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.

Corn Keeper: Albie Barden Preserves Native Flint Corn for Future Generations

albie-barden-corn-keeper-norridgewock

For the past 30 years, Barden has been researching flint corn varieties, connecting with other corn keepers, and handing out thousands of rare kernels for farmers and gardeners to grow. To him, it is far more than just a hobby that has taken over his garden and fields.

“For me, it’s not about the crops,” he said. “It’s really about re-establishing a sacred relationship to the land and the plants, and honoring them as sacred beings with a history that have fed us forever.”

Read this inspiring story in the Portland Press-Herald.

Maine Senators Collins, King Announce Grant for Wabanaki Women’s Coalition

wabanaki womens coalition logo

U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King announced today that the Wabanaki Women’s Coalition received a total of $336,976 from the Tribal Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalitions Program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women.

Read the full announcement.

Abbe Museum Launches Wabanaki Cultural Database

abbe museum bar harbor me front facade

The Abbe Museum has begun making its non-archaeological items available online with the goal of uploading all such items to its searchable database over the course of the next 12 months.

“We have been looking forward to sharing our collections online for a long time,” said Julia Gray, director of collections and interpretation. “With only a small portion of our collections on exhibit at any time, this gives people a chance to see so much more and to learn about Wabanaki history and culture through art and objects from anywhere in the world. We are also excited to use this as a platform to welcome Wabanaki community input and perspectives on our collections.”

Full story at Mount Desert Islander.

Wabanaki Recall Victims of 1724 Maine Massacre

butch philips penobscot elder

Whether it’s by canoe, on foot or in his pickup truck, Butch Phillips always returns to The Pines park each year for a special remembrance. Phillips, 76, is a member of the Penobscot Nation whose ancestors were killed in an Aug. 22, 1724 massacre near the confluence of the Sandy and Kennebec rivers when British soldiers attacked an Abenaki Indian village in a fight to take over the land.

The surviving Abenaki fled, many of them going to live with the Penobscot or the Odanak Indians, and today that is how some of their descendants choose to return to the area where they were killed. For about the last 20 years, members of the Wabanaki Confederacy, an alliance of five Native American nations including the Abenaki and the Penobscot, have returned to the site at The Pines to honor and remember their ancestors.

Story at the Portland Press Herald.

Transformer Tales Brings Penobscot Values to Life

transformer tales penobscot theater

Fourteen-year-old Raven Sockalexis grew up hearing stories about Gluskabe, the transformer who shaped the landscape and the traditions of the Wabanaki people. Ruby El-Hajj, 16, grew up 30 miles south of Indian Island, in the Penobscot River town of Winterport. She had never heard of Gluskabe (gloo-SKA-beh) or his grandmother Monimkwe’su (muh-NIM KWA-soo) before this summer.

Both teens have spent the past two weeks with about 40 others between the ages of 4 and 19, working on Penobscot Theatre Company’s production of “Transformer Tales: Stories of the Dawnland,” a compilation of traditional Gluskabe stories that have been part of the Penobscot Indian Nation’s oral tradition for centuries. The show is being performed as part of the theater’s Dramatic Academy program.

“The play is about the adventures he goes on through his life,” Raven said. “It teaches people about how they are supposed to be in life. All of us grew up with these stories.”

Full story at Bangor Daily News.