Native Americans

Vermont has a remarkably rich and diverse Native American archeological heritage that spans nearly 13,000 years of human history. Native American sites range from campsites used by Paleo-Indians (the earliest Vermonters) to 12th century farming sites (the earliest known in northern New England). More typical are the small, largely invisible, seasonal camps that span both the very long period of pre-Contact history and the very short period of recorded history. Native communities have continually lived in Vermont. Native knowledge, experience, and traditions have deeply influenced many aspects of Vermont's rich history.Today, many Native Americans continue to honor their ancestral traditions and values throughout Vermont.

The Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs is charged by law to recognize the historic and cultural contributions of Native Americans in Vermont, to protect and strengthen Native American heritage, and to address needs in state policy, programs, and actions.

Some of Vermont’s rich and ancient Native American history is interpreted at the Chimney Point State Historic Site. The Lake Champlain Voyages of Discovery project revealed untold stories about the Chimney Point area of Lake Champlain. A publication and web site was created to highlight the many stories and memories as well as to provide a way to learn history together through archeology. Lake Champlain Voyages of Discovery: Bringing History Home takes you on a trip of exploration through the little known chapters of Lake Champlain and Vermont history. Learn about ancient Native settlements in the Champlain Valley, Native peoples’ first contacts with Europeans, Vermont’s 18th century French settlements, and many interesting stories of Vermont’s past.

The award-winning Champlain: The Lake Between  video and its accompanying curriculum on Lake Champlain’s Native people and history was produced by, and is available from, Vermont Public Television.  The Special Edition includes a rich assortment of learning activities and resources for you and for students.

A collection of interesting readings assembled here will further stimulate your interest in Vermont archeology, Vermont’s Abenakis and other Native communities, and our contact and settlement history.

Historic Highgate Camp PhotographSeveral excellent publications tell the stories of Vermont’s rich Native history and traditions:

Abenakis and Their Neighbors Resource Guide  - An excellent source of information about the Vermont Abenakis by Frederick M. Wiseman, this resource guide contains a rich assortment of information and links to help you find information, speakers, readings, and more on Vermont’s Abenakis.

Powerful History: The Archaeology Of Native Peoples in the Champlain Lowlands – The Vermont Electric Power Company’s (VELCO) recent publication offers a fascinating overview of Vermont’s 13,000 year old rich tapestry of history and cultures.

To learn more about Vermont's Native American history, culture, and traditions, go to Curricula and Lesson Plans