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Jesse Bowman, Abenaki logger and basketmaker, with daughter Marion Flora Bowman

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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The man and child in this picture are Jesse Bowman and his daughter Marion Flora Bowman. Bowman was an Abenaki logger and farmer. He also ran a small general store. Bowman came from a family of basketmakers who sold baskets to tourists in the resort town of Saratoga Springs, New York. Jesse Bowman lived in an era of deep prejudice against Native Americans and other people of color. A eugenics movement in Vermont and other states targeted Native women in its mission to sterilize people it deemed intellectually inferior or racially undesirable. In a time when it was dangerous to talk about one's Native ethnicity, Jesse Bowman is remembered for having been amazingly outspoken about his heritage. His daughter Marion Flora Bowman, subsequently would conceal her Native identity to protect her family.


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