To the Abenaki, it was Bitawbagok, “the waters in between”, separating Abenaki and Iroquois homelands. Lake Champlain today – 193 kilometers long, 20 kilometers wide at its widest point, and flowing north into the St. Lawrence via the Richelieu River – links the states of Vermont and New York with the province of Quebec, and the United States with Canada. Across the past 400 years, in fact, these waters have knit a shared historical legacy of imperial colonization and conflict, international trade and tourism, and in the cross-border management of its fish and fisheries, agricultural run-off, and flood waters.
Telling this cross-border story calls on specialists from multiple disciplines and perspectives. The conference will engage archeologists and historians, environmental scientists and artists, policy-makers and business leaders to talk about our shared resource, how it is managed and the issues that face it into the future.
Session 1, The Past: What is the human history of Lake Champlain? Speakers will tell the story of the deep glacial past that formed the lake; aboriginal use of the watershed; imperial colonization and conflict in the Champlain-Richelieu corridor; and the era of water-borne trade.
Session 2, The Present: How does the lake figure in our lives now? Speakers will deal with international trade, tourism and border security as manifested in the Champlain-Richelieu corridor.
Session 3, The Future: What are the emerging issues for human use of the lake? Speakers will deal with international collaboration regarding issues such as agricultural runoff, ecological restoration for fish and fisheries, and the mitigation of flood waters.
The Conference will also feature a live performance by members of the Abenaki singing band, Aw8ssisak Akik, an extraordinary exhibit of maps from the Silver Special Collections Library at the University of Vermont that tell the story of the evolving lake over time, and the Lake Champlain Basin Program's 2019 International Year of the Salmon traveling exhibit.
Francophonie Flag-Raising Ceremony
The Conference will be followed by a Flag-raising ceremony in Burlington to celebrate the Francophonie sponsored by the Alliance Française.
Community College of Vermont, Conseil des Abénakis d’Odanak, ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, Elnu Abenaki Tribe, Lake Champlain Basin Program, Lake Champlain Committee, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, Lake Champlain Sea Grant Program, Saint Michael’s College, Vermont Agency of Commerce, Vermont Council on World Affairs, Vermont Division of Historic Preservation, Vermont Folk Life Center, Vermont Historical Society, UVM Humanities Center, UVM History Department, UVM College of Arts & Sciences, UVM Silver Special Collections Library, and the Vermont Alliance for the Social Studies.
Government of Canada, Quebec Government, Center for Research of Vermont, Canadian Studies Program, Humanities Center, Environmental Program, Department of History, UVM Historic Preservation Program, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, Office of the Vice-President of Research, College of Engineering and Math Sciences, Pomerleau Real Estate