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Exploring Abenaki history through beadwork, crafts, stories, and song

Abenaki history and culture have had a deep and lasting impact on the social, political, cultural and artistic history of the Granite State.

The Humanities Council has awarded a grant to White Mountains Community College for a four-part series that explores this impact. Titled The Abenaki Then and Now: Indigenous History and Traditions of the North Country, the project is a collaboration among the college's Fortier Library and the Berlin and Gorham public libraries.

The project begins with a presentation by Robert Goodby on Digging Into Native History in New Hampshire on Wednesday, September 23 at 6 p.m. at White Mountains Community College.

On Saturday, September 26 Abenaki artist Rhonda Besaw will discuss Abenaki beading and other crafts and how they represent and interpret Abenaki cultural history. This event will take place from 9 a.m. to noon at the Gorham Public Library.Besaw will explore both the practical applications of these arts and crafts, and their larger cultural meaning. The event will include a hands-on beadworking workshop for up to ten participants. Preregistration and a $5 deposit is required for the workshop. The deposit will be refunded at the workshop. To register, contact Elizabeth Thompson at 466-2525.

The project continues on Wednesday, October 7 at 6 p.m. with a session of Abenaki Storytelling led by Jesse Bruchac at White Mountains Community College. Bruchac, an Abenaki storyteller, will explore the language, culture, music, and history of the Abenaki with stories and songs passed down through oral tradition.

The project concludes on Wednesday, October 21 when John and Donna Moody will discuss contemporary Abenaki history at 6 p.m. at White Mountains Community College.

To learn more about this project, contact: Meagan Carr at 342-3086 or Elizabeth Thompson at 466-2525.



Three Villages, Two Libraries, One Book - The Grapes of Wrath in Plainfield

John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath is an American classic sharing a tale of struggle, loss, love, injustice and redemption that still resonates today.

The Humanities Council has awarded a grant to the Friends of the Meriden Public Library for a three-part series on The Grapes of Wrath. The project is a partnership of the Meriden and Philip Read Memorial libraries and seeks to build community among the three villages that make up Plainfield.

The project will explore Steinbeck's masterpiece through his classic novel, and through viewing the Academy Award-winning film adaptation.

The project begins on Thursday, September 17 with a showing of the first half of the film version of The Grapes of Wrath at 6:30 p.m. at Plainfield Elementary School, 92 Bonner Rd. in Meriden.

Steinbeck's novel and director John Ford's celebrated film traces the story of the Joad family's journey from Oklahoma to California during the Great Depression. Fleeing the Dust Bowl, they labor as migrant workers and strive to build a new life. Steinbeck won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for the novel, and would go on to receive a Nobel Prize in literature.

The second half of the film will be screened on Thursday, September 24 at 6:30 p.m. at the elementary school. At both showings, film director Samantha Davidson Green will lead post-screening discussions.

The film showings pave the way for a community-wide discussion of the novel on Thursday, October 1 at 6:30 p.m. at the Blow-Me-Down Grange,
1107 Route 12 A in Plainfield. Suzanne Brown, Dartmouth College, will lead the discussion.

To learn more about this project, contact the Meriden Library at 469-3252 or the Plainfield library at 675-6866.



One Book, One Valley collaboration celebrates ten years with Euphoria

The One Book, One Valley project will celebrate a decade of multi-community book discussion projects in the Mt. Washington Valley this fall.

The Humanities Council is proud to be a funder of this highly-successful series.

One Book, One Valley is a collaboration among thirteen Mt. Washington Valley community libraries, Granite State College, White Birch Books, and Kennett High School.

"We have been delighted to have contributed to the success of One Book, One Valley from the beginning," said Humanities Council Executive Director Deborah Watrous. "One Book, One Valley has addressed fundamental humanities questions in a myriad of ways. We can't wait to see what this year's project will offer!"

This year, One Book, One Valley will focus on Lily King's Euphoria, winner of the 2014 New England Book Award for Fiction. King's book was featured on the New York Times list of Top Ten Books of 2014.

Euphoria tells the story of three young, gifted anthropologists in 1933 caught in a passionate love triangle that threatens theirs bonds, their careers, and ultimately their lives. English Anthropologist Andrew Bankson has been alone in the field for several years, studying a tribe on the Sepik River in the Territory of New Guinea with little success. Increasingly frustrated and isolated by his research, Bankson is on the verge of suicide when he encounters the famous and controversial Nell Stone and her wry, mercurial husband Fen. Bankson is enthralled by the magnetic couple whose eager attentions pull him back from the brink of despair. Set between World War I and II and inspired by events in the life of revolutionary anthropologist Margaret Mead, Euphoria is an enthralling story of passion, possession, exploration and sacrifice.

Book discussions will begin in late September at participating libraries, which will have books available to borrow. Participating libraries include: Bartlett Public Library, Brownfield Public Library,Charlotte Hobbs Memorial Library, Chocorua Public Library, Conway Public Library, Cook Memorial Library, Effingham Public Library, Freedom Public Library, Fryeburg Public Library, Granite State College, Jackson Public Library, Madison Library, North Conway Public Library, and Ossipee Public Library.

One Book, One Valley 2015 culminates with a visit by author Lily King on Thursday, October 29 at 7 p.m. at Kennett High School in North Conway. King will discuss her work, take questions from the audience, and sign copies of her novels.


Inspired by the real-life Mead, and guided by project humanities expert Dr. Lynn Clark, also an anthropologist, the project will feature additional events exploring the reasons for and impact of studying other cultures, as well as how we as individuals fit into our culture.

The project will present a talk titled A History of Native Burial Looting, Destruction and Protection in New Hampshire on Tuesday, October 6 at 7 p.m. at the Bartlett Public Library. John and Donna Moody will examine the history of Native American burial site desecration and recent efforts to prevent it, including the passage of legistation in the early 1990s.

On Wednesday, October 28 Patrick Anderson, Colby-Sawyer College, will present Spirit of Place: Native Lands and Cultures of the American Southwest at 7 p.m. at the Cook Memorial Library in Tamworth. According to legend, a flute-playing locust led Pueblo ancestors (the prehistoric Anasazi) from the "Third World" into the current one. Anderson will discuss ancient sites such as Mesa Verde, Chaco Canyon, Hovenweep, and Canyon de Chelley, which provide a wealth of material history that reveals a complex culture pieced together by archaeologists and cultural anthropologists.

The project organizers are thrilled to host Margaret Mead's daughter, author Mary Catherine Bateson, on Thursday, November 5 at 7 p.m. at Salyard Center for the Arts in Conway. Bateson will discuss wisdom and aging in our culture. She will share stories about her mother, and how her life and work influenced Bateson's own approach to aging. Mary Catherine Bateson is a writer and cultural anthropologist. She lives and writes in New Hampshire, and is a visiting scholar at Boston College's Center on Aging and Work. She was born in New York City and traveled in the Middle East with her mother, Margaret Mead. She earned a BA at Radcliffe College and a PhD at Harvard University. She has taught around the globe and in the United States at George Mason University, Northeastern University, Spellman College, and the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is the author or co-author of numerous books and articles.

For more information and a complete list of events, visit the One Book, One Valley website.


Project will celebrate the work of NH artists Edwin and Mary Scheier

The Humanities Council has awarded a grant to the Portsmouth Historical Society for Edwin and Mary Scheier:
Mid-Century Modern New Hampshire Artists

The project includes an exhibition of the Scheier's celebrated and influential art from May 1 through October 2
at Discover Portsmouth, the first major retrospective of their work since 1993. More than 80 pieces from
institutional and private collections will be on display. The Historical Society is partnering with UNH, the
League of NH Craftsmen, and the Currier Museum of Art on the project.

The Scheiers were prolific artists from 1940 through 1968. Internationally renowned as prize-winning studio
potters, Ed Scheier also worked in textiles, wood and painting. During this time Mary's utilitarian ware and
Ed's sculptural vessels earned world-wide recognition. In addition to showcasing the Scheiers' work, the exhibition
will also provide context for mid-century art and craft design in New Hampshire through a related exhibit on the
NH Art Association and the League of NH Craftsmen.

The exhibition may be viewed during Discover Portsmouth's daily hours of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Learn more on the Portsmouth Historical Society's website.


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