This year, seven art education students found inspiration in Wabanaki folklore for their University of Maine Art Education Student Outreach project. Students enrolled in Professor Constant Albertson’s AED 474: Topics in Art developed original linoleum blocks and used them to print t-shirts intended to be sold on campus and in the community. All of the proceeds will go toward supporting the programs and activities that the Gedakina, Inc. fosters in Native American communities across New England.
“As I was designing the course I researched many Wabanaki issues,” Albertson said. “The students talked it over and did research. We were very excited to work with Gedakina. We didn’t want the product to be another bauble, something that you shove in a junk drawer, and we thought it would be important to use relevant images and symbols.”
In AED 474, Albertson hoped to teach her students skills in collaboration, negotiation and leadership, while showing them how to integrate an art curriculum with community service efficiently. “Art is critical to creating culture and community,” Rochelle Lawrence, an art education student enrolled in AED 474, said. “It creates awareness of the people, animals, nature and history that have come before you.”
Gedakina, which means “Our world, a way of life” in the Wabanaki language, works to bring like-minded community members and allies together to support and empower Native American and indigenous youth. They also work to challenge racism and continual colonialism and encourage inclusiveness and diversity.
Read the full article by Olivia Shipsey in the Maine Campus.
When Butch Jacobs steps into the woods in search of basket making materials, he does not have a specific type of forest or black ash tree in mind, but he knows it when he sees it. “It’s a unique skill set that cannot necessarily be taught. Some people just have it,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs, a member of the Passamaquoddy Tribe, is one of few remaining basket-tree harvesters in Maine—a longstanding tradition that stretches back to before Europeans arrived on North American shores. Now, the custom faces a threat that may devastate the trees that harvesters like Jacobs seek.
Emerald ash borer, an insect native to Asia, has barreled through ash stands in at least 31 states and three Canadian provinces since it was first documented in Michigan and Ontario in 2002. Black ash, the species basket-tree harvesters target, is especially susceptible to the invasive insect that has already decimated millions of North American ash trees, and will soon arrive in Maine.
That spells trouble for Jacobs and many others, for whom ash trees are of critical cultural and economic significance. The black ash is a central element in several Native American and First Nation traditions, including some tribes’ creation stories.
Read the full story by Erin Miller at phys.org.
Walking into a sunlit room with a circle of chairs arranged in the center, 20 local Maine residents and students gathered together to learn about the indigenous people of Maine.
Located in the Woolley Room at the DTAV Community Center, the workshop was held to bring awareness to the struggles that indigenous people in Maine face to this day. The event was held on Friday, Oct. 28 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and included many different exercises and activities. Some of them included moments of silence for those who have passed away, other activities involved discussing Native Americans and their culture, interactive learning activities and many other exercises that helped the group get a better understanding of how Native Americans were treated at the time when America was discovered and taken over by Europeans, and how they are treated today.
Maine is a historic state with many Native Americans indigenous to the Penobscot River and surrounding areas. The leaders of the Wabanaki REACH group, Barbara Kates and Paul Strickland, wanted to emphasize how important the Native Americans were to this land, and how important they still are.
The discussions and talks were navigated and mediated by Kates, the Maine Community Organizer, as well as Strickland and other members of the group. They also brought to light different topics such as the removal of Natives from their lands and rivers, and how the Native American population in Maine has slowly diminished over time.
Read the full report by Bria Lamonica in the University of Maine’s student newspaper Maine Campus.
Join Maine-Wabanaki REACH and UMaine Art Education Students for an interactive story-telling event. We will be exploring events in the shared history of Europeans and their descendants and Wabanaki people.
Participation is limited to a maximum of 30. To enroll, you must RSVP by April 26th to Constant Albertson at firstname.lastname@example.org. First come, first serve, and accepted participants will receive a confirmation email. A list of alternatives will be kept in case of spaces becoming available.
Link to web listing.