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Reclaiming the Ancestors
Decolonizing a Taken Prehistory of the Far Northeast
Frederick Matthew Wiseman

2005 • 312 pp. 39 illus. 4 tables 6 x 9"
Native American Studies / Ethnic Studies

$24.95 Paperback, 978-1-58465-399-8

"Wiseman's synthesis of widely accepted archaeology with an innovative interpretive scheme centered on the Wabanaki is welcome and convincing."—Choice

Combining personal history and scientific training with archaeological and paleoecological data, Wiseman provides a new perspective on the 11,000-year history of the Wabanaki of the East Coast.

Reclaiming the Ancestors sets the record straight about the early history of the Wabanaki - the Abenaki, Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Malecite, and Mi'kmaq. Wiseman proposes a sovereigntist approach to understanding the current archaeological understanding of Abenaki prehistory. He begins with an overview of the conflicting views of First Nations and archaeologists regarding Indigenous history and how he developed his research design model. Over the next 10 chapters the book explores and discusses the periods of Wabanaki prehistory. The final chapter takes the history to the beginning of the early contact period. The author makes he point that documentation of Wabanaki territory is of vital importance in today’s political climate of Vermont. The Wabanaki face major obstacles as politicians utilize archaeological evidence against the Wabanaki’s push for self-governance and recognition. The book contains limited black and white photographs of artifacts because the author made a conscious choice to respect items that were from grave sites. A fascinating history that dispels many previously-held academic viewpoints of the Wabanaki First Nations.

Reviews / Endorsements

“One of the boldest scholars on the Wabanaki academic frontier... Readers looking for extensive and subtle discussions of prehistoric artifacts in the region will find this to be a useful addition to their libraries. Wiseman’s use of some oral histories, native philosophy, personal reflection, and quotations from native scholars and tribal historians is refreshing and long overdue.”Vermont Historical Review

FREDERICK MATTHEW WISEMAN is chair of the Department of Humanities at Johnson State College in Johnson, Vermont; founder and director of the Abenaki Tribal Museum and Cultural Center in Swanton, Vermont; and author of The Voice of the Dawn: An Autohistory of the Abenaki Nation (UPNE, 2000). Before devoting himself to studying his Abenaki heritage, he was Principal Research Scientist at MIT’s Center for Materials Research in Archaeology and Ethnology.

Thu, 14 Mar 2019 13:07:46 -0500