My Letter to The Abenaki of Odanak

“The Object of the present code are; To Promote the Unity, The cultural integrity and the social harmony of The Abenaki of Odanak; To guarantee the use of the lands of the Odanak reserve for the benefit of the members of the Abenaki of Odanak.”

Dear Council for The Abenaki of Odanak,

c48aI am addressing you in regards to my grandmothers eligibility for membership by the Abenakis of Odanak, and understand the “Object of The Code.” My grandmother suffers from Diabetes a lifelong (chronic) disease, and an epidemic amongst Native Americans. My grandmother Beverly Jean Tahamont (Patterson) was born to Clarence Wilbur “Buck” Tahamont on the 5th day of June/1935 at Verdun, Quebec. Clarence “Buck” Tahamont was raised by his maternal grandparents  – John and Mary – Anne (Denis) Tahamont. According to Clarence “Buck” Tahamonts marriage record, he was born at Saratoga Springs, where many Abenaki families lived seasonally or year-round at the Indian Encampment, a commercial enterprise that was part of the 19th century tourist scene in that town. He was two years old when he was baptized at Odanak’s Anglican Church. Clarence or Buck was raised by his grandparents, primarily at Odanak, but with summer visits to the Adirondacks. I have pictures sent to me from an anthropologist named Christopher Roy who has completed his Ph. D. at Princeton. The first is of a couple of Tahamonts at Tonawanda – their father (Robert Tahamont) and Clarence’s mother, were brother and sister. In the photo you can see Constance Tahamont, Iris Blue Eye, and David Tahamont singing with Ethel Doctor in their home on the Tonawanda reservation near Buffalo. Their father was manager on the Reservation. The second photograph is of Doris Dauphinias, whose mother Adele Tahamont was ClarenceHinh_13‘s Aunt.

Clarence Wilbur “Buck” Tahamont was born October 25th 1893. His maternal parents were William Lagrave and Marie Jane Tahamont. Clarence was their first child; Bertha May Tahamont was born in November 1895. William Lagrave was born in 1871, and was baptized in November 1872. at the Anglican Church at Odanak and was listed on the 1875 census living with his family in Sharon Springs, NY. In May 1891 he lived with his mother, and grandmother and siblings at Odanak.

 

Marie Jane Tahamont; Bucks mother was the daughter of John Tahamont (Son of Laurent Tahamont and M. Agathe Sanagite/Tahamont) and Mary-Ann Tahamont (Denis). Marie Jane Tahamont was born circa 1873 in Quebec according to the 1891 Canadian census. According to the November 1875 Odanak roll, Marie Jane and her family were absent in the U.S. She was at Odanak in May 1881 and May 1891, and sometime between the birth of her daughters Bertha May in November 1895 and Nellie Ruth in February 1897. Clarence being raised by his grandparents, living with the Tahamonts at Saranac Lake, NY in June, 1900. He was included in their household in the 1901 census at Odanak, and was still living with them as of the 1911 Odanak census.  

Clarence’s baptismal record is at the church at Odanak, found on microfilm at the national Archives of Canada database. Clarence had 5 children. He worked as a member of the North West Mounted Police before they became the RCMP. Buck was also a trainer/coach for the Winged Wheelers the MAAA team that brought Montreal its first Allan Cup.

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Newspaper Clippings:

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“Sgt. Clarence “Buck” Tahamont, the Montreal Army trainer was a team-mate of Lorne Chabot when playing with Brandon Seniors several years ago…. It was an accident, in 1921, suffered while playing with a local commercial league team that halted Buck’s playing days…. It was in the old Victoria Rink that Buck fell on a skate and suffered a deep cut in his jugular vein, and the accident sent him to hospital where he remained for 23 months…. He was playing defence at the time and rear guard mates were Renc Fournier, Pete Mills and Sylvio Mantha…. Buck later got into football with Westward but since the accident has only appeared in hockey as coach, executive, referee and trainer…. He is a softball and baseball umpire in summer time.”

The Montreal Gazette November 5th 1945:

Tahamont Appointed

“At a meeting of the Quebec Amateur Hockey Association held over the weekend. Sgt. Buck Tahamont was appointed Intermediate representative for the association.

After a five-year layoff, the Provincial Senior Hockey League has made application for renewal in the Intermediate A category, it was announced last night.”

Clarence’s mother (Marie Jane Tahamont) baptismal reads; St. Francis Church, Parish of St. Francis Odanak, Quebec, Canada. Marie Jane, daughter of John Tahamont hunter of the Abenaki village of St. Francis & of Mary Ann Denis his wife was born on the; 6/08/1874 & was publicly baptized on the ninth day of August in the year of our lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy four.

I also have Clarence’s baptism. It reads, St. Francis Church, Parish of St. Francis Odanak, Quebec, Canada. LaGrave baptized/Clarence Wilbur son of William LaGrave of the St. Francis Indian Village and of Marie Jane Tahamont, was born on the twenty-fifth day of October of the year of our lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety three was publicly baptized on the twenty-second day of November in the year of our lord one thousand eight hundred ninety-five.

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Dark_Cloud_-_Elijah_TahamontI managed to trace our lineage all the way to Elijah Tahamont “Dark Cloud.” Born September 20th, 1855 at St. Francis Indian Village, Quebec, Canada. Chief Dark Cloud, was a Native American film actor sometimes billed as William Dark Cloud. He was also a popular and highly paid model who posed for over twenty years for famed sculptor Frederic Remington. He was Chief of the Algonquin/Abenaki and prior to his film career was known as a popular lecturer.

His career was as varied as the press release on him. In 1941 one press release in The Moving Picture World tells us that he is a Sioux and “the son of a chieftain who fought Custer,” whereas in real life he is reported to be a chief of the Abenaki tribe “of the Algonquin nation… aborigines of the Eastern states.” His wife, Dove Eye, appeared in such films as The Arrow Maiden (1915) while Dark Cloud was featured in such films as Song of The Wildwood Flute (1910) and an Indian’s Loyalty (1912) under Biograph and Griffith; The Ceremonial Turquoise (1915), The Huron Converts (1915), The Indian Trapper’s Vindication (1915), Son of ‘The Dog’ (1915) for the Reliance banner; A Red Man’s Heart (1914), The Severed Thong (1914), Meg of the Mines (1914) for Majestic.

Dark Cloud began working for American Mutoscope and Biograph in 1910, making his first screen appearance under the direction of D.W. Griffith. Moving west, he appeared in scores of westerns and other films. Dark Cloud was married to Soaring Dove (Margaret Camp), also a model, and was the father of actress Beulah Tahamont and Bessie “Bright Eyes” Tahamont (who died at the age of fifteen in September 1907, in Astoria, New York). Both girls were the first Native American children to attend a New York public school. Elijah “Dark Cloud” Tahamont’s father, was born about 1830 at the reservation. Tahamont’s father, also named Elijah Tahamont studied at Moor’s Indian Charity School and Dartmouth College where Native American education was funded by a gift of $12,000 in 1767 from Native American Presbyterian Rev. Samson Occom. Moor’s School was established for “civilizing the wild, wandering tribes of indians in North America,” and for promoting religion, virtue, and literature among people of all denominations.” Dark Cloud eventually appeared in at least 34 silent movies during his film career of only 8 years which was cut short by the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918. After Remington’s death, Dark Cloud collaborated on making a 1917 Francis Ford movie based on John Ermine of Yellowstone. Elijah “Dark Cloud” Tahamont’s daughter Bessie was an Indian schoolgirl of NY, known as “Bright Eyes,” she died in Astoria, L.I. She was born on the shores of Lake George.

1a51dbd2c86a0cc5a11ac4077e9a2427E. Tahamont’s death, in Los Angeles, California on October 17, 1918, was from bronchopneumonia, officially attributed to the Spanish influenza pandemic. Rumors that he was murdered by a jealous husband, that he died from accidental drowning, or that he was still alive were never substantiated. Several of his films were released after his death.

In conclusion I would like to say thank you for your time, I enjoy speaking of my culture and want to learn more about it. I hope that this information can aid you in the approval of my grandmother and myself for Membership of The Abenaki of Odanak.

Sincerely,

      Ryan John Patterson “Little Buck”