Abenaki Artist Wins Remarkable Scholarship

 
 
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Vermont Abenaki Artists Assoc.

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BURLINGTON, Vt. - May 17, 2017 - PRLog -- Far from home, Lina Longtoe Schulmeisters of the Elnu Abenaki Tribe of southern Vermont and Vermont Abenaki Artists Association artist, spends her school days investing her education in a better future for all of us by studying environmental science at Eckerd College in St Petersberg, Fl. This week, she was awarded the Udall Undergraduate Scholarship in the category of Tribal Policy. The Udall Foundation's website notes that the "scholarship honors the legacies of [Representative] Morris Udall and [Secretary of the Interior] Stewart Udall". Students are eligible if they demonstrate exceptional leadership, public service and commitment to working toward resolving issues faced by Native American nations or the environment.

   Professor Kat Robinson-Malone, Ph. D., served as a mentor to Lina during the application process. Before Lina, "Eckerd has never had a Tribal Policy Udall winner," said Robinson-Malone in an email communication. "It is quite an honor… ."


   As for professional aspirations, Lina (featured left) says that she aims "to merge my background in environmental science and sustainability with Indigenous knowledge and values in order to act as a liaison between the Abenaki community at large and the United States government." While unpopular to many environmentalists, one essay from her application speaks of the significance of hunting and fishing rights as the primary subsistence strategy for many tribal citizens. She stresses that Indigenous communities should not be excluded from future discussions; "I do not want to see one of this country's most vulnerable populations left behind in discussions of how to save the planet and ourselves". Her commitment to Indigenous communities does not end there.

   Lina has served as the Tribal Documentarian for Elnu for the past ten years. She started with filming her grandfather as he tended to the family's traditional tobacco gardens. She has since expanded her work to include all four groups within the Vermont Abenaki Alliance. A short selection of her work is available on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/linalongtoe). Lina remains active even on the Eckerd College campus. Frustrated with the "radio silence" on campus this fall regarding the Water Protectors at Standing Rock, Lina founded the Indigenous Peoples Alliance (https://www.facebook.com/indigenousec) (IPA).

   With a mission to empower Indigenous students, create unity and allyship across campus and educate the student body, she organized many efforts to support Standing Rock from afar including an interfaith prayer service, fundraising, a postcard campaign, a petition of support, email blasts and town hall sessions. She created the first Native American Heritage Month on campus and arranged for a representative of the Walking With Our Sisters movement to speak on her campus. One day, Lina would like to turn IPA into a non-profit.

  "People need to be re-taught the value of our natural resources, how to protect them and discover empathy for their Indigenous neighbors," she says.

About the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association (VAAA)
Our mission is to promote Vermont's Indigenous arts and artists, to provide an organized central place to share creative ideas and professional development as entrepreneurs, and to have a method for the public to find and engage our artists. For more information about VAAA please visithttp://abenakiart.org  or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

About the Elnu Abenaki Tribe
In 2011, Governor Peter Shumlin granted state recognition to the Elnu Abenaki Tribebased in Southern Vermont.  Elnu citizens work to continue our cultural heritage through historical research, lectures and school programs, oral story-telling, singing, dancing and traditional craft making.  Our main focus is insuring that our traditions carry on to our children.   We are traditionalists trying to maintain our culture in a modern society.   For more information about visithttp://elnuabenakitribe.org

Contact
Vera Longtoe Sheehan
Director, Vermont Abenaki Artists Association
***@abenakiart.org
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Location:Burlington - Vermont - United States
Subject:Awards
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