Wabanaki Basketmakers Fare Well at Heard Indian Art Fair

Jeremy-Frey-Heard-Fair

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.

 

Wabanaki Tribes Educate Maine Lawmakers on Sovereign Rights

maine-lawmakers-wabanaki-tribes-hearing

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 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.