The Fredericton Regional Museum is putting the finishing touches on a new First Nations exhibit. It’s called The Wabanaki Way and opens to the public on June 9. But the museum offered a sneak peak Tuesday, led by Ramona Nicholas from Tobique First Nation.
“The Wabanaki means the People of the Dawn, and this is what we call each other as a larger group that include the Mi’kmaq, Wolastoqiyik, Passamaquoddy, Penobscot,” said Nicholas. “It’s a large territory but in this exhibit we’re just focusing on here in New Brunswick.”
By 1 p.m. on Thursday, April 27, a small crowd had gathered near the flagpole at Lincoln Academy in Newcastle. The occasion was the celebration of the recent completion of a Wabanaki birchbark canoe in the school’s Cable-Burns Applied Technology and Engineering Center, a project that was led by Wellington master canoe-builder Steve Cayard.
On this day, Cayard and a number of others – including the LA students involved in helping build the 14-foot canoe – accompanied the beautiful brown boat as it was carried along in a procession down Academy Hill Road that ended at the Damariscotta town landing for a launching ceremony marking the canoe’s maiden voyage.
Beginning in late March, Cayard, boat-building interns Dan Asher and Tobias Francis, and students at LA worked together for four weeks to create the traditional birchbark canoe – shaping the bark, bending the canoe’s ribs, splitting and lashing spruce roots, and so on. The result is a meticulously crafted, artfully detailed, lightweight canoe that is authentic in every way. Originally, Passamaquoddy master canoe-builder David Moses Bridges – a longtime friend and colleague of Cayard’s – was scheduled to work on the building of the boat, but he passed away from cancer in January at age 54. Francis is his son.
Read the story by Christine LaPado-Breglia in The Lincoln County News.
In exchange for maintaining a healthy forest, the Passamaquoddy Tribe in Maine is being rewarded by environmental polluters more than 3,000 miles away. Confused? Don’t be. The tribe earned national recognition and is developing new economic opportunities while preserving its environmental legacy by participating in an innovative carbon offset program in California.
On April 20, the Passamaquoddy Tribe received an award at the Navigating the American Carbon World Conference in San Francisco for registering the most offset credits with the Climate Action Reserve during 2016. The Project Developer of the Year award recognizes one of the largest tribally owned cap-and-trade projects in the United States. The tribe has registered the removal of 3.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through measured tree growth over a 98,000-acre project area on tribal land in Maine.
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.
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.
The Heard show is among the most prestigious in the country. It draws nearly 15,000 visitors and more than 600 of the nation’s most successful American Indian artists.
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.
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.