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 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.

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.

Support Penobscot Paddlers: USCA Nationals at Northfield MA

 

USCA NE Nationals Logo

The New England Canoe and Kayak Racing Association (NECKRA) is hosting the USCA National Championships on the Kwanitekw at the Northfield Mountain Recreational and Environmental Center in Northfield, MA. A team from Penobscot country will be participating. Come for three days of marathon racing (August 12-14, 2016) with championship competition for canoe, kayak, surfski and SUP. For the younger paddlers, sprint races will be held on Thursday August 11.

Read the local article in the Greenfield Recorder.

Penobscots Vacate Seat in Maine Legislature

penobscot kirk francis maine

The Penobscot Nation is formally vacating a seat the tribe has held in the Maine Legislature for more than 150 years and, instead, plans to select an ambassador to work with the state and federal governments.

More than a mere title change, the switch from non-voting state representative to a full-time “government relations ambassador” is a symbolic and historic shift that reflects the tensions between state officials and leaders of Maine’s federally recognized Indian tribes, most notably the Penobscots and the Passamaquoddy Tribe.

Full story at the Portland Press-Herald.

Penobscot Student Receives Award for Work with Wabanaki

Jillian-Kerr-Penobscot-AwardHusson University announced today that School of Pharmacy student Jillian Kerr will be presented with the United States Public Health Service’s Excellence in Public Health Pharmacy Award at the school’s annual Scholarship Luncheon. Assistant Surgeon General and Rear Admiral Pamela Schweitzer, Pharm.D., BCACP, with the U.S. Public Health Service commended Kerr in a letter for her work and leadership on the Diabetes Care Project for the Wabanaki people.

Read the full notice here.