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Additional Ne-Do-Ba Responses to the Topic
The Reinvention of the Vermont Abenaki  OFF-SITE LINK 

Last Updated 15-Apr-2010

Ne-Do-Ba Comment - - - We have had several responses to our thoughts on this topic and some deserve an additional response from us.

Sample Responses to Our Comments

Wonderful reply,
You spoke the truth and I commend you for stepping forward on this. This has been going on for to long.
Todd Hebert
Owner_ Red Fox Trading Post_ (
Native American owned crafts and herbal company.

Double Curve Design by Hannah Susep

Our Response to
Morning Star's Comments  OFF-SITE LINK 

Ne-Do-Ba Comment - - - At the time we created this page the above link pointed to a public page that did not require registration to view. It has come to our attention (Apr-2010) the page is no longer public. In order to view it you will have to "join" the blog. The title of the blog entry is "The Ancestors" dated 6-Aug-2009.

The issues in Vermont and New Hampshire are not simply about recognition of our heritage. For those people directly involved in this specific controversy it is about gaining special privileges as well as claiming to speak for all Abenaki. I (and many like me) do not recognize their authority to speak or act as my representative. I did not choose them as representatives of my Native Heritage, they chose themselves and expect us all to follow without question. Sorry, but as you pointed out, this is not the way of our Wabanaki Ancestors.

Although in my first response, I was speaking of the situation in Vermont, it should indeed apply to any group seeking Federal or State recognition. It is plain and simple - if you can not document what you claim then you do not have a valid claim. The Pequot did it against great odds and the Mashpee Wampanoag as well. These are extremely old communities that have been "extinct" for many generations according to historians and governments, yet in modern times they provided the government with enough documentation to prove they are the same people and have maintained a community throughout history. If they can do it, any one with a VALID claim can do the same.

The Wabanaki way of life is indeed fluid and flexible and to some extent chaotic (at least to non-Native observers). However, moving from one area to another or from one band to another does not prevent us from documenting the heritage of a family. The families that settled at Lake George in New York broke away from Odanak, but we can still document who they are. The families at Greenville, Maine came from at least 4 different Native populations and at different times in history, but we can still document a community there, who they are, and when they arrived. The families at Dover-Foxcroft in Maine have links to at least 3 Native communities, but we can still document who they are and where they came from. Sometimes this takes years and even decades to accomplish, but that should not deter us from our responsibilities. An old saying comes to mind here - anything worth having is worth working for. I could go on, but I think I made the point - our way of life does not prevent us from being documented, it only makes documenting some families more challenging than others.

You asked "Who should the proof be given to?" When you are seeking recognition from a government authority, the proof must go to the government and in turn become public record. If a person is not willing to have their genealogy become public record, they should not be seeking government recognition. I do not always believe governments have our best interest at heart, but I do agree we need to prove what we claim and the proof must be available for any person to review and question.

You say "... we would simply like to be recognized for our ancestry. But as the law stands, we cannot even claim to be "Indian" without government approval." Sorry, I have not heard anyone say we do not have a right to claim our Native heritage and we certainly will not be arrested for claiming to be "Indian". On the other hand, we might be arrested for selling crafts as "Genuine Indian" if we do not belong to a recognized tribe. It was not the government that crafted this law (they really could care less!), it was the recognized tribes that wanted protection against people who were counterfeiting their art and craft work. I believe it was also the recognized tribes that worked to include the gambling aspect in recognition. So perhaps your fight is really with them?

I ask you - what prevents you from being recognized for your heritage? I visited your web site and it appears rather obvious you are a person of Wabanaki ancestry. Do you need a card in your wallet or an official banner across your doorway? I am recognized for my Abenaki heritage by those people I respect and care about. What else is really important? We are free to attend PowWows, hold sweat lodges, support Native Rights issues, teach our beliefs (even sell those beliefs if we want to!), learn and teach traditional crafts, host web sites, dress in regalia, organize Native groups, participate in Native ceremony, etc. etc. etc.. No one is preventing us from being recognized for who we are - Wabanaki descendants. In fact, I believe we all have a responsibility to recognize our Native ancestry - but that does not give us the right to seek special privileges - and that is at the heart of this controversy - being recognized by a governmental authority in order to receive special privileges.

Special privileges mean different things to different people. For some it means a free health clinic, for some it means better prices for their craft work, for some it means no taxes or cheap tobacco, and unfortunately for some it means money from gambling. With recognition comes all these privileges and more. We can't pick and chose which ones will come with formal recognition - it's all or nothing. So, yes, government recognition does put you in the same container with the casino group. That may not be right, but it is the way things are today. And let's face it, we are human and we have baggage. Maybe you don't want the big bucks, but someone in the group will - and there's the rub.

We can not escape the fact that Federal/State recognition goes hand in hand with special privileges. If a group wants special privileges then they have a responsibility to prove they have a right to claim those privileges. If the group is not interested in acquiring special privileges then don't seek government recognition. If we don't like the way the government is handling things - we need to change it - after all, this is still a democracy. Seems pretty simple to me - not easy, but simple!

Blood quantum is a different issue. Yes, WE ARE OUR HERITAGE, but that does not give us the right to be treated as equals to the traditional families that have openly maintained their Native heritage over the centuries. If some traditional families choose to adopt their mixed blood cousins, that would be wonderful. But it is up to them to adopt us, not up to us to adopt ourselves. For us mixed bloods, there are a number of generations before us that did not openly acknowledge their Native ancestry and in my opinion that means our families did not "pay their dues" - we have not earned the right to special privileges. If we think our families earned these rights simply because they had to suppress their Native heritage - think again. What our ancestors might have suffered does not hold a candle to the way reservation families have suffered and died for centuries!

In the end, I think it comes down to this - Are you comfortable in your knowledge of who you are?

If we are, then why do we need additional recognition or confirmation from an outside source? If we are not, do we really believe a piece of paper from the government will fix it? I am truly sorry for anyone that thinks it will.

Thank you once again for taking the time to listen.
Nancy Lecompte

On 17-Aug-2009 we received a response from Morningstar which she posted on her site at the following address
Morningstar's Response  OFF-SITE LINK 

Ne-Do-Ba Comment - - - At the time we created this page the above link pointed to a public page that did not require registration to view. It has come to our attention (Apr-2010) the page is no longer public. In order to view it you will have to "join" the blog. The title of the blog entry is "In The Very Beginning" dated 19-Aug-2009.

Ne-Do-Ba Comment - - - We decline to respond to her response, since we have already addressed the main topic of Douglas' blog - which is - proof you are who you say you are if you want the public and the government to recognize you and provide you with benefits.

On 8-Sep-2009 we received correspondence from Denise Watso who has given us permission to post her comments here.

I applaud your response to the "groups" demanding to be recognized. As an Abenaki person growing up in Albany, NY and my Father, Frederick Watso in Odanak, we are well aware of the racism that these groups have no idea about our lives, but demand to be recognized for nothing other than unsubstantiated claims.

Finally the truth be told, hopefully this message will reverberate throughout the political, the groups and the general public. I never did get involved until we, as Abenaki from Odanak were shutout of the VT recognition process by these groups, calling us expatriates and such.

Thank you again, it is so good to hear someone is actually listening to us, it is daunting to see newspapers, politicians, and the public actually believe those who shout the loudest.

Denise L. Watso

A Double Curve Graphic

Our Response to
Abenaki Pride Setting The Record Straight  OFF-SITE LINK 

We are still waiting for you to "set the record straight". So far (20-Nov-2009), there is no posting to show how Douglas is wrong in any of his statements! Also nothing seen yet to "repair" damaged reputations. You say no insults, but we find a number of comments to be rude, crude, and very insulting not just to our Abenaki heritage but to all New Englanders. Several comments we have tried to post on the blog have not appeared as comments, so we have to question their "open to all" statement.

A Double Curve Graphic

Our Response to
Myth of Modern Vermont Abenaki  OFF-SITE LINK 

Ne-Do-Ba received a request from the Koasek group to post an article they wrote in response to Douglas' blog. We believed there was some merit in the argument they appeared to be making, but declined to post it on our web site due to what we felt were extremely poor choices in the source material they were using. Ne-Do-Ba does not normally comment on other people's writings, but they approached us with their response and then asked for our assistance.

Paul Bunnell responded by e-mail on August 4th 2009,

"We invite you to comment to us in regards to any questionable sources and areas that you feel needs correction or additional information. We encourage any participation in helping us correct history, especially with the territorial areas the Abenaki lived and traveled in. Much has been incorrectly put out there and we welcome your assistance in helping us prove many questionable lines and false claims others have made, ..."

In that light, we went over the article in some detail and prepared a lengthy response. We pointed out a number of quotes we believe are simply untrue. But more importantly we pointed out a serious problem with the article in general. We found it difficult to follow who was saying what. Was that statement made by a historian, a person living at the time of the event, or by the person writing the article? - in most cases I could not tell until I googled a few key words and found someone said it a century ago! At the least, the article needs to be corrected to properly source all quotes being used. This is "Writing 101" - if you are quoting someone, do it properly, because anything else is plagiarism. We don't believe it was their intent to plagiarize the work of others, but that is the end result in a number of places in their article. So, we have to ask ourselves - is the research behind this article being done with the same carelessness?

Below we are providing a couple of paragraphs from our response to the Koasek group for our readers to see an example of our concerns.

> In a paragraph about 1/3 of the way down sourced as "(Sessional papers of Ontario Legislative Assembly)" is some really horrid history. Several paragraphs that follow are based on the same premise. This is almost a direct quote from the introduction to a book by Leland & Prince titled "Kuloskap the Master And Other Algonkin Poems" published in 1902 which you can find on Google Books. I copied your paragraph here so you can see exactly which one I am talking about.

"The Abenakis of St. Francois etc, are according to Professor Prince (1902) the direct descendants (of course with some admixture of French and other blood) of the majority of the savages who escaped from the great battle of the Kennebec in Maine, where the English commander Bradford, overthrew their tribe on December 2, 1679. Many of the survivor's fled to Canada settling at St. Francois near Pierreville Quebec in 1680."

Not sure what those boys were smoking when they wrote that, but I can find no such event mentioned in any history book in my library nor online (except it is found online as a quote from the above mentioned book).

I realize you are in New Hampshire rather than Maine, but you should know your history well enough to know that 1679 is at the end of "Phillip's War" in Maine and ALL the English settlers have been driven from Maine, leaving the Abenaki in control of the region. They remained in control (more or less) for several more decades. No tribe in Maine was overthrown during this period!!! The only event that comes close to this would be the attack on Norridgewock in 1724, which did cause the Kennebec Abenaki to temporarily disburse in a number of directions.

Here is a portion of the response we received from Paul Bunnell on August 8th. It is not clear who is writing this material for the group, but Paul Bunnell was the principle correspondent between the Koasek group and Ne-Do-Ba. On the 12th of August, 2009, Paul Bunnell gave Ne-Do-Ba permission to quote their response on our web site.

It should be clear and understood that we are not attempting to re-write history or to create a new one of our own, but that we are attempting to bring forth and make known certain aspects [of] our history, that have been "subdued" and neglected by most modern writers.

And it has been through this subduing and constantly repeating only the "acceptable" information, that we have seemingly disappeared from our own history!

As we continue with further articles we intend to show those historical connections that have been purposely left obscured, or simply left out of the history books, and how it is through this missing information, that we intend to bring ourselves [back to life] as a missing tribal entity...and how a small portion of this whole tribal entity became entangled in the "Vermont Abenaki" deception...

Ne-Do-Ba Comment - - - We did not add the bracketed words in the above quotes, they arrived here that way.

And in direct response to the argument we gave them about the event that never happened on December 2, 1679 (copied above for you to read), we received this simple line of explanation.

Yet, we think the "Ontario Legislative Assembly" probably recorded their sessions properly however, and can be quoted.

So it appears they believe the Abenaki were overthrown on the Kennebec River by the English in 1679 and it was covered up by historians. Until very recently, historians have been non-Native people telling the history of non-Native people and in most cases those historians have been of English heritage. Those English historians waste no time making it clear they are superior to the "Savages", they are right to take the land, and they triumph. What purpose would it serve for them to cover up an event where the English were supposed to have been victorious? Indeed, if such an event ever happened the historians would have made a great deal of it. The Koasek group seems to feel the "Ontario Legislative Assembly" was wise enough to uncover this error and properly record the event. They seem to be ignoring the point I made about the quote being found in an introduction by Mr. Prince in a folklore book. My real concern is what is the basis of the statement - if this event really happened, how did Mr. Prince come to learn of it. Is his source reliable? Real research is more than just repeating what someone said about something - we have to provide a reason to believe the person knew what they were talking about - especially when we are presenting a new theory.

Responses to other points we made about inaccurate data resulted in similar "talking around the issue". They may or may not have a valid point to make, but using historically inaccurate information to make their point is irresponsible.

Serious researchers are constantly disproving prior assumptions about history and it's people using solid documentation and sound research methods. If the Koasek group believe aspects of their history have been subdued or neglected, they have a responsibility to disprove the historians by using sound logic and accepted techniques. True historical research requires a great deal of time and effort. It can not be done simply by quoting materials found online or at the local library without regard to the accuracy of the data. Please --- be very careful before you accept any data they produce concerning the history of the region and it's Wabanaki People.

A Double Curve Graphic

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