The Bulletin Board

New Abenaki Trails sculpture will highlight local Indigenous culture 

By: - June 1, 2022 3:35 pm

A bas relief sculpture depicts an Abenaki elder of the past standing behind a contemporary Abenaki person. (Courtesy)

Fifteen New Hampshire artists have received grants through the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. One will fund a sculpture highlighting the state’s Abenaki heritage and contemporary culture.

Grants, paid for with CARES Act pandemic relief money, range from $1,000 to $6,000 and will fund projects that include a singing workshop in Portsmouth for seniors, a Manchester community mural program, and multi-generational social dances in Tamworth. 

Artist Carol Lake is creating a sculpture to highlight Abenaki culture and heritage in New Hampshire. (Courtesy)

Canterbury artist Carol Lake received $5,865 to create a bas relief sculpture that will be placed along the Abenaki Trail in Contoocook to commemorate Indigenous people in New Hampshire.

Lake said she approached members of the Nulhegan band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation with the idea and worked with the tribe to determine what the sculpture should depict. It will show a tribal elder of the past in regalia standing behind a modern Abenaki tribesman looking toward the future, according to Lake.

Lake said that while growing up in New Hampshire, she found the school curriculum largely silent on the state’s Indigenous people. She hopes the sculpture will help people understand the New Hampshire history and culture of Abenaki people. A plaque, funded by the tribe, will accompany the sculpture with signage in English, Abenaki, and Braille, Lake said.

An unveiling will be held on Oct. 10 at the Riverway Park in the center of Contoocook Village. All projects must be completed by Oct. 31. The grant program is meant to help artists impacted by COVID-19 find new, long-term employment opportunities by creating new partnerships.

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Amanda Gokee
Amanda Gokee

Amanda Gokee is the New Hampshire Bulletin’s energy and environment reporter. She previously reported on these issues at VTDigger. Amanda grew up in Vermont and is a graduate of Harvard University. She received her master’s degree in liberal studies, with a concentration in creative writing, from Dartmouth College. Her work has also appeared in the LA Review of Books and the Valley News.