Indigenous People’s Day 2021

08 Oct 2021

Dear Vermont Tech Community:

On Monday October 11, 2021, we in Vermont formally recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day. To celebrate a fuller and more inclusive American history, this day centers Indigenous people, who are the original inhabitants of North America. It honors their continued presence and contributions to the country, as well as attempts to reconcile a history of injustices such as mass genocide, forced removal from land, forced sterilization of women, forced assimilation of Native American children, and subsequent income and health disparities. Through education and awareness-raising, we can move forward together.

There are over 500 tribes recognized by the federal government. Vermont Tech is situated on Wabanaki land. The Wabnaki, “People of the Dawn,” are named for the area in which they lived and continue to live called Wabanahkik or “Dawnland” in the traditional language Algonquian. This region stretches from Newfoundland, Canada down to Massachusetts, US. The Wabanaki are a confederation of five principal nations: the Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy, Abenaki, and Penobscot. The Western Abenaki homeland includes what is now Vermont and New Hampshire.

In celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ day, please see below for opportunities to learn more about Indigenous peoples and to attend events around the state.

We would also like to request the following Call to Action: 

November is National Native American Heritage Month. We are seeking Indigenous Vermont Tech students, faculty and staff who would like to help develop a Land Acknowledgement Statement for Vermont Tech. A Land Acknowledgement Statement is a formal statement spoken at the beginning of a public event, or written as part of a public communication that recognizes those events, communities, homes and businesses which reside on land originally inhabited by or belonging to Indigenous people. A Land Acknowledgment also formally recognizes and respects Indigenous peoples as stewards of this land and the enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous peoples and their traditional lands.

If you are interested in developing a Land Acknowledgement Statement for Vermont Tech, please email Kathleen Mason.

Learn more!

To learn more about the Abenaki:

  • VPR’s Brave Little State podcast: “What Is the Status of the Abenaki Native Americans In Vermont Today?” Nov. 4, 2016:
  • Listen to Abenaki Chief Don Stevens tell the story of Odzihozo and the creation of Bitawbwa (Lake Champlain):
  • Vermont Abenaki Artists Association:

To participate in cultural programming around Indigenous Peoples’ Day:

  • Lake Champlain Origin Story, Vermont Tech Williston Campus, Monday, October 11, 12:00 PM in Room 203
    • Join us as we watch Chief Don Stevens tell the creation story of Bitawbwa (Lake Champlain) while enjoying Lake Champlain chocolates!
  • Indigenous People’s Day Rocks!
    • Sunday, October 9: enjoy drums, dance circle, vendors, food & an evening concert in Stowe! Rain date is October 10.
  • VAAA Abenaki Culture Lessons
    • Vermont Abenaki Artists Association (VAAA) and Abenaki Arts & Education Center scholars, historians, and culture bearers present vibrant regional culture. The current session is full, so stay sign up for the next course!
  • Healing our Future: Indigenous Wealth Building
    • Explore Indigenous approaches to wealth, stories from wealth building leaders, and ways Indigenous wealth concepts can heal our future in this virtual event on Monday, October 11.
  • Programming for Indigenous Peoples’ Day at UVM
    October 11, 2021: 12:00-1:30 PM Film screening of DAWNLAND. 4:30-6:00 PM Community Discussion with presenter Aaron York, an educator and skilled birchbark canoe artisan.

DAWNLAND Synopsis:

“For decades, child welfare authorities have been removing Native American children from their homes to save them from being Indian. In Maine, the first official “truth and reconciliation commission” in the United States begins a historic investigation. DAWNLAND goes behind-the-scenes as this historic body grapples with difficult truths, redefines reconciliation, and charts a new course for state and tribal relations.

For further education:

IllumiNative is a Native-led non-profit using research to change the narrative about Native people in pop culture, media, k-12 education, and other critical sectors. To learn more about how we can change the story of Native Peoples and increase visibility please go to