As part of my IV-E traineeship, I participated in a trip up the road from my house to Swanton to meet Louise Lampman-Larivee, a descendant of Grandma Lampman. I got a confused when she explained the linage, but what I think I got was Louise is a member of a federally recognized family band of Abenaki who are indigenous to this particular area of Vermont and connected with the Mississquoi tribe (they have documents going back 16 generations tying them to the land!). I couldn’t follow the story, but the Abenaki tribe in Vermont are not federally recognized (meaning that Louise gets benefits from the federal government that her cousin, who was also there, does not). Louise and Charlie took us to different parts of Swanton to talk about the history of the Abenaki in Vermont and more specifically, to talk about the role child welfare work has played in their lives since the eugenics movement at the turn of the twentieth century. The Abenaki were a target of the eugenics movement in northern Vermont and the community is still healing wounds caused by the havoc of children being taken from their family because of a difference in cultural beliefs. At the end they took us to the Grandma Lampman Unit of the Mississuoi Wildlife Refuge, which is federally protected land that Louise’s family fought for three years for and is why her immediate family is federally recognized. The picture above, which I didn’t take because of all the mosquitoes that day, is just a couple dozen feet in from the road. If you were just driving by, you wouldn’t know where you were. The whole experience is was amazing and I hope that I can really instill it into my practice when I start working for the state.
It also made me see how the women in my family are pretty nomadic and living in Vermont is my way of carrying that on. My paternal great-grandparents came over from eastern Europe and my maternal Grandmother came over from Puerto Rico. My Granma moved from rural Arkansas to suburban Kansas and my mom moved all over when she was young before she ended up in Kansas City. I think wherever I end up will be where I’m supposed to be just by virtue of these fact that no one in my family stays put in one place their whole life.