In 2006, after years of debate, the Vermont Legislature granted Vermont’s Abenaki official state recognition. But critics say the law was worded so broadly it failed to accomplish one of its main goals -to allow Abenaki craftsmen to market their arts and crafts as native made. Critics also say that although the law established a 7-person Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs, it failed to give the Commission the power it needed to bring about the advantages native groups hoped recognition would provide.
Mark Mitchell is the Chairman of the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs. He spoke with VPR’s Jane Lindholm about the issue.