Abenaki Ways of Knowing Water - as told by Chief Don Stevens

The odzihozo and champ story

A detailed story - this is one of the many Abenaki stories that we hope to pass on to the next 7 Generations. Please share with your family. This story is told by Chief Don Stevens

Talk on Racism by Chief Don Stevens

Given to the EMS in Burlington, VT, this video addresses the racism experienced by Native American people. Please watch!

Land of the Rising Sun

WABANAAGIG, Land of the Rising Sun goes beyond words to encapsulate the strong emotions of the Wabanaki, a people who have emerged from centuries of oppression, occupation of their lands, and obliteration of their languages. Through these episodic stories, the series celebrates the strength and resiliency of a proud people. In Episode 9, Abenaki of Vermont - A Struggle for Recognition' years of struggle finally ends with the state recognition of the Abenaki nations at Vermont. For Information on the complete series, visit:

Abenaki culture

Chief Don Stevens with his mother.

Preserving Our Culture

The Nulhegan Abenaki Tribe is serious about achieving economic self-sufficiency and stability for our people which means controlling our own destinies. With energy, determination, vision, and a commitment to the larger community, our sights are set upon utilizing our own resources and abilities to grow in the realm of economic development, more specifically, cottage industry and cultural tourism.


The revitalization, preservation, and protection of our cultural, historic, and physical values and resources is the foundation upon which we stand. Teaching our young ones the skills and customs of our ancestors keeps our heritage alive. We empower our children, not only to survive, but to thrive during economic hardships by utilizing the traditions and practices of our ancestors, such as organic agriculture and permaculture. 

Mounds prepared for Three Sisters garden

Nulhegan Mound Gardening

Nulhegan mound gardening has been passed down through generations and is alive and well.  Often referred to as "Three Sisters" gardening - corn, squash, and beans are planted together and have complimented one another for centuries.  Large amounts of healthy, organic food can be grown on even small parcels of land.  Living sustainable lives and keeping our customs and traditions alive is the only way we know to ensure continuity. 

Abenaki woman from early 1900s.

Our History

We are the Nulhegan Tribe; the Memphremagog Band; the Northern Cowasuk Indians.  We have lived here, in the St. Francis, Nulhegan, Memphremagog, Passumpsic, and Upper Connecticut Basins of Vermont, northern New Hampshire, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, from time beyond memory. Our memories and oral history tell about when the old ones were faced with the decision to stay or travel west to the Great Lakes. Some made the journey and some stayed here in N'dakinna (our land). Our oral history tells of the wars and the hardships of survival and acceptance in the centuries after.  Our presence here has not always been wanted, warranted, or even admitted.  Memories and stories of eugenics and ethnic cleansing in the 19th and 20th centuries brought animosity and distrust that still manifests itself today. 

News and Media


Nulhegan is in the news!

Please scroll down to read articles and view videos.

Performance at the Echo Center

Several members of the tribe went to The Echo Center to Drum on Negoseban, which is the name of their big drum. Listen to and watch the video to experience Abenaki drumming and singing a traditional song. 

governor phil scott signs executive order

Additional Information

GOVERNOR PHIL SCOTT SIGNS EXECUTIVE ORDER TO PROMOTE DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND EQUALITY IN STATE GOVERNMENT     Montpelier, Vt. — Governor Phil Scott today signed Executive Order 04-18, to promote racial, ethnic and cultural diversity, equity and equality in state government. The Executive Order seeks to achieve the goals of a bill passed by the Legislature (S.281), which the Governor had to veto due to an unconstitutional provision in the bill, as passed.   

Governor Scott’s message to the Legislature is included below and the Executive Order is attached.         

 “I support without reservation the goal of this bill to ensure State governance is conducted in an unbiased, open, inclusive and welcoming manner.          

“Unfortunately, pursuant to Chapter II, Section 11 of the Vermont Constitution, I must return S.281, An act relating to mitigation of systemic racism, without my signature because of significant constitutional concerns given separation of powers violations described herein. Importantly, to ensure the intent of the legislation is fulfilled without delay, I have signed Executive Order 04-18. This Executive Order is modeled after S.281 but goes further in our effort to ensure racial, ethnic and cultural diversity, equity and equality – and avoids the unconstitutional provision included in the bill.            

 “I instructed the Agency of Administration to draft the order modeled after S.281 and to seek input from the Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity and other stakeholders. Specifically, the order establishes the position of Chief Racial Equity and Diversity Officer, to be nominated and vetted by a five-member panel selected in consultation with the Judiciary, the Legislature and the Chair of the Human Rights Commission. The Chief Racial Equity and Diversity Officer will be housed in the Office of the Secretary of Administration. The duties and responsibilities of the Chief Racial Equity and Diversity Officer include those reflected in S.281.           

“Additionally, Executive Order 04-18 goes beyond what was contemplated in S.281 and mandates training of appointed leaders in all agencies and departments on implicit bias and related issues that contribute to inequity or inequality as well as recruitment for increased racial, ethnic and cultural diversity in State jobs and on boards and commissions. It also directs the Officer to evaluate existing State Executive Orders, which are designed to address equity and diversity issues and recommend updates, modifications or sunset provisions to ensure these Executive Orders and the bodies created therein are effective and getting meaningful results.          

“It is unfortunate that I must return S.281 when the Legislature and the Administration share the same goals on this critical issue. I appreciate the work of the Legislature in drafting this bill – much of which is adopted in my Executive Order – and the work of many to address the constitutionality concerns during the Legislative process. Unfortunately, during the last days of the session, language was added that would usurp the executive’s Constitutional authority to remove a cabinet member responsible for performing an executive function. The new executive branch official contemplated in this bill is both appointed by and accountable to the Governor. The removal power, incidental to the appointment power, is essential for a Governor to take care that the laws be faithfully executed in accordance with the Constitution. The exercise of executive authority by an inter-branch entity over a Governor violates the separation of powers dictated by the Constitution.            

 “While several specific alternatives to the unconstitutional provision were proposed – which included removal with notice to, and consultation with, the Panel; and a term of office and termination by the Governor for cause only – the Legislature passed the bill with the unconstitutional language on the last day of the session and over the clear objection of my Administration.    

 “It is important to note that, to date, the State of Vermont has demonstrated leadership in this area. For example, the Department of Public Safety’s Fair and Impartial Policing Initiative, the Agency of Transportation’s Office of Civil Rights, and the Agency of Education through partnerships with professional associations in anti-bias efforts. This is important progress, but as we have discussed there is still much more work to do.  That’s why I felt it was important to issue Executive Order 04-18.            

“With this Executive Order in place, there will be no delay in important work ahead of us, and the Legislature can take additional time to resolve the unconstitutional separation of powers violations detailed above.          “I look forward to continuing our work on this important issue.”        


Learn More

Click "Download" for a copy of EO 04-18 - Racial Disparity Mitigation (pdf)

City of Burlington and Abenaki Alliance


City of Burlington and Abenaki Alliance Announce Discussions to Promote Awareness of Abenaki History

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger and Chief Don Stevens from the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk – Abenaki Nation today announced that the City of Burlington and Vermont Abenaki Alliance (made up of the four Abenaki Tribes recognized by the State of Vermont) have agreed to explore several projects to promote awareness of Abenaki history and culture. This announcement is the result of conversations between the City and Chief Stevens that arose during the discussion of the Church Street “Everyone Loves a Parade” mural. In lieu of participating in the Mural Task Force to determine the future of the mural, Chief Stevens and the Abenaki Alliance have chosen to pursue other projects, which will include an annual summer event on Church Street and may include a display of cultural artifacts at the Burlington International Airport, among other potential projects. These projects will build on Burlington’s previous work with Abenaki communities to create the Chief Grey Lock statue in Battery Park and the City Council’s acknowledgment and support of recognition of the Abenaki Nation in September of 1995.

 “Abenaki Tribes have a long history within the State of Vermont and with the City of Burlington,” said Chief Don Stevens. “As leaders within our Abenaki communities, the Chiefs have decided not to participate in the ‘Everyone Loves a Parade’ Mural Task Force, but to find other positive avenues to promote our culture within the City. We look forward to collaborating with the City on projects that will increase local and international awareness of Abenaki history and culture. Finally, if the mural is to be changed or altered, we do feel that the Native person depicted on the mural should accurately and historically represent Abenaki people from this region.” 

“I appreciated Chief Don Stevens’ input as we have been working through the community challenges related to the ‘Everyone Loves a Parade’ mural,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “The City welcomes the opportunity to continue to work with the Abenaki Alliance to find ways of properly recognizing the role of the Abenaki in the history and future of this region.”

Please note that this communication and any response to it will be maintained as a public record and may be subject to disclosure under the Vermont Public Records Act.

Abenaki Women Share Heritage With Champlain College Community

"We say the drum is the heartbeat of Mother Earth and it keeps everything equal, sound," says Lucy Cannon-Neel, who taught the class.

Professor Fred Wiseman Speaks at Echo Center

Abenaki historians celebrate harvest dinner at ECHO

Chief Don Stevens Speaks at Echo Center

Abenaki chief explains year without summer 200 years ago.

Talk given by Prof. Fred Wiseman

Vermont Abenaki Heritage


VPR Podcast - Brave Little State

What Is The Status Of The Abenaki Native Americans In Vermont Today?