Wabanaki Basketmakers Fare Well at Heard Indian Art Fair

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Three Indian basketmakers from Maine won high honors at a national Indian art fair in Phoenix, Arizona. Jeremy Frey, a Passamaquoddy, won first place in Division B baskets (natural or commercial fibers, any form) and Sarah Sockbeson, a Penobscot, won second place in the same division at the 59th annual Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market, which was March 4-5 in Arizona.

Geo Neptune, a Passamaquoddy, won honorable mention in Division A baskets (natural fibers and cultural forms) and a Judges Choice award in the same division. All three were juried into the 2015 Portland Museum of Art Biennial.

 

Maine Forum: Education Continues on Wabanaki Plight

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In 2015, a report focusing on Maine Wabanaki children and decades of discriminatory practices in the child welfare system was meant to spark changes and begin the healing process for the state’s native tribes. For Wabanakis and members of Maine-Wabanaki REACH, a group tasked with implementing the report’s recommendations, that process is far from over.

Speaking during a Great Falls Forum in Lewiston on Thursday, Maine Wabanaki REACH Community Organizers Barbara Kates and Tom Reynolds underlined the importance of the work that had been accomplished but said more outreach and more education is needed.

The pair led a presentation titled “Truth, Healing and Change: Why Maine Needed a Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” which refers to the Maine Wabanaki State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission established in 2013.

Read the full story by Andrew Rice in the Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal.

Photo by Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal.

This is a followup to this post on Sokoki Sojourn.

Maine Forum to feature Wabanaki Truth and Reconciliation Commission

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The Great Falls Forum on Thursday, March 16, will feature Penthea Burns and Barbara Kates from Maine Wabanaki REACH. The program will take place from noon to 1 p.m. in Callahan Hall at the Lewiston Public Library. The presentation is titled “Truth, Healing and Change: Why Maine Needed a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.”

REACH — Reconciliation-Engagement-Advocacy-Change-Healing — began as a collaboration of state and tribal child welfare workers who knew from their work together that major inequities existed in the way that the state dealt with family issues within Maine’s Native-American communities. Through their advocacy, they were able to establish the Maine Wabanaki State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2013.

The commission released its findings and recommendations two years later and since that time, much of the work directed at healing and change has been led by Maine Wabanaki REACH. Burns and Kates will talk about the founding of REACH and discuss the historical treatment of Native-American children that led to the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Penthea Burns, senior associate at the Muskie School of Public Service, co-directs Maine-Wabanaki REACH.  Since 1999, she has been working with the Wabanaki tribal child welfare programs and the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to improve Maine’s compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

Barbara Kates is a community organizer for REACH and is involved with designing and delivering community presentations and ally building workshops to increase understanding of Maine’s shared history with the Wabanaki people.

Admission is free to all Forum events and no reservations are required. This program is a bring-your-own brown-bag lunch. Coffee, tea and bottled water will be available at the library.

The Great Falls Forum is co-sponsored by Bates College, Lewiston Public Library and the Sun Journal. The Lewiston Public Library is at 200 Lisbon St. at the corner of Pine Street.

More information on Thursday’s lecture or other upcoming events in the Great Falls Forum series is available by contacting the Lewiston Public Library at 207-513-3135 or www.LPLonline.org.

Link to original article in the Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal.

Maine-Wabanaki Group to Host Ally Workshop in Camden

Maine-Wabanaki REACH will present a free Ally Workshop Monday, March 27, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Camden.

This workshop has been well-received across the state with more than 600 Mainers participating. Maine and Wabanaki people are at an historical juncture in their long relationship. The Ally Workshop is an opportunity for non-Native people to reflect on their shared history and future with Native people. The workshop includes a very brief history of U.S. government relationships with Native people; awareness of white privilege; and ally responsibilities.

Space is limited and registration is required. To register visit: mainewabanakireach.org/events or, by contacting Barbara Kates at Barbara@mainewabanakireach.org or by phone at 951-4874. Questions are welcome. Maine-Wabanaki REACH is a cross cultural collaborative organization of Wabanaki and Maine people working towards truth, healing and change to support Wabanaki self-determination.

See the original listing in Knox Village Soup online.

Wabanaki Tribes Educate Maine Lawmakers on Sovereign Rights

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Chiefs and Tribal leaders from each of the federally recognized Wabanaki Tribes gathered at the State House Thursday. They participated in a legislative briefing by the Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission. Lawmakers in Augusta heard from representatives of the Aroostook Band of Micmacs, the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, the Passamaquoddy Tribe, and the Penobscot Indian Nation.

They discussed their Tribes’ frustrations with the Federal Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980. Tribe members tell us this act was meant to acknowledge Wabanaki sovereignty but over the years has been somewhat lost in translation.

“There’s a lot of things that get affected by decisions that are made across the state, and when those decisions get made, they affect everybody, including the tribes. We’re a sovereign nation and we want to be treated as a sovereign nation. And we just want to be left alone. We’re not asking anybody for anything. We never have. We’ve just had to come to this session many times in the state house because that’s what’s required by the act. But there’s not mutual understanding- I guess you could say- about what that act means,” said Chief William Nicholas, Passamaquoddy Tribe.

“The biggest thing that affects the Aroostook Band of Micmacs is that we didn’t have a seat at the table. So the Micmacs are being held to an agreement that we weren’t a party to. It has to deal with due process and we didn’t get our due process,” said Chief Edward Peter Paul, Aroostook Band of Micmacs.

Their hope is to educate lawmakers and the public on the how sovereign rights of these tribes have been largely pushed aside and ignored.

Original article on WABI Channel 5.

Maine Tribes Hope to Purchase Traditional Lands for Healing Center

Members of Maine’s Wabanaki tribes are hoping a planned purchase of land along the Penobscot River is the first step in establishing a center for culture and healing in the state.

The 85-acre parcel, owned by Suffolk University, is in Passadumkeag and is the only available land access to Olamon Island, a historic and ceremonial gathering place for the Penobscot Nation, according to Tim Shay, president of theWabanaki Cultural Preservation Commission.

The commission’s Nibezun Earth Project is working to raise the $677,000 that Suffolk University is asking for the parcel.

Read the whole story in the Bangor Daily News.

Maine-Wabanaki Reach to Host Ally Workshop Nov. 19

Maine-Wabanaki REACH will present a free Ally Workshop from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, at 175 Park St., Augusta, ME. This workshop has been well received across the state with more than 400 Mainers participating, according to a news release from the organization.

The workshop is an opportunity for non-Native people to reflect on the shared history and future with Native people. The workshop will include a very brief history of U.S. government relationships with Native people, awareness of white privilege, and ally responsibilities. Space is limited and registration is required. To register, email Barbara@mainewabanakireach.org or call 951-4874.

Maine-Wabanaki REACH is a cross cultural collaborative organization of Wabanaki and Maine people working towards truth, healing and change to support Wabanaki self-determination.

Original posting at the Kennebec Journal here.