‘Words on the Water’ features stories of the Abenaki

(August 7, 2019)

Since construction of the Vernon Dam flooded the Retreat Meadows 110 years ago, Abenaki petroglyphs — ancient images carved in stone — have rested submerged, unseen evidence of the significant Native presence all around us.

A special installment of the monthly Brattleboro Words Project’s free Roundtable Discussion series will be held on the waters of the West River/Connecticut River confluence to explore this presence and celebrate ongoing Vermont Land Trust conservation efforts adjacent to the site at The Marina Restaurant on Friday, Aug. 16, at 6 p.m., for “Words on the Water: Stories of Wantastegok, the West River and Abenaki Presence.”

Archaeologist and diver Annette Spaulding, whose 25-year search led to finding the petroglyphs, will be joined by Rich Holschuh, a member of the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs, and anthropologist and indigenous-studies scholar Jessica Dolan.

Dolan and Holschuh are working on podcasts and school curriculum development on indigenous studies for seven sites for The Brattleboro Words Project, a multi-year collaboration between the Brattleboro Historical Society, the Brattleboro Literary Festival, Write Action, Brooks Memorial Library and Marlboro College.

It is backed by a National Endowment for the Humanities matching grant and funding from The Windham Foundation, Edward Jones, Brattleboro Savings & Loan, and other area sponsors.