Vermont Native American panel holds public meeting

Montpelier, Vermont (AP) November 2010

A group organized to set up a process for state recognition of Indian tribes in Vermont will hold a series of public forums around the state.

The Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs held the first meeting earlier this week in Newport at the Goodrich Memorial Library.

Organizers say the noon meeting will be a potluck to hear the needs and concerns of local native people and to answer questions.

A new state law created a process for the commission to recommend state recognition of a tribe to the Vermont Legislature.

The law is intended to address the shortcomings of a bill passed in 2006 that created the commission and recognized the Abenaki as a minority population in Vermont, but failed to allow them to label their crafts as Native American.