Crown Point


“Defeat of the Iroquois on Lake Champlain,” Samuel de Champlain. 1609.

Their bodies
have long forgotten the wound’s
heat, the sudden fever of smallpox
the ache of starvation.
On these banks their winter camps
moulder beneath roots of alder and vine.

And you came here believing
that this was vacant country.

— Cathy Czapla, “Abenaki Ghosts” 1

Crown Point has been an important crossroads for many of the cultures that have shared and contested the Champlain Valley and Adirondack region. Up until the early seventeenth century, the area of Lake Champlain served as the main boundary between the Abenaki and Mohawk peoples who lived in the region before Europeans colonized and settled Vermont and New York. In 1609 when Europeans first came to Lake Champlain, the area near Crown Point became the site of one of the first armed confrontations between different indigenous and European peoples. 2 In the centuries since then, European colonization transformed the region for all the peoples who shared this landscape. After centuries of cultural loss, forced migration, forced sterilization, and other colonial forces, the important role of indigenous peoples in shaping the region and its landscape is often overlooked. Yet many communities, waterways, mountain ranges, and other features on the landscape that are familiar to many today bear indigenous place names, and today indigenous peoples around Vermont and New York are still striving to protect and revitalize their cultures.



  1. Calloway, The Western Abenakis of Vermont, 1600–1800.
  2. Ibid.