Presenting Abenaki Culture in the Classroom, Sheehan & Brook, Summer 2019

Course Number: EDU 5515 C43 (Graduate)
Instructor: Vera Sheehan & Melody Brook
Location: Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, 4472 Basin Harbor Road, Vergennes.
Dates and Times:

August 8-10, 2019. Aug. 8: 9am – 4pm; Aug. 9: 9am-4, 5pm - 6:30pm (evening program on wampum is optional); Aug. 10: 10:00am-4pm

Tuition: $550
1 graduate credit

Note:Please register directly with the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM). LCMM will give you the link to Castleton's online registration form. Tuition payments should be made to LCMM.

Course Description

Music, history and archaeology, weaving, social justice issues, and heirloom plants . . .

Through a combination of lectures and experiential learning, Vermont Abenaki Artists Association scholars, historians, and culture bearers will present this vibrant regional culture that reaches back nearly 13,000 years and continues today.

The Third Annual Presenting Abenaki Culture in the Classroom course will provide teachers and homeschoolers a deeper understanding of how indigenous culture continues into the 21st century. Sessions will include history and stereotypes; new resources being developed for use in classrooms; age-appropriate activities; and how teachers can better support Abenaki and other Native students while presenting American history and additional academic content areas. The program includes a gallery talk and exploration of the exhibition We Are Still Here: Continuity of Culture in the Abenaki Homeland.

This rich learning experience will provide educators in all settings with new resources and techniques to help students learn about Abenaki culture, and a forum to discuss the “Flexible Pathways” initiative.

Presented through a partnership between the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association and Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.

Audience: All Educators

Course Instructors: 
Vera Sheehan, Director, Vermont Abenaki Artists Association (VAAA). Culture bearer, artist, educator, and activist Vera Longtoe Sheehan has been presenting educational programs at museums, historic sites, and educational institutions for over twenty years. Her BA in Museum Studies and Native American Studies (MA candidate in Heritage Preservation) from SUNY Empire State allows Vera to bridge the gap between the Abenaki community and mainstream society by creating and delivering educational programs, museum exhibitions, and events that preserve and interpret the vibrant culture of her people.

Melody Brook is an Adjunct Professor at Champlain College and has taught The Abenakis and Their Neighbors and Abenaki Spirituality at Johnson State College. She is currently serving her second term on the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs. Additionally, she is a member of the Elnu Abenaki Tribe, the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association, and a traditional beadworker and finger weaver.

Course Goals:

  • Immerse teachers in archeology, history, current issues, cultural concepts of the Abenaki people.
  • Evaluate primary and secondary resources and learn to apply them to the development and implementation of a lesson plan.

Course Objectives:

Students will be able to:

  • Discuss the continuity of the Abenaki inhabitants in the land now known as Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Quebec.
  • Discuss what is known about the Abenaki, how we know it, and how it can be applied to classroom learning to meet Common Core Standards.
  • Review historical and archeological records to determine how they can be used to interpret historical and current events.
  • Develop and collaborate on lesson plans demonstrating how to use existing sources to shape our understanding of the Abenaki people.

Required Texts

Suggested Readings/Texts:

Calloway, Colin G. The Western Abenakis of Vermont, 1600–1800: War, Migration, and the Survival of an Indian People. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1994.

Parker, Trudy Ann. Aunt Sarah: Woman of the Dawnland. Dawnland Publishers, 2005.

Wiseman, Frederick M. At Lake Between: The Great Council Fire and the European Discovery of Lake Champlain. Vergennes, VT: Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, 2009.

For additional course and registration information

LCMM Program Liaison: Eloise Beil
(802) 474-2022

Register online now!