Honoring Indigenous People

CVUUS worship opens with a ringing of the bell and saying:We recognize that CVUUS gathers on the land of the Western Abenaki people. We respect their spiritual relationship to the land. We hope to learn from them how we can live together in peace and justice.” 

Fuller Event Opening Language: “I want to start this event by acknowledging that we (or for Zoom, ‘most of us’) are gathered here and holding this Meeting on the unceded traditional homelands of the Abenaki People, their Ancestors, and allies. Please join me in acknowledging the Abenaki community, their elders both past and present, as well as future generations. Let us not look away from the exclusions and erasures of Indigenous Peoples, including those on whose land we live, work, and witness. May we be committed to dismantling the ongoing legacies of settler colonialism here in Ndakinna – the place the Abenaki People call Our Land. Thank you.”

Watch CVUUS worship with Abenaki Chief Don Stevens: our guest worship speaker on Feb 28, 2021 in a service led by Liam Greenwood who co-leads the Native Moons Group. Go to https://youtu.be/JEPV9Mi4Mj4

Watch Dawnland, 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. Middlebury Friends Meeting’s Cheryl Mitchell purchased a license to view the film for a year. Here is the link to the 54 minute version: https://vimeo.com/497022254 Password: fifteen.orange.ball.

Watch CVUUS worship with MUHS’ Grace Vining who, along with a Burlington student Theo Ellis Novtny, won an award for young film makers for a short film on the need for teaching Abenaki culture. This Sept 27, 2021 worship 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. 

Support CVUUS’ March 2021 Share the Plate Donees

Vermont Abenaki Artists Assn. promotes regional Indigenous arts,  artists, and culture by providing an organized central place to share creative ideas, and professional development. It creates engaging cultural eventseducational programs, exhibitions, and curriculum materials and represents over 280 artists, teaching artists, performers, educators, and scholars. We’ll collect for them in the first half of March. For more, visit abenakiart.org.

Abenaki Helping Abenaki’s mission of the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation is to strengthen our government; to build our community, and ensure sustainability; to protect our customs and traditions; and to revive our culture and celebrate our heritage while sharing it with those around us. N’dakinna (our homeland) is nestled among the lakes, rivers, and forests of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.  Our connection to this land cannot be described in any language.  It is our birthright and obligation to advocate for our ancestral territory so that its uniqueness and beauty will be protected for the generations to come.  Look for displays at Burlington International Airport, Echo Museum, and Ethan Allen Homesite. We’ll collect for them in the second half of March. For more, visit abenakitribe.org

Indigenous Peoples Day

This was an official VT state holiday, replacing Columbus Day for the second year on the second Monday in Oct. 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.  Find at least one to do, maybe more, to tie into 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 to mark this holiday, or any time of year, from Montpelier’s Dir. of Religious Exploration Liza Earle Centers.

Watch the Abenaki Creation Story. It is powerful to hear the Abenaki language spoken.

Keep the Abenaki language alive! Abenaki leaders are trying to teach more and more people the language.

Clean up our own way of speaking, to make sure we’re not spreading myths about Indigenous People or using hurtful phrases or micro-aggressions.  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.)

Learn more and support indigenous authors. Consider buying or borrowing books by indigenous authors: some picture books or some for youth/young adultsPeruse the CVUUS Library reading list: https://www.cvuus.org/learning/library/reading-lists-2/native-american-perspectives/

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.

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.

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).

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 who began by reading chapters of Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer and held discussions to share our reflective writings on these chapters over Zoom.  We also offered some outdoor activities.  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.

Zooming on the Full Moon (although in-person clustering is smiled upon). The Native Moons Book Group has chosen to learn about Abenaki history more deeply and more intimately.  We will be meeting with Aunt Sarah, Woman of the Dawnland.  This biography by Trudy Ann Parker is of Trudy’s great aunt Sarah, who lived to be 108 years old.  Her journey from the 1820’s to the 1930’s within the State of Vermont is a slow loss of indegenous culture and rights, and a complex relationship with the dominant settler culture.

Join us August 22 on Sunday afternoon at the Maritime Museum in Vergennes at 1 p.m. for a light picnic, visit to their bookshop to pick up a copy of Aunt Sarah, and an introduction to the Abenaki Artist Council which holds events at the museum.  Contact LiamBattjes@gmail.com to reserve your picnic space or to be added to his email list.

August 22 is the full Harvest Moon.  We will be meeting in person.  In the evening, Liam will touch base through Zoom with anyone who was not able to join us but would still like to participate.

Other Meetings:

Monday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m  Indian Corn Moon, and pages 1- 46

Wednesday, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m.  Falling Leaves Moon, and pages 47-90

Friday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. When Deer Drop their Horns Moon, and pages 90-138

Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8670084161