Abenaki

This plant is commonly call self-heals, and it refers to plants in the genus Prunella. Herbalist Stephanie Cohen says it can treat skin and digestive issues.
Kathleen Masterson / VPR

To prevent their collective cultural knowledge about medicinal plants from disappearing, some Vermont tribal nations are sharing their expertise with those outside the native communities.

AP File Photo

The Public Service Board says the Missisquoi Abenaki Tribe can take part in the regulatory hearings for the proposed sale of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Gov. Peter Shumlin has issued an executive proclamation re-naming this year's Columbus Day holiday as Indigenous People's Day.

Fred Wiseman

Almost a decade ago, Abenaki scholar and paleoethnobotanist Fred Wiseman started working with Abenaki communities as part of the documentation process for federal tribal recognition. While he was in these communities, Wiseman noticed crops that had long been thought to have disappeared growing on the hillsides. It led him to start the Seeds of Renewal Project.

Toby Talbot / AP

The Wabanaki Confederacy is an alliance of native American nations that first came together centuries ago. They meet regularly to renew ties of friendship and discuss issues facing the native peoples of a wide geographical region.

One of the few Abenaki speakers in the world is Jesse Bowman Bruchac of Saratoga Springs, New York, and he's worked for most of his adult life to teach and preserve Abenaki.  "Every language holds within it an entire understanding of the world," says Bruchac. "When we lose a language, we've lost some of the diversity of human thought."

FikMik / iStock

"Kwai!" is an Abenaki greeting that even fewer people are going to understand in upcoming years. Language is constantly evolving, just as humans do. However, this means that as some languages become more dominant, others come to an end.