Abbe Museum Exhibit Focuses on Women as Healers

First-time curator and Museum Educator, George Neptune, tells a story of strength and love

The Abbe Museum, the first and only Smithsonian Affiliate in the state of Maine, is pleased to announce the opening of the Kikehtahsuwiw: It Heals exhibit, the first exhibit curated by Abbe Museum Educator George Neptune, Passamaquoddy. A special blessing for Kikehtahsuwiw will be given on Thursday, February 5, 2015 at 5 pm as part of the grand opening for the Abbe’s 2015 feature exhibit, Coming Home.

Kikehtahsuwiw: It Heals is a story about several women in the Passamaquoddy Tribe, residing at both Motahkomikuk (Indian Township) and Sipayik (Pleasant Point). Each of these women shares a common goal: healing their communities.

As a matriarchal society, women are more than just the heads of the family. As the providers and protectors of life itself, women are sacred. Capable of enduring so much pain on behalf of their children in infinite ways, they represent the healing strength of love itself. As the carriers of life, they are also carriers of culture and responsible for carrying on healing traditions.
“By sharing this story, I hope to show the strength of our people,” said Neptune. “These women are just a few of many who work every day to heal within our communities. It is my hope that when you read their stories, you also are, in some way, healed.”
Storytelling is a crucial practice in countless Native American cultures. Many tribes did not use a written language system, so storytellers were the keepers of history, knowledge, and tradition. Stories were meant to teach, whether about creation, survival, respect, or even magic.

The portraits in the Kikehtahsuwiw: It Heals exhibit were photographed by Thom Willey.

The Abbe is currently closed until February 5, 2015. Winter hours are Thursday through Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm. Admission is free through April thanks to the generosity of Machias Savings Bank.