Saturday, June 3, 2017



February 7th, 2011

Experts assembled by the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs failed to identify even the most obvious flaws in applications for state recognition submitted by the "Nulhegan" and "Elnu."

Here are just two examples:

1) On pages 25 & 61 of the “Nulhegan” application, there are references to Nancy Snow, a woman claimed by Luke Willard as his Abenaki ancestor and falsely identified as a granddaughter of Helen (Otôdoson) Saziboet. You may wish to consult Click on for NEDOBA website LWillard gene_faked for an investigation of these claims. Clearly, Willard and the "Nulhegans" are not in any way related to the Otôdoson family.

We would add that Helen (Otôdoson) Saziboet is a great...grandmother of Denise Watso and Jacques Thériault Watso, and many other historically-known Abenaki people. According to the Warrensburgh (NY) News (June 8, 1922) she died at Saratoga Springs, NY, where many members of her family lived either seasonally or year-round. Another of Denise and Jacques's direct ancestors, Louis Watso, walked from Lake George to Saratoga Springs to attend the funeral. Louis Watso and Helen (Otôdoson) Saziboet were brother and sister. Their father, Swassin Otôdoson, was buried in Barton, VT.

2) The “Elnu” application cites an October 1863 Civil War conscription list from an Alburgh VT Land and Miscellaneous Records Book as proof that Charles Partlow, an ancestor of some “Elnu” members, was Indian. It is clear, however, that the applicant, experts and commission must not have read the actual record at the Alburgh Town Clerk's Office. Rather, they are drawing on a transcription of the record in a book of Alburgh history. The original document clearly indicates that Charles Partlow and three other men were not considered to be Indian at the time. The names of the four Indians being paid for their wartime service were not recorded.

The Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs, their panel of experts, and the Vermont legislature have not done an acceptable job reviewing the "Nulhegan" and "Elnu" applications. What other false claims are shrouded in the secrecy imposed by legislators last year when they passed the final version of their state recognition bill?

Citizens of Vermont and true Abenaki people deserve better than inadequate review of inaccurate claims being made as part of a process created by an unjust law.

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