Lucy Cannon Neel, Chairperson of the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs presented at the Benson Village School on December 21, 2016. Lucy shared about the history and continued presence (of Indians in Vermont)…
READ: Teach the Children Well
Excerpt: …Founded in 1925 by University of Vermont zoology professor Henry F. Perkins, the Eugenics Survey of Vermont was built on the “belief in the existence of racial stereotypes,” and “accepted the myth that certain people (particularly those of northern Europe) possess a monopoly of desired characteristics, and thought that human differences were invariably caused by heredity.”
Armed with these beliefs, Perkins and his supporters went out into the hills and valleys of Vermont searching for, studying and analyzing the so-called data on the “pirate families,” those who lived on houseboats and had French-Canadian ancestry; “gypsy families,” those with the dark-skin of African-American, Abenaki or French-Canadian descent; “chorea families,” those with the illness Huntington’s Chorea; and other “defectives.” [Hunting them down? OMG]
The categorization of these “inadequates” included: illiterate, illegitimate, insane, thief, queer, pauper, immoral, dishonest, rapist, sex offender, syphilitic, untruthful, epileptic, twin, stillborn, dependent, alcoholic, speech defect, “just not right,” harelip, “a little odd,” sloppy, light-fingered, “smoked and chewed at age 12,” wild, wanderer, cruel, deserted husband or wife, one-eyed, tuberculosis, poor memory, breach of peace, shiftless, degenerate. [OK OK… I am several of these, including illegitimate/adopted. How about you?]
***top photo is the spooky Vermont State Hospital in Waterbury, VT. (UVM / photo)
The Eugenics Survey of Vermont
Source: Vermont Eugenics
I met Beth, the author of The Darkness Under The Water (on this very topic) at the Wisconsin Book Festival in 2009…I love her book!
Footnote: Well well well… A Zoology Professor was in charge of eugenics in Vermont – this explains so much… His worldview of Indians was obviously “wild savages.” Again, I bet you never heard this news/history in your textbooks and I know how this kind of BAD His-Story shocks people in a bad way.
We’re in the Trump years, and anything can (and will) happen.
PS: My ancestry includes French Canadian from Quebec/Ottawa which makes me so very happy to be alive… Pirate Lara/Trace who is still “a little odd…”
***OH GOD — ONE MORE THING!!! (with a warning – I was sick reading this)
EUGENICS: ‘Reprograming the Human Genome’, The Hidden History of Bar Harbor, MAINE…William E. Castle was an organizing member of the Second International Congress of Eugenics (New York, 1921) which in 1922 dissolved into the American Eugenics Society (AES) which was funded by America’s powerful industrial elite.