Opportunities for Action: An Evolving Plan for the Future of the Lake Champlain Basin

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Task Detail

Chapter 9: Cultural Heritage and Recreation Resources


Provide support for needed historical and archeological research and accelerate the identification, evaluation, protection, and interpretation of heritage resources, including ethnographies of the cultures within the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership.


Use new and existing research and documentation to support the evaluation, conservation, and interpretation of natural and cultural heritage resources.

  • Task ID #: 9.1.3
  • Lead Partners: LCBP

Task Comments

  • Date Posted: 05/08/12
  • Update Relevancy: 04/11 - 03/12
  • Comment Posted By: Lake Champlain Basin Program
  • Sub-watershed: Winooski
  • Jurisdiction: VT

Through a $10,000 grant from the CVNHP/LCBP, the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center developed the “Indigenous Expressions: Contemporary Native Peoples of the Lake Champlain Basin Audio Project.” Using QR codes and cell phones, the new interpretation brings the spoken voice to a collection of photographs of contemporary Native Americans in the Champlain Valley.

ECHO has worked in close collaboration with the Native American community in Vermont and New York since 2007 in preparation for the Lake Champlain Quadricentennial commemoration. The museum/community partnership developed an exhibit: “Indigenous Expressions: Native Peoples of the Lake Champlain Basin,” which is a collection of thirteen Native American exhibits and a contemporary Portrait Gallery with twenty photographs of self-selected families and individuals from throughout the Basin.

The partnership also developed and presented a wide variety of Native American public programs for all ages in 2009-2010, including “Materials of Culture: 10,200 years of Abenaki Clothing, Ceremony, and Implements,” a 1609 Abenaki Encampment, a photoethnography program and dance performances with “The Circle of Courage” dancers from Swanton, VT, and lectures from Native scholars.

During the 13-day International Waterfront Festival in July 2009, ECHO and the Native community welcomed 8,604 guests to our Native American events, and over 275,000 visited the exhibits. Inspired by this amicable partnership, and with previous permission, ECHO expanded its work with the Basin’s Native community to collect, share, and archive interviews, traditional cultural and natural sounds, and music, to produce a myriad of audio from Native soundscapes (a combination of sounds that form an immersive environment) to first-person stories. The audio project extends cultural interpretation and programming that began during the Quadricentennial and brings to life the material culture and life-way traditions that ECHO currently shares with its guests.

Associated Files

  • Date Posted: 11/07/11
  • Update Relevancy: 05/11 - 11/11
  • Comment Posted By: Lake Champlain Basin Program
  • Sub-watershed: Grand Isle, Lake Champlain, Lamoille, Missisquoi, Otter/Lewis, Winooski
  • Jurisdiction: VT

The Whitepine Association has received a Quadricentennial Legacy Grant from the CVNHP to host a summit of Abenaki leaders from throughout northern New England. The Vermont Indigenous Summit, to be held at the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, will consist of workshops, presentations and networking sessions for regional tribal and cultural leaders, and associated public programming to take advantage of the residency of Chiefs, elders and cultural officers from Indigenous bands throughout the far Northeast. A focus of the summit is to have native people offer guidance in how new, but fragmented cultural information can be linked into a larger, more coherent spiritual/technological system.

  • Date Posted: 11/03/11
  • Update Relevancy: 06/11 - 11/11
  • Comment Posted By: Lake Champlain Basin Program
  • Sub-watershed: Grand Isle, Lake Champlain, Lamoille, Missisquoi, Otter/Lewis, Winooski
  • Jurisdiction: VT

The CVNHP provided a Quadricentennial Legacy Grant to Abenakis Helping Abenakis for the Vermont Indigenous Ethnobotany Project, which explores a legacy of practices including culinary, medicinal and industrial plant and plant materials collection, the construction of small insulated bark wigwams and larger bark buildings approaching the longhouse in size; ash splint basketry and twined bag manufacture, and two indigenous forms of traditional mound-based horticultural land use using local indigenous cultivars.

In 2010, local Vermont bands seeking Vermont state recognition prepared detailed descriptions of cultural practices that could be shown to be local, not imported, and distinctively Native American. This information was necessarily collected by tribal officials untrained in ethnography or economic botany, but revealed a huge body of heretofore unknown ethnobotanical and land use lore. The Vermont Indigenous Ethnobotany Project is following up on this exciting discovery by collecting data, plant materials, and other material for proper study, interpretation and curation.

The Vermont Indigenous Ethnobotany Project is reviewing the information in the public recognition applications of the Missisquoi (Swanton, VT), Nulhegan (Northeast Kingdom), Koasek (Newbury, VT) and Elnu (Windham Co. VT) bands to extract the pertinent ethnobotanical “leads” and unite with local practitioners to observe and record the horticultural and other technological indigenous practices that use plants and plant products. The field data and materials will then be analyzed and interpreted for use by scholars and the public through publications, lectures and museum installations. It is our hope that this project will also provide a model for all regions of Vermont to revitalize these ancient Abenaki practices and technologies that are at risk of being lost from living memory.

  • Date Posted: 11/02/11
  • Update Relevancy: 06/11 - 10/11
  • Comment Posted By: Lake Champlain Basin Program
  • Sub-watershed: Winooski
  • Jurisdiction: VT

A Quadricentennial Legacy Grant from the CVNHP supported the installation of four new computer-based units aboard the steamboat Ticonderoga. New oral histories from Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy and Vermont philanthropist Lois McClure reflect the steamboat’s recent history, including her role in the Quadricentennial celebration of 2009.

The steamboat Ticonderoga is a National Historic Landmark and was the last commercially operating steamboat on Lake Champlain. In 1955 the 220-foot boat was relocated to Shelburne Museum, where she serves as an educational resource and icon of the region’s cultural history for over 100,000 visitors annually. The visitor experience of the “Ti” is illuminated by oral histories from people who rode or worked on the “Ti,” accessible through these new listening stations. The Museum anticipates interactive, easy to use technology and visually attractive screens will increase visitor participation. As a result, more Vermonters, New Yorkers, and other visitors to the Museum are exposed to the history of the “Ti” and Lake Champlain.

  • Date Posted: 10/17/11
  • Update Relevancy: 04/11 - 10/11
  • Comment Posted By: Lake Champlain Basin Program
  • Sub-watershed: Poultney-Mettowee/South
  • Jurisdiction: NY

Visitors to Fort Ticonderoga explored the role of an Indian agent in 1759 as part of a program entitled “Within Humane Bounds” in the summer of 2011.

The program featured an historic interpreter representing an Indian agent of Sir William Johnson’s Northern Indian Department who supplied and coordinated with Mohawk warriors in 1759. The program included an impressive display of representative trade goods including leggings, shirts, powder horns and weapons that were that were needed to secure Mohawk support to the British army. The program highlighted the role the agent played in maintaining the bonds of alliance as well as being an important source for practical trade goods utilized in the native villages including agricultural tools and cutlery.

Native American allies in the French & Indian War were key players for both the French and British armies. Accordingly, both sides had extensive networks of agents and traders to try to forge those alliances and coordinate native warriors. Beyond the backing of the British crown, and a large supply of trade goods, Indian agents also had to use personal connections to fulfill their positions. Their fluency in languages, knowledge of local customs, as well as their own personal bonds of kinship within tribes were all essential in securing native alliances. These bonds were very often tested during these times of war, as Indian agents walked a fine line between encouraging native military support while keeping these warriors acting, “Within Humane Bounds.” Sir William Johnson’s directive to his Indian agents was to use the inherent skills of natives in woodland warfare, while keeping them acting within the moral morays of European warfare. Indeed, in 1759 through the work of Indian Agents, the Mohawk allies had a reputation among the British army for discipline as admirable as their martial skill.

For Special Revolutionary War programs in July, Native Interpreter Joseph Privott portrayed a Stockbridge Mohican as they appeared around Fort Ticonderoga in 1776. Through the early 18th century the Mohicans of the lower Hudson valley had created a settled town at Stockbridge, Massachusetts modeled on contemporary New England townships. The name of this town became commonly used for these Mohicans, commonly called Stockbridge Indians. Warriors from Stockbridge formed a complete company with the famous Roger’s Rangers, siding with the American patriot movement in 1776. A company of Stockbridge warriors arrived at Ticonderoga in the mid summer of 1776, along with regulars and militia from Massachusetts. The Stockbridge warriors were attached to the Massachusetts militia posted to Mount Hope, overlooking the LeChute valley. In late September the Stockbridges were posted on ships with Benedict Arnold’s navy. Landed on shore near Valcour Island, the Stockbridge warriors harassed the British Gunboats assaulting Arnold’s Fleet.

A Quadricentennial Legacy Grant from the CVNHP enabled Fort Ticonderoga to hire an experienced interpreter, Joseph Privott, who brought a wealth of knowledge about the Native American experience in this area during the 18th century. The Fort also purchased the necessary interpretive materials to bring the program to life for our visitors, including brass kettles, axes, hoes, hatches, knives, and flint/steel.

The program, which ran Sunday through Thursday afternoons, was extremely well received by Fort visitors. It was a new type of program for Fort Ticonderoga and has become part of the Fort’s broader interpretive emphasis to bring the year 1759 to life. Components of the program will be incorporated into the 2012 season when the interpretive staff will be portraying members of Captain Edward Mott’s Company of Colonel Parson’s Connecticut state battalion from 1775. Additional research will be conducted in the winter of 2012 to add to the interpretive program.

A short video of the interpretation can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/fortticonderogany

Associated Files

  • Date Posted: 09/23/11
  • Update Relevancy: 04/11 - 09/11
  • Comment Posted By: Lake Champlain Basin Program
  • Sub-watershed: Grand Isle, Lake Champlain, Lamoille, Missisquoi, Otter/Lewis, Poultney-Mettowee/South, Winooski
  • Jurisdiction: VT

The Martha Pellerin Collection of Franco-American Song. The earlier support provided by LCBP allowed the Vermont Folklife Center (VFC) to catalog and create a database of Franco-American musical materials collected by the late Martha Pellerin. (Link: http://www.vermontfolklifecenter.org/digital-archive/chansons/ )

Chansons and Fiddle Tunes continues where the previous project left off, with two primary goals in mind: 1. The modification of the extant online Omeka database from a specific resource dedicated to The Martha Pellerin Collection of Franco-American Song to a general online access platform for the VFC Archive; and 2. Digitization, transcription, cataloging and data entry aimed at making available related to an additional collection of Franco-American music materials, the Derosier Family Collection.

Site Last Updated: March 18, 2015

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