Return of the Wolastoq: Giving a River Back Its Name

Ron-Tremblay-Photo-by-Liane-Thibodeau

The Wolastoq Grand Council is supporting their youth’s proposal to change the name of the Saint John River back to its original and proper name, the Wolastoq. Wolastoq means “beautiful and bountiful river” in the Wolastoq (Maliseet) language.

“In a sincere implication of ‘Truth and Reconciliation,’ Wolastoqewiyik soundly propose to reinstate the name ‘Wolastoq’ to the river commonly known as Saint John River,” says Ron Tremblay, the Wolastoq Grand Council Chief.

The call for individuals and groups to support the name change issued by the Wolastoq Grand Council states that, “Wolastoq is our identity,” and argues that, “scientific studies have now confirmed what our people have always known: water has memory. Once we address the river as ‘Wolastoq,’ this river will remember its original name.”

Read the full article at the New Brunswick Media Coop.

Maliseet Launching Ceremony for Handmade Wabanaki Canoe

maliseet-launching-tobias-francis

Intern Tobias Francis installs a rib on the Wabanaki birch-bark canoe to be launched at the Damariscotta town landing on Thursday, April 27.

During the past month, many hands have shaped bark, bent ribs, split and lashed spruce roots, laid in planks, wedged ribs into place, and sealed seams. Master canoe-builder Steve Cayard, interns Dan Asher and Tobias Francis, and students from Lincoln Academy are putting the finishing touches on a traditional 14-foot Wabanaki birch-bark canoe at Lincoln Academy’s Applied Technology and Engineering Center, where the construction is taking place. This one-of-a-kind project is the result of a partnership between Damariscotta River Association and Lincoln Academy, with support provided by LincolnHealth as well as members of the community.

Now ready for its maiden paddle, this special canoe will receive a special send-off. The public is invited to join representatives from Lincoln Academy, DRA, and the Maliseet First Nation for a procession and the ceremonial launching of this remarkable craft on Thursday, April 27. The processional group will gather at the Lincoln Academy flagpole at 1 p.m. that day and will carry the canoe to the Damariscotta town landing, where the ceremony will begin at around 1:30 p.m. Maliseet representative Wayne Brooks will lead the ceremony, giving a blessing before the canoe is launched for the first time. In the event of rain, the event will be moved to Friday, April 28, at the same time.

Lincoln Academy is located at 81 Academy Hill Road, Newcastle.

Original article in the Lincoln County News.

Shaking Off Winter at 20th Annual Wabanaki Spring Social

wabanaki spring social bangor maine 2017

Men, women and children — many of them wearing their colorful tribal regalia — danced to the beating drums Saturday at the 20th annual Wabanaki Spring Social.

There also were prayers and blessings from elders, most in the traditional tongues of the Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Micmac and Maliseet tribes, as well as fry bread and hull corn soup, and Native American crafts and other products.

An estimated 700 members of the region’s Wabanaki Confederacy and other tribes were expected to gather at the Anah Shrine for the event, Susan Romero of Wabanaki Health and Wellness, a key organizer of the social.

Read the full report by Dawn Gagnon in the Bangor Daily News.

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.

Native Groups Demand Protection of Gulf from Oil and Gas Development

The St. John’s Telegram notes a Native alliance formed to oppose exploration and drilling in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, with Quebec’s recent lifting of its moratorium. Chiefs from the Innu, Maliseet and Mi’gmaq Nations are demanding that federal party leaders tell voters whether they will protect the Gulf of St. Lawrence’s unique and vital ecosystem..

Native Americans’ Report Reveals History of ‘Cultural Genocide’ in Maine

An article in the Bangor Daily News sums up the final report of the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth & Reconciliation Commission. The five-member panel “gathered more than 160 statements from 13 focus groups in Maine” in their two years of work. Their final report, presented June 14, 2015, outlined 16 points of concern in summary of their disquieting findings.