Prepared with the help of Donna and John Moody, Winter Center for Indigenous Traditions, Norwich, VT.
Vital Communities’ offices and service area are located within the sovereign homeland of the Abenaki Nation and People. Since ancient times, the Abenaki have been here and always will be. We pay our respects to them and to the wisdom of their elders and culture.
The towns in Vital Communities’ service area are located in the Agwedai Wolhanak (Upper Valley) of the Kwanitekw (Connecticut River) in the N’dakinna (Our Land) in the middle of the ancient Abenaki Nation homeland that includes Vermont, New Hampshire, northern Massachusetts, western Maine, and southern Quebec. From Ktsi Ponetekw (Great Falls, the Abenaki name for Bellows Falls) to Koesek (the Pines, referring to Haverhill, NH, and Newbury, VT); Msquantekw (Red Fish/Salmon River, referring to the Baker River in Warren and Wentworth, NH) to the upper reaches of the Wôbitekw (White River) in Bethel, Randolph, and Chelsea, VT, this region is an ancient network of villages, subsistence grounds, gathering places, and places sacred to the Abenaki people extending back to glacial times. Every town and village, every watershed in the Upper Valley, has ancient and continuing Abenaki and Indigenous Peoples’ history, tradition, and family and community life.
We are aware that many newcomer families from Europe, Africa, and Asia who moved or fled to this region were welcomed from the 1600s on and given Indigenous seeds and plants, shown the ways of Sogalikan (maple sugaring), and introduced to many other crucial technologies and ways of living. These include the canoe, toboggan, snowshoe, and basket-making as well as methods of farming, fishing, and living with and caring for the land, water and air in good ways that are still widely practiced in the Abenaki homeland.
We hope we will continue to learn to care for the land and waters here in a better, more respectful way, in partnership with the many Abenaki Nation peoples.