Gould Group Aids Native American Effort
The University of Southern Maine and Portland Friends Meeting will co-host an unprecedented historic event in celebration of Native American Awareness Month. Passamaquoddy tribal members, Esther Altvater Attean and Denise Altvater will speak about the history and need for a Truth and Reconciliation for native children Nov. 15 at 6:30 at Talbot Hall on the USM campus.
Gould Academy’s student group REACHOUT is supporting this event by purchasing a $110 Micmac basket that is being raffled off to raise money at the event. Additionally REACHOUT is making pumpkin, cranberry and ginger bread for 235 people that will be served at the reception following the panel discussion.
This event not only gives an historical overview and context for how the Wabanaki Truth and Reconciliation came to be, but also shares personal stories of aboriginal Mainers who experienced the consequences of these flawed policies and practices.
Since the signing of the Mandate in Augusta this past June 29, this will be the largest educational event about the Wabanaki Truth and Reconciliation to be held to date. All Portland area high schools, community colleges and universities are encouraged to attend. Teachers will gain greater understanding and sensitivity to issue for Maine Wabanaki communities. There will be educational resources for teachers and credit for contact hours for both teachers and social workers. Wabanaki poet Mihku Paul will speak, the Wabanaki historian and author Peter Lenz will have his books available, and master basket maker and Micmac elder Richard Silliboy’s basket will be raffled off at the event.
Most Maine residents are not aware that there has been an intentional policy of assimilation of native peoples by the US government since the 1800’s. By stripping them of their culture, language, family and community, the avowed intention has been to “kill the Indian and save the man.” Forced residential schooling and forced adoption/foster arrangements with non-Native families set in motion a chain of intergenerational losses, as children without a strong sense of self, community, and culture passed on their trauma to their children. These wounds and losses are still felt in Maine native communities today.
This Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is being formed in Maine to discover the truth about the experiences of Wabanaki people with state child welfare programs, and to promote healing and lasting change for the children taken and their families.