Wabanaki Basketmakers Fare Well at Heard Indian Art Fair

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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.

 

Maine Forum to feature Wabanaki Truth and Reconciliation Commission

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The Great Falls Forum on Thursday, March 16, will feature Penthea Burns and Barbara Kates from Maine Wabanaki REACH. The program will take place from noon to 1 p.m. in Callahan Hall at the Lewiston Public Library. The presentation is titled “Truth, Healing and Change: Why Maine Needed a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.”

REACH — Reconciliation-Engagement-Advocacy-Change-Healing — began as a collaboration of state and tribal child welfare workers who knew from their work together that major inequities existed in the way that the state dealt with family issues within Maine’s Native-American communities. Through their advocacy, they were able to establish the Maine Wabanaki State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2013.

The commission released its findings and recommendations two years later and since that time, much of the work directed at healing and change has been led by Maine Wabanaki REACH. Burns and Kates will talk about the founding of REACH and discuss the historical treatment of Native-American children that led to the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Penthea Burns, senior associate at the Muskie School of Public Service, co-directs Maine-Wabanaki REACH.  Since 1999, she has been working with the Wabanaki tribal child welfare programs and the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to improve Maine’s compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

Barbara Kates is a community organizer for REACH and is involved with designing and delivering community presentations and ally building workshops to increase understanding of Maine’s shared history with the Wabanaki people.

Admission is free to all Forum events and no reservations are required. This program is a bring-your-own brown-bag lunch. Coffee, tea and bottled water will be available at the library.

The Great Falls Forum is co-sponsored by Bates College, Lewiston Public Library and the Sun Journal. The Lewiston Public Library is at 200 Lisbon St. at the corner of Pine Street.

More information on Thursday’s lecture or other upcoming events in the Great Falls Forum series is available by contacting the Lewiston Public Library at 207-513-3135 or www.LPLonline.org.

Link to original article in the Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal.

Maine-Wabanaki Group to Host Ally Workshop in Camden

Maine-Wabanaki REACH will present a free Ally Workshop Monday, March 27, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Camden.

This workshop has been well-received across the state with more than 600 Mainers participating. Maine and Wabanaki people are at an historical juncture in their long relationship. The Ally Workshop is an opportunity for non-Native people to reflect on their shared history and future with Native people. The workshop includes a very brief history of U.S. government relationships with Native people; awareness of white privilege; and ally responsibilities.

Space is limited and registration is required. To register visit: mainewabanakireach.org/events or, by contacting Barbara Kates at Barbara@mainewabanakireach.org or by phone at 951-4874. Questions are welcome. Maine-Wabanaki REACH is a cross cultural collaborative organization of Wabanaki and Maine people working towards truth, healing and change to support Wabanaki self-determination.

See the original listing in Knox Village Soup online.

Wabanaki Tribes Educate Maine Lawmakers on Sovereign Rights

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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.

Daniel Christmas, First Mi’kmaw Appointed to the Canadian Senate

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Senator Daniel Christmas, First Mi’kmaw Appointed to the Canadian Senate

Dan Christmas never knew what or where his journey would take him. He just knew his father’s teachings would buoy him along the way — and that was going to be more than good enough.

The oldest of six children, Christmas often found himself in a leadership role in his Membertou-based family at a young age. He encouraged his younger siblings, gave a hand to his mother around the house when needed, and even joined his dad at his various work spots.

But when Christmas and his family were hit with the unexpected passing of their father, he was thrust into what would be his eventual full-time calling in life — leading — and he hasn’t looked back since.

Read more at danielnpaul.com.

Nova Scotia Premier Apologizes to Mi’kmaq Chiefs and Elders

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Premier Stephen McNeil was making every effort to move from insult to consult after a meeting Thursday with the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs. “The meeting started out this morning with an opportunity for me to express my regret and my apologies to the chiefs and to members of their communities,” McNeil said.

“The words that were attached to a brief that went before the court were not mine and not my feelings. I believe the foundation of this province and this country is in those treaties. We have a duty to consult, the Supreme Court has dealt with this issue a long time ago and it’s my responsibility as the premier of this province to make sure that we follow through on respecting the rights of the Mi’kmaq.”

Respect was not at the forefront in a Nova Scotia Supreme Court appeal case last week when Justice Department lawyer Alex Cameron described the complainants, the Sipekne’katik band, as a conquered people who had surrendered their sovereignty to the British Crown in the 1700s, negating the duty of the province to consult on industrial projects.

Read the full story at localxpress.ca.

Refer back to the incident that provoked this apology.

Mi’kmaq Are ‘Conquered People’ Says Nova Scotia Government Lawyer

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A legal brief submitted on behalf of the province of Nova Scotia denies treaty rights and labels the Mi’kmaq as conquered peoples.

“To suggest that we are ‘conquered’ is a racist taunt,” wrote Millbrook Chief Bob Gloade in a media release. “At its worst, it has been used against Indigenous Canadians to perpetuate or justify a state of inferior legal, social or socio-economic conditions.”

The brief is part of a court case centred on consultation with the Sipekne’Katik Band over a natural gas storage project. The band asked for a judicial review of the provincial permits that approved the Alton Gas project. But a court case about whether the Crown meaningfully consulted with one band over a particular project, has brought up what many are calling offensive arguments about treaty rights that extend to all Mi’kmaq in Nova Scotia.

Read the full story on APTN National News.