abenaki Arts & Education YouTube channel is becoming the hub for digital assets created through partnerships between the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association, and the Abenaki Arts & Education Center (AAEC). Launched on April 21, 2021.
Facebook – We launched the Abenaki Arts & Education Facebook page on March 31, 2021.
AAEC Moodle (Online Learning Management System) for teaching online courses launched in 2019 and we welcomed our first online class in September 2020. You must be a registered student to access this content.