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Comment Archives: stories: Arts + Life: History

Re: “Exploring Mt. Philo With Historian Judy Chaves

The article includes an example of the minimization of a 10,000 year-long indigenous presence in the landscape, exemplifying usage patterns as ephemeral and insubstantial. This biased trope is deployed in comparison to later European practices such as fences/walls, permanent structures, commoditized agriculture, and extractive industry. Here, the statement is made: "There's no evidence that Native Americans lived on the mountain, but they may have used it as a strategic lookout." This in spite of the fact that post-Contact history was and is exactly that as well.

The Champlain Sea was near 450 feet above current Lake levels. Mt. Philo was an island at the time, projecting only a fraction of its mass above the surrounding water. It would have been utilized by the region's first inhabitants for occupation, food processing, and reconnaissance. With a broad perspective on the landscape, the eminence would play a significant role for their Native descendants. The Abenaki have their own name for the landmark: Mategwasaden - Rabbit Mountain. Immediately west, Thompson's Point remained a significant Abenaki community well into recent times.

In an ironic twist, the management plan for Mount Philo State Park states: "In the late 1800s, William Higbee, a Charlotte resident and journalist, wrote that Mt. Philo was named for an Indian fighter and famous hunter named Philo who camped on the mountain. One of the first written references to the Devils Chair was in an 1896 article that describes a natural rock outcrop by that name." People who are able to "read between the lines" will recognize here another displacement trope: the Devil epithet is often attached to Native sacred landscape features, and a description of "chair" or "seat" can refer to an elevated ceremonial site, used in recognition for its exposure to the sweep of landscape and sky.

5 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Rich Holschuh on 11/01/2018 at 12:19 PM

Re: “Burlington Moves Forward on Reenvisioning Memorial Auditorium

Just make sure Don the con doesn't do the job!

3 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Gi Grape on 10/11/2018 at 1:37 PM

Re: “Burlington Moves Forward on Reenvisioning Memorial Auditorium

Yes, saving a non-historic building for $25 million makes total financial sense. I mean, you totally could not have a nice new energy efficient and use appropriate building with parking for that price. Too bad we still don't have that grain elevator.

8 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by SputnikNuts on 10/10/2018 at 1:45 PM

Re: “Early Sedition: How a Thin-Skinned U.S. President Jailed a Vermont Newspaperman

Daniel Fowle of the NH Gazette also faced repression.

Posted by Steve William Lindsey on 09/26/2018 at 10:37 PM

Re: “An Almost-Auction of Abenaki Artifacts Reopens Old Wounds

Well first off I wasn't speaking about you Brett T. whoever "you" or or your mother are. She might be "Abenaki" she might even have a membership card now or past tense. That's doesn't make her an Abenaki. But then again, you aren't using your full name so transparency, (as usual)... is one sided here. So prove me wrong, respectfully said. SHOW me the evidence that proves that your mother was/ is an Abenaki. What is her name, birth date, parents names, dates, places, her parents names and births, marriage, deaths, and locations. Again, it's about transparency.

AND then show me how digging up the skeletal remains and artifacts connect to your mother or any of her ancestors, that are being dug up in and around Swanton, by state-sanctioned looters called archaeologists! When you can the above requests, then by all means I will be proven wrong. Until then I stand by what I've stated in my initial post. And that is, that these skeletal remains of indigenous peoples buried in N'dakinna (Swanton in particular) do not belong ancestrally or otherwise to you, to your mother, or any of your ancestors, and certainly not to the group up there in Swanton. It's identity theft and blatant theft (imho) based on my research, the State's research by the AG's Office, and the BIA's research and just plain common sense!

Posted by Douglas Buchholz on 09/18/2018 at 8:58 PM

Re: “An Almost-Auction of Abenaki Artifacts Reopens Old Wounds

Are you saying my mother isnt an Abenaki from the Swanton, VT area? Youre wrong

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Brett T on 09/18/2018 at 8:43 PM

Re: “Final Tour of St. Joseph's Orphanage Spurs Haunting Memories


Posted by MAURA LABELLE on 09/16/2018 at 6:59 AM

Re: “Vermont Considers Dumping Dorothy Canfield Fisher Over Ties to Eugenics Movement

After reading the article I am saddened, because I have grown up with the DCF book award and it was a large but of my childhood. Despite that I do believe Dow and agree that some of the things Fisher has done should make her/her name ineligible for such an award.

Posted by Sloan Wyse on 09/13/2018 at 7:34 PM

Re: “Japanese Atomic Bomb Survivors Bring Their Stories to Vermont

I wonder what Healthy Living has to say about this...

Posted by The Oracle on 09/13/2018 at 11:55 AM

Re: “Vermont Considers Dumping Dorothy Canfield Fisher Over Ties to Eugenics Movement

It seems that we we are having a very hard time trying to deal with people who say very nice things and are helpful to the community but then as a person they make bad decisions and actions.

Posted by Alex Lier on 09/13/2018 at 9:36 AM

Re: “Japanese Atomic Bomb Survivors Bring Their Stories to Vermont

The accounts are truly moving. Yet we are blindly marching towards third world war. Why?
The pattern of history is clear. Power (manifested as interest) has been present in every conflict throughout history no exception. It is the underlying motivation for war. Other cultural factors might change, but not power.
Interest cuts across all apparently unifying principles: family, kin, nation, religion, ideology, politics - everything. We unite with the enemies of our principles, because that is what serves our interest. It is power, not any of the above concepts, that is the cause of war.
It is the one thing we will destroy ourselves for, as well as everyone else. When core interests are threatened and existential threat looms nations go to war. There can be no compromise on these. As a result every civilization/nation eventually gets the war it is trying to avoid: utter defeat. This applies as much today as any other time in history. Deterrence doctrine, made for the 20th century Cold War is irrelevant in the 21st and will ultimately fail us. Deterrence can no longer prevent the scenarios where Mutual Assured Destruction will be resorted to. We will soon face the scenario that (unlike the Cuban missile crisis) one protagonist will not be able to step back from the brink, blindly stumbling into a situation they cannot de-escalate. All that is left is Deterrences fall-back position annihilation.
Leaders and decision-makers delude themselves, thinking they can avoid their fate they cant. If survival is threatened, there is no alternative to war, however destructive.

Posted by peter mcloughlin on 09/13/2018 at 7:52 AM

Re: “Final Tour of St. Joseph's Orphanage Spurs Haunting Memories

I have been reading all of the articles and would love to meet some of the people who lived there or had relatives and friends that lived there. You can email me at

Posted by Gi Grape on 09/08/2018 at 1:51 PM

Re: “Final Tour of St. Joseph's Orphanage Spurs Haunting Memories

My mother left the Catholic Church when her father died in 1951, when I was five years old. She told me often of the nuns in parochial school who would not brook the questions that she would ask as a small child, such as, if God is so smart, why did He create the fly. That got her a severe reprimand which her father responded to by threatening to cut off his support if they ever treated her that way again. What she objected to was a church which would not allow you to question authority and which threatened children with hellfire and told them that they were evil. As a result, I was raised with my brother and sisters in the Universalist Church, which taught tolerance and encouraged understanding and questioning. Everything that I have read about St. Joseph's Orphanage sounds like this ignorant and authoritarian church that my mother left and never returned to.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by rwyckoff on 09/07/2018 at 7:34 PM

Re: “Final Tour of St. Joseph's Orphanage Spurs Haunting Memories

I do hope God has set aside a special place in hell for all those in positions of authority who abused innocent little children!

2 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by ginelda on 08/27/2018 at 2:08 PM

Re: “What's Wrong With the Vermont State Flag? Almost Everything, According to an Amateur Vexillologist

Simple solution: Change the flag from the current design to the Vermont Republic's old flag.

Posted by Billy Ruben on 08/05/2018 at 7:48 AM

Re: “Westford Ho!

After googling Westford senior citizens group I looked down the different hits that came up. One of them was this article! I loved reading about our little town. The article is a bit out of date as a lot has happened sense then. Though I would not be the one to talk too! An updated version would be so fantastic! One of the sad thing for us is The White Church is no longer functioning as a church. There are music series events held. And the Brick meeting house has finished the repares!

Posted by Cathy Baker Gwozdz on 07/21/2018 at 4:03 AM

Re: “Final Tour of St. Joseph's Orphanage Spurs Haunting Memories

Does anyone know how I could find out if my great grandmother was there in 1880-1887? Is there a list of children anywhere? She and her sister aged out.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Mary Adams-Moe on 04/08/2018 at 6:46 PM

Re: “Recalling the Flu Pandemic of 1918

Ken, do you think we'll see anything like the Spanish flu again? Some of the prediction markets are suggesting it's pretty likely inasmuch as you trust those (see here: for instance)

Posted by Christian Williams on 03/01/2018 at 12:20 AM

Re: “Vermont's Tiny Historical Societies Have a Big Mission: Preserving the Past

Ever wonder why Burlington, the Queen City, largest metropolis in Vermont, has no historical museum? The main reason is the Fleming Museum at UVM. In the 1930s the Fleming director wanted to make the museum the premier Vermont history museum. He started an effort to collect relics from around the state. There was a flood of stuff brought to the museum, everything from hairs from John Brown's beard to nails from Ethan Allen's house. Hundreds of Vermont relics were dropped off, in fact more stuff came in then the museum knew what to do with. The museum opened an exhibit that went under the name of Colonial Vermont, Early New England, etc...displaying a 1/4 of the collection while most of it remained in storage. The physical collection had a related paper collection, Vermont archives-the Wilbur Collection, which eventually became today's Special Collections in the library. A decade after the push to collect Vermont historical objects the museum changed focus, needed space, and the director tried to unload the collection. He tried to give it to the Shelburne Museum but the SM declined. Some of the relics were literally thrown away but most of it went into storage where it remains today. The Fleming Museum was, for a while, considered the Burlington history museum, but the Fleming eventually decided it did not want to be that. The bulk of the collection remains in storage. Meanwhile, there has never again been a sustained effort to create an actual Burlington history museum.

1 like, 2 dislikes
Posted by Antiquarian on 01/13/2018 at 9:14 AM

Re: “Vermont Considers Dumping Dorothy Canfield Fisher Over Ties to Eugenics Movement

A poorly worded pamphlet, some out-of-context descriptions of fictional characters, serving on a board to promote "good people" moving to Vermont... Scant evidence to scuttle this accomplished woman off into the dustbin of history. Have you read "Little House on the Prarie" recently? Shockingly racist descriptions within led to some amazing conversations with my ten-year-old about how and why people held those views in the 1800's and early 1900's. We were able to talk about and contextualize these things because they were not "cleansed" from the book. Let's talk about the views this woman held or was perceived to have held... Let's investigate the true nature of the past and not symbolically "purify" the past, but rather understand it and see it for what it was so that its repugnant aspects not be repeated. Ms. Dow, acting as sole judge and jury, is practicing
a virtual form of eugenics on history, which, in my opinion, serves no one's best interest except, perhaps, her own.

7 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by candace on 09/26/2017 at 5:03 PM

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