University of Vermont

Vice President for Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs

Abenaki Outeach Program

Abenaki Outreach Program

Abenaki Outreach ProgramThe University of Vermont and the Abenaki community have had a long-standing partnership since 1985 through the design of a program known as the “Summer Happening”. This program brings up to 24 middle and high school students to the University for two days to experience on campus life and bring the possibility of a college education as a realistic option for these students.

While the Summer Happening was greeted with widespread enthusiasm among Abenaki students and parents, it was still a limited opportunity of short duration. In order to effect genuine systemic change, the Abenaki Tribal Leadership decided to explore more in-depth programming that might benefit Abenaki youth. The Abenaki Outreach Program was developed from the belief that only through sustained ongoing support could Abenaki students truly benefit from the attainment of post-secondary status. The main goals of the program are;

  • Develop and coordinate a comprehensive outreach network between the University of Vermont and the Abenaki community of Northwestern Vermont which includes Swanton, Highgate and St. Albans.
  • To establish a relationship between students from Northwestern Vermont high schools and their parents with UVM to promote increased parental involvement in post-secondary opportunities.


The UVM/Abenaki Outreach Program's mission is to promote a diverse and respectful environment that embraces social justice, equality, and opportunity for high school Native American students to achieve their potential.


To promote an ethos of community both at Missisquoi Valley Uniton High School and the University of Vermont that provides Abenaki students with critical thinking skills and pride in their culture so tthat they can be leaders in a democratic society.

What we do:

  • The uniqueness of the Abenaki Outreach Program is undergirded by a commitment to collaboration whereas the Abenaki Title VII Indian Education Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) is focused at all times, on equity of educational opportunity. As such, the PAC seeks out partners who share in the possibility of social justice where all students are afforded the tools to take their place in a democracy.
  • Support students academically at Missisquoi Valley Union High School (MVU) through one-on-one tutorials and through the monitoring of course selection and grades.
  • Collaborate with parents, students and faculty in the development of increased communication whereby the Abenaki voice is afforded equity of educational opportuntiy.
  • Offer post-secondary guidance at UVM and other institutions through individual and group meetings.
  • Provide students with college counseling including field trips to UVM as well as assistance with the application process, financial aid, and scholarships.
  • Foster students' leadership and growth through curriculum development that nurtures pride and promotes self confidence to become a strong voice on campus and within the community.
  • Network with UVM and MVU personnel to form and maintain partnerships between educational facilities and the the Abenaki community.
  • Provide a visible presence at MVU and UVM by offering opportunities and learning experiences about the Abenaki community through a variety of cultural and educational activities in order to create an inclusive environment.

Ken MaskellKen Maskell operates the program through offices at the Center for Cultural Pluralism located at the Allen House.

For further information please contact Ken Maskell at (802) 868-7311 ext. 142 or


Last modified January 08 2012 02:52 PM

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