Honoring Kikehtahsuwiw: It Heals during Women's History Month with Plansowes Dana

Kikehtahsuwiw is an exhibit 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 the carriers of life, they are also carriers of culture and responsible for carrying on their healing traditions.

To honor this exhibit during Women's History Month, we will be featuring some of Kikehtahsuwiw's stories. The exhibit, which is curated by Museum Educator George Neptune, Passamaquoddy, will be on view through April of this year.

My name is Plansowes Dana, and I am Passamaquoddy from Sipayik. I have grown up here all my life, and I am raising my children here in Sipayik. My focus is on food sovereignty, and of course healing—using food sovereignty to do healing work through the community.

So far the food sovereignty project has 105 raised-bed gardens throughout the community. We've started a chicken project too. I’m hoping that maybe within the next ten years, we as a people can be 100% food sovereign again. Our people lived off the land—grew their own food, hunted, and fished. Now people solely rely on going to the grocery store, and a lot of the food in the grocery store isn't real food. It’s causing a lot of illnesses in people. So our goal with food sovereignty is to have healthy families and to be able to just live off the land again, because that is so much a part of us. I really feel like our spirit is starving for these things.

Real food is what we need. I really think that will put us on a path to healing—nourish yourself with good, healthy food, and it nurtures your mind and your body. And gardening, there’s nothing like gardening, it’s so therapeutic. It doesn't matter what kind of day I've had, if I go out into my garden, and just work the earth and pick the vegetables that we grow, it’s so gratifying. It makes you feel so good about yourself.