RECONCILIATION COMMISSION NAMED
Mainers can be very proud that we are the first state in the country to engage in a collaborative effort with the Indigenous Peoples of this land to address the hurtful child welfare practices imposed on them. The Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) will create a common understanding of what, for generations, has had disastrous impact on the four Maine Wabanaki tribes, the Aroostook Band of Micmacs, Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, Passamaquoddy Tribe, and Penobscot Indian Nation. The TRC has three key purposes: 1) to create a common understanding between the Wabanaki and the State of Maine concerning what happened and is happening to Wabanaki children in the child welfare system; 2) to act on the information revealed during the TRC to implement systems change to improve the system and to better support the children and families served; and 3) to promote healing both among Wabanaki children and their families and the people who administered a widely acknowledged less than ideal system.
On Dec. 18, the Selection Panel for the TRC announced the five Commissioners they have chosen to begin this process. They are Matt Dunlap, Maine’s newly-elected Secretary of State, gkisedtanamoogk, a citizen of the Wampanaog, a Native elder and teacher, Dr. Gail Werrbach, professor at the Univerisity of Maine and Director of their School of Social Work, Sandra White Hawk, a citizen of the Sicangu Lakota and Director of the First Nations Repatriation Institute, and Carol Wishcamper, former chair of the Maine State Board of Education.
The Whitman Library in Bryant Pond has asked me to speak about the Wabanaki Truth and Reconcilation Commission, as I have been serving on the Communications Subcommittee. If you are interested in learning more, I invite you to attend on Thursday, Jan. 10, from 2 to 3 p.m. Also please join the Maine Wabanaki Truth and Reconciliation Facebook page or go to the website: www.mainetribaltrc.org.