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Koasek Affairs

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State Will Consider Changing Name Of Mt. Ascutney To Reflect Region's Abenaki History
VPR News
Listen 4:00 minutes long

Rob Hutchins stands in front of the West Windsor municipal building with Mount Ascutney in the background. Hutchins gathered signatures for a petition to change the name of the mountain to Kaskadenak, an Abenaki name
A Windsor County resident wants to change the name of Mount Ascutney, and the state department that has the authority to do so has scheduled a special hearing to consider his request.

If you drive along Interstate 91 in Windsor County today, you can't miss Ascutney. The mountain looms over the landscape, and Mount Ascutney has lent its name to businesses, nonprofit groups and even the village of Ascutney.

But Rob Hutchins, who lives in Hartland, said he's learned that there is a long history behind the mountain. This learning process all started for him with a pile of rocks.

"What happened was, I had a pond built, and I found pillow rocks," he said. "Pillow rocks are formed in the ocean where the lava flows up in."

Hutchins said the volcanic pillow rocks he found near his house in Hartland about three years ago led him on a geological and anthropological journey.

He learned that Mount Ascutney was once a volcano. And that the lava flowed across the nearby landscape, forming the wide mountain we see today.

And he learned that the name "Ascutney" is a made-up name, a kind of anglicized version of the Abenaki name "Ascutegnik" which means "White Water",

Hutchins says the original inhabitants of what is now Windsor County called it "Kaskadenak," which means "Wide Mountain".

"You know I always thought [Ascutney] was an Abenaki name. I think everybody around here thought it was an Abenaki name", he said. "When Abenaki Indians named things, it had meaning. This name has no meaning. I'm thinking, we got the wrong name here",

Mount Ascutney looms over the landscape in Windsor County, standing alone and high over the rest of the land.
Paul Bunnell, chief of the Koasek Traditional Band of the Sovereign Abenaki Nation, worked with Hutchins to help track down the proper spelling and pronunciation of Kaskadenak.

Bunnell said there's support throughout the Abenaki nation to rename mountains and rivers and to make sure it's accurate when the changes do occur.

"It's bringing the history more correct", said Bunnell. "And we're trying to, when we do get involved like this, is just to make it correct where our history is not being erased. You know, it gets to a point when you start erasing things, then it's gone".

The State of Vermont Board of Libraries has the statutory authority to rename mountains, lakes and other geographic sites. The board has scheduled a special hearing for July 17 to consider the name change.

If the state chooses to pursue a new name, the change would also need approval from the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.

"It's bringing the history more correct. And we're trying to, when we do get involved like this, is just to make it correct where our history is not being erased. You know, it gets to a point when you start erasing things, then it's gone".
~Chief Paul Bunnell, Koasek Traditional Band of the Sovereign Abenaki Nation

The Board of Vermont Libraries has reached out to the towns of Windsor, West Windsor and Weathersfield, where the mountain is located, for input.

Chatter on social media has been largely against the idea, and the Windsor Facebook page post seeking comment on the proposal received nearly 200 comments.

At a selectboard meeting Monday in West Windsor, about a dozen people showed up. Hutchins didn't get much support from those in attendance.

"First of all I'm very respectful of the desire of the Abenakis to change the name, and the effort you have gone through to do that", said Bruce Boedtker at the meeting. "My real concern is the name 'Ascutney' is really - as far as this is community is concerned - is the heart, the soul and vitality of this area. And while I do appreciate the fact that there's some history behind this, I think it is a little bit too late".

There was a lot of talk at the meeting of doing a better job of recognizing the mountain's former name and of introducing curriculum into the nearby schools to teach kids more about the original inhabitants of the region.

But no one from West Windsor supported the name change, and the selectboard voted to write a letter to the state opposing the idea.

The town of Windsor also discussed the issue at their selectboard meeting this week and the town of Weathersfield will address it at a meeting next week, before the Department of Libraries hearing this month.

Koasek (Cowasuck)Traditional Band of the Sovereign Abenaki Nation
Has been Honored and invited to

44th Annual Native American Pow Wow 9 June 2018 La Salette Shrine, 947 Park St., Attleboro, Ma.

Saturday 10 AM to 4 PM.

The Wollomonuppoag Indian Council and Chief Mark has invited our Koasek (Cowasuck) Tribe to attend. We will attend Saturday, but not Sunday though everyone is welcome to stay both days. Please try to attend in support of our tribal activities and meet other members. For more details please contact Chief Paul Bunnell, at


Our Koasek Lecture at Woodstock Vermont High School 4 June 2018

By Chief Paul Bunnell & Council member David Nepveu

Above photo is (from left to right) Zack Ralph, Carol Stedman, Chief Paul Bunnell, David Nepveu

Three Lectures:
(1) Carol Stedman on Environmental Concerns and Issues.
(2) Zack Ralph on Community Organizing & Actitivism.
(3) Koasek Chief Paul Bunnell & Council David Nepveu on the Koasek Abenaki Tribe and History and Challenges for Peace.

High School Presentation about Community Organizing and Activism and
Sustainable Woodstock was live, with Carol Stedmanand Zach Ralph at Woodstock Union High School.
On Monday: Presentation to the WUHS 9th grade class on community organizing and activism!

Here is the complete Video of all 3 lectures: We start in the last hour of all the lectures: The volume is not to clear plus the camera was not aimed at the screen, but the talk was very good and the 100 9th. Graders were an excellent audience.

Woodstock Union Middle/High School
70 Amsden Way
Woodstock, Vermont 05091
(802) 457-1317
High School Principal: Gregory Schillinger
Associate High School Principal: Garon Smail
Middle School Principal: Dana Peterson

Here is the invitation from the organizer Zack Ralph:

From: Zachariah Ralph <>
To: "" <>
Sent: Thursday, May 10, 2018, 5:21:06 PM EDT
Subject: Seeking Support for High School Presentation

My name is Zachariah Ralph. I am a program coordinator for Sustainable Woodstock, a small environmental non-profit in Woodstock, VT, We often help with educational programs for our local high school and middle school. I was recently contacted by the high school to give a 2 hour presentation on social and environmental activism for 100 9th graders on June 4th from 8am-10am. The teachers are particularly interested in learning more about social activism around the topic of indigenous people. I am happy to talk about environmental activism with the students, but am not comfortable speaking on behalf of native people so instead would like to invite someone from the local Koasek Traditional Band to come and speak.
I was wondering if you thought that someone from the Koasek Traditional Band would be interested in giving this type of presentation and discussion. If so, is there someone in particular who you could connect me with to discuss the presentation further?
---Zachariah K. Ralph
Program Coordinator
Cell: (802)-280-5066 Office: (802)-457-2911

David and I were received very well and new friendships have been formed. Zack Ralph is looking forward to hearing more on the Abenaki issues in Vermont, past and present. We covered the Vermont Eugenics against Native Americans and the chaotic creation with the Vermont Native Commission in its early years. We stressed the importance of promoting peace among the Abenaki and education the general public.

I want to thank everyone including the Woodstock students for all the interest in Native American issues.

Olwini, Chief Paul "Gwilawato" Bunnell

Keene State Breaks Ground on Expansion Project for Holocaust and Genocide Studies


Council David Nepveu, Chief Paul Bunnell and Koasek member Beverly Taylor

Keene State College today broke ground on an expansion to its Mason Library, a project aimed at bringing its academic programming and research resources on genocide studies under one roof.

The college offers the only undergraduate degree in the country specifically focused on the subject. The launch of that academic program about 10 years ago followed the earlier founding of the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies in 1983.

Construction this summer and fall will create additional classroom, office and storage space at the school's main library, where the Cohen Center is housed.

Here is the thoughtful letter from Hank Knight to Chief Paul Bunnell:

Dear Chief Bunnell,
My name is Hank Knight and I serve as Prof. of Holocaust and Genocide Studies and Director of the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College in Keene. I am writing to you for guidance as we approach the groundbreaking of a future addition to Mason Library for both the Cohen Center and the department of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the college.

My colleagues and I are mindful that our College sits on traditional Abanaki land. As we approach the groundbreaking for our project - Monday, May 7 - we have asked College officials to find an appropriate and respectful way to honor Abanaki tradition in undertaking this project. I write not fully aware of what kind of guidance I am seeking as much as wanting to proceed with as much respect and care as possible.

We have only recently (last Friday) been informed that we have the opportunity for a formal groundbreaking, so I apologize for the last minute nature of this email. Nonetheless, I wanted to reach out to you for guidance in hopes that we might proceed in the most appropriate way possible.

Thank you for your patience and understanding,

Hank Knight,
Henry F. Knight, Director
Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
Professor of Holocaust Studies
Keene State College, Keene, NH 03435

The groundbreaking ceremony Monday featured a traditional blessing by local Abenaki elders.

"We particularly wanted to recognize that you always have to take care of your own space, your own world," said Cohen Center director Hank Knight. "We haven't done a great job of that with Native American peoples in this country. ...If we're going to be talking about things all over the world, we also need to be talking about our own backyard."

The present Mason Library,
Keene State

Design of new wing

Koasek Supporters:
Council David Nepveu, Member, Layla Burke Hastings, Chief Paul Bunnell and Member, Beverly Taylor

Our thanks go out to Hank Knight and all the others to invite us to honor those Abenaki who were the first settlers of Keene NH and giving us the honor to address our ancestors by asking them permission during the dedication of the Holocaust and Genocide Studies Center, at the Mason Library where we hope to support it by sharing the Abenaki struggles of the past and present, and for the hope of the future. This place is good medicine.

Koasek, Chief Paul "Gwilawato" Bunnell

Elder Dan Osgood Sr
As many of you know, our Elder Dan Osgood Sr just came home after suffering a stroke. He is doing as fine as can be expected, and is now grtting acquainted with his new surroundings.

Our Pipe Keeper and Dan's sister, Janice (Free Spirit) Osgood welcomes Dan home, where he gets to try out his walker and his new chair.

Council Meeeting
This Saturday, 22 July 2017, at 1:00 PM, is our Telephone conference; everyone is invited         to take part.
Just contact me for info. Come and take part in your tribe's activities and volunteer to the many areas where help is needed.

Urgent need for Blankets Storer !
We are still in an urgent need for one of you to volunteer your dry secured space for our opportunity to help those in need for blankets. We sent nearly 1000 blankets and materials to Standing Rock last fall to help them get through the winter. We only ask our volunteer to house the Berkshire Blankets in a dry location and when we find a donor they will come by and pick them up, and plus the delivery person will drop them off. There is nothing you have to do except show them where they are and arranged around your schedule. There will be many thanks (Oliwni) from our great spirit and our entire membership. This volunteer would be best located in Southern New Hampshire or North and Mid-Massachusetts, and possibly Southern Vermont. Please contact me at very soon.

Trail of Tears Pow Wow  
Our Council member Sandra McGrath and her family will attend this year's 30th anniversary. We are honored by them inviting us to have our flag presented in the Grand Entry. We look forward to seeing all the great photos of this year's event !

Koasek T-Shirts

Our Koasek T-shirts are in and for sale, until stock is gone !

Our logo looks really nice against our tribal color of green. You can purchase them from Chief Paul Bunnell for $17 (US) or $19 (Can) each which includes shipping. You can pay via Paypal at or send your check addressed to Paul Bunnell, at 32 Holt Mill Rd #202, Weare, NH 03281. Sizes are: Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, 2X and 3X.

Have a look at the photo above, where Chief Paul Bunnell, Tim Conn, Rebecca and Gemma Bunnell are proudly wearing our new brand new T-shirts... Don't they look great...?

Flute Class

Yesterday, 7 May 2016, a flute class was held by Robert "Kunnaway" Turner. It was very educational as Robert told us the ancients stories of the flute and the many types of flutes and the woods use to create them.
We had a great morning meeting each others and exchanging information, something very valuable to our people. Kunnaway showed us how he makes his hand made flutes, all with an individual character, "His Children", as he calls them...
Every one was so please to have Kunnaway with us and we plan to invite him back to teach the medicine wheel and other things that will help us return to our ancestors ways. My thanks to the Mardin family, Nicole, Peter and Seala for all the hall arrangements, and to Tim for some of the photos.
And a very special thanks for attending to Rich Holschuh, Beverly Taylor, Jan and Ted Hastings (Love their Koasek shirts!)  

Walaswaldam gwesiha nis Pilki !

Our Tribe has been blessed with a wonderful Land donation...!  

29 acres in Acworth NH

Carolyn Jerad, a generous supporter, has donated 29 acres of her family land on 467 Cold Pond Rd, in Acworth NH, located near the Connecticut River, elevation 1600 feet. Carolyn went through great expense to have the property surveyed and mapped out.

Our most since thanks to Carolyn and Craig for their kindness and generosity !

A day trip is planned for next Spring, to celebrate these great gifs with a welcoming drum and song ceremony.

All our members are welcome to attend. We will keep you inform when plans are set for this very special event.


Koasek Traditional Band of the Sovereign Abenaki Nation New Flag & Seal

After a few years of designing and redesigning, by 28 July 2011, our Tribal Seal and Nation flag was finally created. This image is copywritten, as it was designed by our tribe, for our tribe. Each symbol represents the following:

Flag Symbols - Green is considered the common Abenaki color.
The mountains represent the Green and White Mountains if this area.
Image of mountains.
The yellow tells that we are the peoples of the rising and first sun.
Koasek Abenaki Nation seal.
The corn celebrates the 2006 return of our historic Abenaki corn by the Caley family who kept it safe for 250 years in its original state. They present it back to the Koasek Nation.
Image of Abenaki corn.
The Birchwood canoe represents our way of
travel throughout all the rivers.
Image of birch canoe.
The Sturgeon was a source of food in past times when they were plentiful. Image of sturgeon.
The loon is to represent the loon`s mournful call to Gluscap/Glouscape.
Image of loon.
Our paddles our tools of travel.
Image of canoe paddles.
Though the Abenaki people all sprang from the Ash Tree,these three pines here represent and remind us of the last major "Cowasuck village" having been occupied by the people who called this village the "pine tree place.
The grass grown in the meadows was the source of our sweet grass, medicines, herbs, and weaving materials.

Image of grass.

Following is the story that inspired our use of the loon . . .

The whole earth was submerged, and but a few persons survived. They had taken refuge on the back of a turtle, who had reached so great an age that his shell was mossy, like the bank of a rivulet. ( this indicates the remnant of an ancient civilization) In this forlorn condition a loon flew that way, which they asked to dive and bring up land. He complied, but found no bottom. Then he flew far away, and returned with a small quantity of earth in his bill. Guided by him, the turtle swam to the place, where a spot of dry land was found. There the survivors settled and re-peopled the land. ( this indicates that a new civilization was formed out of an old place.) The Loon indicates a "clan symbol" or the representation of a particular people or tribe. This Loon clan/tribe, was sent out to find "new land" for the people of the old turtle (land) who were seeking an escape from, and, or a new direction/growth or freedom from oppression. The Loon clan in fact, is one of the first mentioned in the Abenaki/ Glouscape stories!

If you want to purchase a flag you can contact Chief Paul Bunnell

Note: Credit for creation of the seal was the Tribal Council, former Chief Brian Chenevert, Chief Nathan Pero, Chief Paul Bunnell, Ken Mortz, McAdam, Karen Mica,and a donation from Jeff Hubbard.


2013 Pow Wow

Chief Wolf Spirit Scholarship Fund 4th Annual Native Gathering &
Pow Wow

Gray Wolf Clan
Gary J. Dumas – Chief Wolf Spirit
Abenaki Horse Farm Stable
Ellsworth Hill Rd., Campton, New Hampshire
8 & 9 September 2013 / 11 AM to 4 PM Grand Entry at Noon
Invited Tribe - Koasek Traditional Band of the Sovereign Abenaki Nation

All who attended the Pow Wow experienced a very special time. For the tribe members, this was a spiritual Pow Wow - starting with the entry, by Chief Wolf Spirit on his horse, to the lighting of the sacred fire and the special events in which we participated. We thank Chief Wolf Spirit for inviting us to join with them in this Pow Wow. It will never be forgotten.

Chief Gwiliwato (Paul)
Chief Wolf Spirit (Gary)