Honoring Indigenous People

Dawnland is a documentary done in and about Maine and its Indigenous Peoples and the work of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission established by the Chiefs of the Wabanaki Confederacy and the State of Maine. There are three opportunities to view it with a Question and Answer session afterward:  Jan. 28th, Feb 2nd & Feb 25th.  You must pre-register. Admission is by donation.  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dawnland-online-film-screening-live-qa-tickets-135708530869?aff=erelpanelorg.

Abenaki Chief Don Stevens will be our guest worship speaker on Feb 28 in a service led by Liam Greenwood who co-leads the Native Moons Group.

Monday Oct 12 was the 2nd year that Indigenous Peoples Day was an official VT state holiday, replacing Columbus Day. What a great opportunity to create some family traditions for honoring the original people of these hills and valleys, and other Indigenous Peoples around the world. Traditions we instill in our kids around this new official holiday, will carry over to future generations! We hope you’ll find at least one to do, maybe more.  They tie into our UU values of valuing the inherent worth and dignity of each person, and searching for the truth, and working toward a more just world. Here are a few things you might do in the coming weeks to mark this holiday. These things are great to do any time of year. From Montpelier’s Dir. of Religious Exploration Liza Earle Centers

  1. Watch the Abenaki Creation Story. It is powerful to hear the Abenaki language spoken.
  1. Keep the Abenaki language alive! Abenaki leaders are trying to teach more and more people the language.
  1. Clean up our own way of speaking, to make sure we’re not spreading myths about Indigenous People or using hurtful phrases or microaggressions.  Learn which every day phrases to leave out of our speaking here.  (For some Abenaki, the  phrase “Native Vermonter” can be hard to hear said by a non-Abenaki. It’s easy to just say “born in Vermont” instead.)
  1. 4. Learn more and support indigenous authors.📖Consider buying or borrowing books by indigenous authors: some picture books or some for youth/young adults
  1. 5🍃A land project:Abenaki have always been and continue to be stewards of the land.  Spend some time in nature, connecting with the Earth.  You think of a project you could do to care for the land the way it cares for us–plant a tree or bush, pick-up trash, get a bird feeder for the long winter ahead.
  1. 6. Feast with some of these traditional Abenaki foods. 🌽🍓You might want to include several of these in a meal: squash, corn, beans, pumpkin seeds, popcorn, berries, sunflower oil, fish or a dessert with maple syrup!  Here’s an article about a local Abenaki chef.
  1. 7🎶Celebrate: Some good news: just in the last month, a bill passed the VT State legislature that place name signs within VT State Parks will include the Abenaki name for a place along with the English name (if the Abenaki place name is known).

CVUUS Library Remotely browse our shelves and reserve books via https://www.cvuus.org/learning/library/ We’re happy to locate books for you and arrange for drop-off or pick-up. Contact office@cvuus.org or awolfson@middlebury.edu for arrangements. Peruse our reading list: https://www.cvuus.org/learning/library/reading-lists-2/native-american-perspectives/

Native Moons and Natural Mindfulness Group: This new small group ministry led by Liam and Mike Greenwood aims at celebrating the Abenaki and Iroquois lunar cycle. We are an informal group reading chapters of Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer and holding discussions and sharing our writing on Zoom.  We are also offering some outdoor activities and then we have a chat about the chapter afterward.  This group is open to anyone, and you are free to drop in. Please email liambattjes@gmail.com if you are going to join us for a Zoom or an in person event so that if weather changes or something becomes uncertain, he will know who to contact.

Three Sisters Online Worship Service, Sun. Sept. 27, 10 AM featuring MUHS Grace Vining who, along with a Burlington student Theo Ellis Novtny, won an award for young film makers for this short film on need for teaching Abenaki culture. This was led by Native Moons’ Liam Greenwood. You can watch the whole service here and Grace and Theo’s documentary here: https://youtu.be/WyDVh9RSgJ8. 

Harvest Moon, Tues Sept 1, The garden party started at Mike and Liam’s home at 5:30 PM and the zoom call/conversation started at 7 PM. Up to 12 people brought something they made or grew to celebrate the harvest. We played conversational croquet (set up like mini-golf with discussion questions.) This is a great game for social distancing. We read The Honorable Harvest (p.175) from Braiding Sweetgrass.

Strawberry Moon, Sunday June 21. “Philo” means love.  Strawberries are associated with generous love.  What fruit or plant reminds you of love and why? Hike: Some took their own hikes or walks or joined the Greenwoods for a hike up Mt. Philo in Charlotte, VT and gathered to share a bit of mindfulness with masks donned and keeping some safe distance between non-household members. When hiking they looked for signs of generosity and love. What plant or aspect of nature do you receive as a generous gift? How does that invite you into a relationship? Eat: After hiking, people were encouraged to return home to eat , enjoying strawberries in some fashion! Reflect: Later that night by zoom they shared responses to the natural mindfulness questions offered for the hike. They provided quotes and writing prompts.

Full Blueberry Moon  Sunday, July 5  Fruity Sundaes at 7 pm with Zoom (pairings) gathering. Went berry picking around 3 pm — invited friends to join you. What fruits and nuts remind you of home? Braiding Sweetgrass, The Council of Pecans, p. 11 and Blueberries for Sal or Jamberry. Things Happening in the Natural World: Finding fruit in nature and plants reseeding. Migrant workers leaving home to follow the harvest seasons.