N'tolonapemk Opening

Photo courtesy of Donald Soctomah

By Julia Clark, Curator of Collections

On Sunday, November 4, two days after the wonderful opening celebration at the Abbe for our new exhibit N'tolonapemk: Our Relatives' Place, Abbe staff and friends were invited to travel to Washington County to attend an open house at the N'tolonapemk Site hosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.  The open house gave visitors a chance to see the beautiful viewing area and new landscaping that has been done on the site, part of the process of restoring the land that for decades was a toxic waste dump. It also marked the transfer from the federal EPA to the state DEP for the remaining mitigation work at the site, primarily the monitoring and treatment of groundwater contamination.

A blessing ceremony was conducted by Joanne Dana, Passamaquoddy elder, who also did a blessing at the reception at the Abbe Museum. Passamaquoddy tribal historic preservation officer Donald Soctomah spoke about the importance of the N'tolonapemk site and its rehabilitation to the Passamaquoddy people. The new viewing area features a large double curve design framed by fire-cracked rocks collected during the archaeological excavations, designed by Passamaquoddy artist Stephanie Francis. Young trees have also been planted that will grow to be large trees sheltering and protecting the site.

The Abbe hopes to host additional site visits or on-site programs during the upcoming year, although the area will not be open to the general public in the immediate future. Stayed tuned for future plans!