The Voice of the Dawn

An Autohistory of the Abenaki Nation

Frederick Matthew Wiseman

“[My] story is a sash woven of many strands of language. The first strand is the remembered wisdom of the Abenaki community. The second strand is our history and that of our relatives, written down by European, Native American, and Euroamerican observers. The third strand is what our Mother the Earth has revealed to us through the studies and writings of those who delve in her, the archaeologists and paleoecologists. The fourth strand is my own family history and its stories. The fifth strand is, of course, that which has come to me alone, stories which I create with my own beliefs and visions.” So begins the first book about Abenaki history and culture written from the inside. Frederick Matthew Wiseman’s extensive research and personal engagement breathe life into Voice of the Dawn, making it truly unique. Colin Calloway, Chair of Native American Studies at Dartmouth College, writes, “Going beyond all previous works on the Abenakis, Wiseman draws on family and community knowledge in a way that none of those authors could, speaks from an avowedly Abenaki perspective, and addresses aspects and issues ignored in other works. Moreover, no one that I know of has done as much work in locating and regathering items of Western Abenaki material culture. The quality and quantity of illustrations alone make this an attractive book, as well as a valuable visual record of change and persistence over time. As someone personally and pivotally involved in the Abenaki renaissance, Wiseman brings the story up to date without closing it.”

Paper: $27.95
ISBN-13: 9781584650591
Pages: 328 | Size: 6 in. x 9 in.
Date Published: January 1, 2001


  • Wiseman's synthesis of widely accepted archaeology with an innovative interpretive scheme centered on the Wabanaki is welcome and convincing.

  • Readers looking for extensive and subtle discussions of prehistoric artifacts in the region will find this to be a useful addition to their libraries. Wiseman's use of some oral histories, native philosophy, personal reflection, and quotations for native scholars and tribal historians is refreshing and long overdue.

    Vermont History
  • Wiseman's book offers the reader a well-told story of natural and human history but it is his discussion of the connection of all this history to commonplace aspects of modern life that is particularly compelling. Wiseman confronts the reader with the connections among history, land, and the conditions of modern Abenaki communities, and challenges the reader to think about these connections . . . Wiseman's The Voice of the Dawn is essential reading for a student of regional history or archaelogy and is likely to challenge its readers' way of thinking.

    Historical New Hampshire
  • It is hard to imagine someone more qualified to undertake this project than Wiseman. An Abenaki raised in Vermont and an academic trained in archeology, he is able to provide both an insider’s view of Abenaki life and a scholarly assessment of the archeological and ethnohistorical record. Moreover, since 1988 he has participated in Abenaki politics and activism, making him one of the few writers qualified to describe the Vermont tribe’s political resurgence.

    Paradoxa 15
  • Fred Wiseman writes a deeply personal narrative that informs and satisfies the reader; through sheer scholarship and sense of pride in his Abenaki heritage, Wiseman contributes a timely work that should be read by all individuals who value history which truly defines New England.

    Jeff Benay
    Chair, Governor's Advisory Commission on Native American Affairs, State of Vermont

About the Author

Frederick Matthew Wiseman

Trained as an archaeologist/ecologist, Frederick Matthew Wiseman was principal Research Scientist at MIT’s Center for Materials Research in Archaeology and Ethnology and author of scholarly publications on Maya and Paleo-Indian paleoethnobiology. Now devoted to Abenaki culture and history, he teaches at Johnson State College and is an Abenaki Tribal Council member and director of the Abenaki Tribal Museum and Cultural Center in Vermont.

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