- Cat Cutillo
- Judy Dow with her granddaughter Prudence and daughter Jessica at Judy's home in Essex
The cover of this Winter/Holiday Issue of Kids VT features local Indigenous educator Judy Dow — the subject of this month's "Vermont Visionaries" — with her daughter and granddaughter.
We chose this multigenerational portrait because many extended families will be reuniting this holiday season after skipping gatherings in 2020 due to COVID-19. The availability of vaccines has made these visits possible again.
Dow is the executive director of Gedakina, a nonprofit that helps Indigenous people in New England reclaim and preserve cultural traditions. She conducts workshops at schools around the state, teaching some of those traditions to Vermont students. The quilt in the cover photo is an example of one: embedding stories in everyday objects. Dow made it to tell the story of her backyard and to teach her grandkids to count. It shows one partridge, two crows, three sparrows, four wrens, five geese and six turkey tracks. Until recently, the quilt was on display at All Souls Interfaith Gathering in Shelburne.
There are messages embedded in the cover photo, too. Dow's ancestry is both Indigenous and French Canadian. Members of both groups were targeted for sterilization by the state in the 1930s, when Vermont's now-discredited eugenics movement explicitly aimed to prevent families like Dow's.
The photo is proof of their resilience.
The image also documents our strange pandemic era — it was taken outside because of the risk of transmitting COVID-19.
Read more about Dow and her work in Cat Cutillo's column, and watch a video of Dow being interviewed and leading a workshop here.
The pandemic features prominently in a few stories in this issue. In "Pop Culture," Keegan Albaugh offers advice on avoiding awkward goodbye hugs between relatives and kids who haven't seen each other in a while. Benjamin Roesch talks with a young musician from the Vermont Youth Orchestra who's thrilled to be performing in front of live audiences again ("Musical Notes").
And in "'This Does Not Feel Normal'", Jessica Lara Ticktin chronicles the struggles and joys of moms who gave birth in the pandemic's early days. Her piece also includes a list of resources for new parents confronting the postpartum period, which has become significantly more isolating because of the virus.
We hope you'll keep this issue of Kids VT around during the winter holidays. Completing the coloring contest is a great way for kids to pass the time during cold, gray days — or while they're waiting for the turkey to cook. We're accepting entries until January 31, 2022.