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.

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.

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.

Abbe Museum’s Exhibition Tells Difficult Native Stories

abbe museum birchbark container

If nothing else, Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko wants people who visit the Abbe Museum to leave with one piece of knowledge firmly planted forever in their brain: Native people still live in Maine.

“It’s amazing how many of our visitors don’t realize that,” the museum director said. “They’re always surprised.”

Read about how the Abbe Museum is telling its story in a new way. (via Portland Press-Herald)

Abbe Museum Opens People of the First Light Exhibition

abbe museum exhibit doll

The Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, the first and only Smithsonian Affiliate in Maine, will open a new permanent exhibit May 1. “People of the First Light” explores the life, history and culture of Wabanaki people.

Read the full announcement in the Portland Press Herald.

Kluskap of the Wabanaki

Kluskap planting wolastoq

From the Portland Press-Herald article: Artist illustrates legends of Wabanaki mythological hero

“I have discovered that most legends are simply told and not illustrated,” Dozay said in a press release. “I feel and have experienced that our Wabanaki tribes and cultural significance are known and considered significant among our own people, but lacking in mainstream Aboriginal teachings. …”

The exhibit, “Kluskap of the Wabanaki,” will open Nov. 5 and run through Dec. 19 at the Abbe Museum in downtown Bar Harbor . It features original paintings by native artist Arlene Christmas Dozay that illustrate various legends of the mythological hero and his adventures across the Wabanaki homeland, using landmarks that tell his story.