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Seniors Celebrate Native American Heritage Month

by Paula Sargent

November 30, 2021


On November 17th the Essex Senior Center hosted a luncheon and program to celebrate the indigenous identity and culture of our Native Americans.

Blake Getchell, a staff member at the Senior Center, and her mother, Tammy, an employee of the Village of Essex Junction, delighted their audience with traditional Mi’kmaq singing and dancing.

Blake shared her rich heritage of growing up in Maine with her mom and dad, Rick Getchell, a Mi’kmaq tribal chief. Blake also showcased many artifacts that her family has collected.


She introduced the seniors to the ancient purification ritual known as smudging, plus such ceremonial herbs as sweetgrass, sage, and cedar.

Blake’s grandparents, James and Marilyn Butler, also attended. Mrs. Butler had created the traditional ceremonial dress that Blake wore for the presentation.

Photos courtesy of Nicole Mone-St. Marthe

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