MOLLYOCKETT DAYS MORE RESPECTFUL
Mollyockett Days Festival is changing before our eyes. The impact of the Truth and Reconciliation for native people in Maine has already begun to raise our awareness about what is fair and just and when we stereotype and appropriate.
As it changes, it creates more costs. Robin Zinchuk of the Chamber of Commerce has been asking the towns of SAD 44 if they could kick in $1.25 per person to help raise some of the $12,000 it cost
last year to put on this event. Newry has already voted yes at town meeting.
This festival draws many people to the area. It is a benefit to the region – not just Bethel. And as we change our culture (for example: replacing “Miss Mollyockett” with the “Essay Winners” – a local boy and girl who write an essay about the actual times Mollyockett lived) which is more respectful and inclusive, we will draw even more interest and attendance. And regional organizations like the Telstar Alumni benefit from the festival, as do the fire departments of many towns in the SAD 44 area.
This year we are planning a Native American tent where there will be demonstrations and educational events from the culture of the woman this festival celebrates, Mollyockett.
These changes are very exciting, and need our whole region to invest in a festival that impacts the entire community. I encourage all the towns of our SAD 44 region to see this event as a summer homecoming and celebration of the values Mollyockett has been remembered for: caring for one another, healing and community. Mollyockett was not just from Bethel, she was from this region from Andover to Fryeburg. I encourage Bethel, Greenwood and Woodstock to follow Newry in supporting this request from the Chamber.
James Francis, the Tribal Historian for the Penobscot Nation, and I have collaborated to create the commemorative artwork for this year's festival, showcasing this year's theme- “Stewardship of the Earth.”