Allies of the Wabanaki

Who are the Wabanaki?

Wabanaki means "People of the Dawnland” and is the collective name for the four tribes of American Indian peoples in Maine: the Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Micmac, and Maliseet.

Our Allies of the Wabanaki subcommittee stays informed about the status of the Maine tribes, so we can respond as allies in support of issues concerning the Wabanaki and other American Indian people. We do not meet regularly at this time, but encourage you to learn more by following the links on this page. There is an open email list that church members can sign onto on ChurchDB (our online database), under the Groups module. If you are not a member and are interested, please phone the church office at (207)797-7240.

You can learn more about the tribes by linking to their websites:

Some Highlights of Our Ally Work at A2U2

LD 291 Maine Native American History and Culture in Maine Schools

LD 291 is An Act To Require Teaching of Maine Native American History and Culture in Maine Schools. It was written by Donna Loring in response to misinformation and a lack of awareness about historical/contemporary Wabanaki lifeways. It was passed by the Maine State Legislature in 2001. It is unfunded, and without specific provisions for compliance, but it mandates that all Maine educators teach about Maine Native American history and culture. It established a Wabanaki Studies Commission to recommend topics and themes and implementation steps. The law hopes to re-form our society’s ideas about the historical and contemporary realities of Maine’s Native American peoples.

You can help by encouraging your local school district to follow the mandate and thereby increase the level of teaching about Wabanaki history and culture. There are many curriculum resources available through the Gateway website: http://www.umaine.edu/ld291

For anyone who wants to know more about Wabanaki history and culture, as well as for teachers wanting to learn how to teach about these issues in their classrooms, we suggest the Wabanaki Connections blog http://blogs.portlandschools.org/charnj/

Giving Winds 2005-2006

Giving Winds was a capital campaign sponsored by the Maine Council of Churches to support the Four Directions Development Corporation. FDDC is a nonprofit community development corporation founded to improve the economic and social conditions of Native Americans in Maine. FDDC makes housing and small business loans to qualified Native American borrowers. Wabanaki people are not eligible for many conventional bank loans because tribal land cannot leave tribal control, so cannot be used to secure the loan.

Members of our church were part of the early organizing for Giving Winds among UUs in Maine. We participated in site visits to Indian Island (Penobscot Reservation) in summer of 2005, Pleasant Point and Indian Township (Passamaquoddy Reservations) in November 2005, and again to Indian Island in September 2006. Our church raised a total of $2194.83 in direct donations to FDDC, and secured a $12000 five-year loan at 0% interest, through loans from individual church members, which were coordinated through our church. Loan funds were partially matched by the UUA, and then all funds were matched by the Federal Government, so that our efforts resulted in about $48000 toward the work of FDDC.

During this campaign, we sponsored a forum at A2U2 on November 18, 2005, with talks by Susan Hammond, Director of FDDC, and Donna Loring, Penobscot Representative to the State Legislature. FDDC founding board member Craig Sanborn, Director of the Penobscot Housing Authority, was a visiting speaker at our Sunday worship on November 20, 2005. .

You can find out more about the Four Directions Development Corporation at http://www.fourdirectionsmaine.org

Related Materials

Sherri Mitchell - Wena'gamu'gwasit

We support the Standing Rock protests -- save our land, save our water, do not support more fossil fuels.
 

The Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth & Reconciliation Commission received its mandate in 2012 to gather the stories of Wabanaki people who were forcibly removed from their families and culture and placed in 'white' foster homes that were frequently neglectful or abusive. This Commission, the first of its kind in the country, is working collaboratively with Wabanaki REACH to educate and engage Wabanaki and Maine people in a journey of truth, healing, and change.  If you would like to learn more about this critically important work, see this video.
 

Spirituality and Ally Work

Click here to read an article by Rev. Myke Johnson which discusses the ethical questions raised by White peoples' exploration of the religious ceremonies and beliefs of American Indians.

Wanting to Be Indian: When Spiritual Searching Turns Into Cultural Theft


To contact the church's Wabanaki coordinator click here.