NOTE: ISSUE IN VERMONT LAW: Giving the Abenaki Dead Their Due: A Proposal to Protect Native American Burial Sites in Vermont Skip over navigation
LexisNexis® Browse Law Reviews and Treatises
Skip over navigation
Sign in with your® ID to access the full text of this article.
Order the full text of this article if you do not have a® ID.
US $22.00 (+ tax)

Copyright (c) 2004 Vermont Law School 
Vermont Law Review

NOTE: ISSUE IN VERMONT LAW: Giving the Abenaki Dead Their Due: A Proposal to Protect Native American Burial Sites in Vermont

Winter, 2004

28 Vt. L. Rev. 467


Steve Cusick



Abenaki tradition holds that disturbing the bones of buried ancestors will visit discord upon the living. 1 That discord has perhaps arrived--if one considers the legal and social conflict created over the past thirty years by the periodic disturbance of human remains unearthed in development projects along Monument Road in Franklin County, Vermont. The discoveries have prompted protests from the local Abenaki tribe and, ultimately, intervention by the state. 2 The Abenaki believe the burial sites should be left undisturbed because they are sacred. 3 According to Abenaki Chief April Rushlow, "Anything that is around the burial site is sacred, whether it's a tree, a rock, the soil." 4 Like other Native American tribes, the Abenaki view of ancestral burial sites is part of a worldview that considers "Mother Earth" as sacred. 5

But on Monument Road that worldview has collided head-on with the concept of private property, and the result is a classic conflict between private property rights and protection of historical--to some, sacred--resources. Such controversy is not confined to Vermont, as disturbances of burial sites elsewhere in the country have prompted similar conflict. 6 But in Vermont the dispute over protecting Native American remains has yet to find a lasting legal remedy. This Note suggests the answer may lie within the extension of common law principles of nuisance and property. It proposes a regulatory scheme to regulate development on private property containing Native American burial grounds in Vermont. More generally, the ...
If you are interested in obtaining a® ID and Password, please contact us at 1-(800)-227-4908 or visit us at
Search Documents
eg., Environmental Insurance Coverage Under the Comprehensive General Liability Policy

Lexis® Web - The only search engine that delivers free web content specifically from legal sites validated by LexisNexis® attorney editors and includes tools for faster research and more relevant results.

LexisNexis Store
Research Now - Go to
Connect the Dots - Free 1 hour webcast
Share. Network. Discover. - Go to LexisNexis Communities