Exploring Abenaki relationships to water
BRATTLEBORO - The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center will present a special opening celebration for “Nebizun: Water Is Life,” a multimedia art exhibit that explores the Abenaki relationship to water, on Friday, June 24, at 7 pm. Admission is free and all are welcome.
The evening will begin with an Abenaki welcome and a greeting song. Vera Longtoe Sheehan, the exhibit’s curator and a member of the Elnu Abenaki tribe, will speak about the exhibit. Roger Longtoe Sheehan, chief of the Elnu Abenaki tribe, will attend the event, accompanied by a tribal council member and a historic preservation officer. Food and drink will be served outdoors.
“Nebizun: Water Is Life” features artwork by Abenaki artists of the Champlain Valley and Connecticut River Valley regions, including protest art created in support of the Native American water protectors who opposed the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The exhibit is presented in partnership with the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association and the Abenaki Arts & Education Center.
The phrase “Water Is Life” in the exhibit’s title is a reference and translation of the Lakota phrase “Mní wichóni,” the anthem of Native American water protectors during the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline through the homelands of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.
Vera Longtoe Sheehan is an artist, educator, and activist who has lectured and exhibited her work nationally and internationally. She is the director of the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association and the founder of the Abenaki Arts & Education Center. Her twined bags, baskets, and textiles reside in museums and private collections and can be seen in films and literature.
Roger Longtoe Sheehan is the chief of the Elnu Abenaki tribe and an artist, musician, and educator. He participates in Abenaki living history events and practices Native crafts, making soapstone pipes, bone tools, knives, war clubs, and tomahawks. He has lectured, performed, and done demonstrations at museums, historic sites, and schools across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.
“Nebizun: Water Is Life” will remain on view through Monday, October 10. For more information call (802) 257-0124 or visit brattleboromuseum.org.