Enter to win a Gabriel Frey Basket

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To celebrate the 25th year of the Native American Festival, we will be raffling off this beautiful Gabriel Frey Market Basket. 

Gabriel Frey is a Passamaquoddy artist who learned to make brown ash baskets from his grandfather. His baskets can be seen in museums and galleries across Maine, and his work was recently featured in museum exhibits in Maine and Connecticut. Gabe was a recipient of a Native Arts New England grant from the New England Foundation for the Arts in 2008, and he teaches basketmaking to apprentice Wabanaki basketmakers.

If you have always wanted to own a Gabriel Frey piece, now is your chance! We will be raffling off this basket from now until July 8, 2018. Tickets are available in the shop, online, and at the Native American Festival on July 7 – 1 for $2.00, 3 for $5.00, 7 for $10.00. You won’t want to miss out on adding this piece to your personal collection. The winner will be announced on July 8, so grab your tickets today and support the Abbe as we change lives through learning!

THE RAFFLE IS NOW CLOSED. Thank you to everyone who participated!

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Native American Festival & Basketmakers Market Celebrates 25 Years with a New Location

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The Native American Festival and Basketmakers Market celebrates 25 years on July 7, 2018, with a new location at the Abbe Museum’s downtown location. The Festival is free and open to the public and features the celebrated Native arts market, Native music, dance, storytelling, craft demonstrations, and a silent auction. A collaborative partnership between the Abbe Museum and the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance (MIBA), the Festival offers visitors, collectors, and gallery owners the opportunity to buy directly from the artists. 

“The Native American Festival is a unique community gathering in a historic area of the Wabanaki homeland and has built a reputation for being an important family event for locals on Mount Desert Island,” said Abbe Museum President and CEO Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko. “As the Festival evolves and finds its home in the heart of downtown Bar Harbor, we recognize the strong legacy of this event—a legacy based on tradition. It has been and will continue to be a gathering of Wabanaki people celebrating the arts and traditions of the Wabanaki Nations.”

This nationally renowned event features one-of-a-kind handcrafted Wabanaki ash and sweet grass baskets, wood and stone carvings, jewelry, beadwork, painted drums, and other items representing the beauty and culture of the Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot people in Maine and the Maritimes. For many visitors, this is a rare opportunity to meet the artists and learn about contemporary Wabanaki arts and cultures. 

The Abbe Museum is expanding its marketplace for Wabanaki artists with the development of the Abbe Museum Indian Market (AMIM) each May and the Festival will continue to serve an important educational and economic role for the community alongside AMIM. As sister markets, the two offer a range of opportunities for the public to engage with Wabanaki artists and educators. The Festival serves as a non-juried, non-competitive marketplace. It is accessible to artists who are beginning their careers and interested in working alongside seasoned artists who have done larger markets. 

“This annual celebration serves an important cultural function because it is a space for Wabanaki people to share traditions such as artistic expertise, dance, music, and storytelling,” said Executive Director of MIBA Jennifer Neptune, Penobscot. “The Festival is a staple of summer in Bar Harbor and we’re proud to partner with the Abbe to continue to provide this vital space for Wabanaki peoples to interact with the larger public.”

MIBA, as part of its mission to preserve and extend the art of basketmaking within the Wabanaki communities, is responsible for bringing in dozens of new “next generation” basketmakers and their families to the event. At the time of MIBA’s founding in 1993, there were fewer than a dozen basket makers younger than the age of 50 statewide that were still practicing and learning this ancient and once prolific art form. Through 25 years of educational programs and marketing efforts, MIBA has lowered the average age of basket makers from 63 to 40 and increased numbers from 55 founding members to 200+ basketmakers today. 
Sponsored generously by Maine Public, there is undoubtedly something for everyone at the Native American Festival and Basketmakers Market. Proceeds support the non-profit teaching and apprenticeship programs of MIBA.

The Festival gates are open from 10 am to 4 pm in the Abbe Museum’s backyard at 26 Mount Desert St in Bar Harbor. 

About Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance
The Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance is a nonprofit Native American arts service organization focused on preserving and extending the art of basketmaking within Maine’s Native American community. MIBA seeks to preserve the ancient tradition of ash and sweetgrass basketmaking among the Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot tribes.
 

We are What we are Because of You

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From this beautiful spot in Bar Harbor, on a jagged rock reaching into the Atlantic, the Abbe Museum is redefining museum practice as we know it. And, as we celebrate our 90th year, we want to thank you for your contributions to helping us inspire new learning about the Wabanaki Nations with every visit.

You have made the Abbe an essential museum. How often have you visited the Abbe not necessarily because of a new exhibit or program, but because of its importance in today’s society?  We’ve spent close to a century sponsoring research and preserving precious collections, and we are now working collaboratively with Wabanaki people to teach generations of learners about Wabanaki people, culture, history, and art. Because of that work, and thanks to your support, we are the Smithsonian’s only home in Maine.

You have made the Abbe a trusted and invaluable educational resource. Museums are considered the most trustworthy source of information in America, a more reliable source of historical information than books and teachers. At the Abbe, we've created a world full of life, art, and experiences - from the past to the present and into the future. Our education programs this year have given guests a chance to hear about the Abbe’s collections policy and the responsibilities museums have to tribal communities when it comes to collections care. Visitors have had a behind the scenes look at our contemporary collections and handled objects during a white glove curated talk around thematic Wabanaki art forms. Visitors also had a chance to learn about best practices for collaborating with Native communities. The education team has sought to break down many of the physical barriers that keep visitors from interacting with more of our collections for more one-on-one learning opportunities that are deeply tied to the Museum’s mission.

You have made the Abbe a decolonizing museum. Decolonization is the process of reversing colonialism, both politically and culturally, and it involves not only recognizing Indigenous perspectives and the ongoing colonization of Indigenous nations but the devastating effects that colonialism has on Indigenous cultures. Through collaboration with Wabanaki people, the Abbe is a space that privileges Native perspective and voice, and includes the full measure of history, ensuring truth-telling. We’re a role model and mentor for decolonizing museum practices and in the past 18 months, Abbe staff has been asked to train, talk, teach, present, and offer guidance to dozens of museums, cultural organizations, and National Parks on how the Abbe is decolonizing its museum practices. Additionally, many publication requests have come in asking us to write about our decolonization initiatives and practices to benefit the wider museum field.

You have created economic opportunities for Wabanaki Artists. Mount Desert Island’s cragged shores, woodland trails, and calming lakes inspire creativity and have lured artists to this place for generations. Wabanaki people are part of this artistic tradition, dating back thousands of years on this island. During the Rusticator era (the 1840s to 1920s), Wabanaki people helped make Bar Harbor very attractive to visitors. Simultaneously making art and selling it to visitors ensured the cultural survival of many art forms. For years, Wabanaki artists have been traveling across the country to enter the Indian Arts marketplace, repeatedly taking top prizes from Sante Fe to Phoenix to Indianapolis. Informed by Wabanaki artists about the importance of creative placemaking and how it can support both Wabanaki artistry and the local community, we are introducing a three-day juried art event, the Abbe Museum Indian Market (AMIM), in downtown Bar Harbor, debuting May 18-20, 2018. By creating this event, we will shine a bright light on Wabanaki artists and deepen the economic and cultural impact of art making for tribal communities. 

You are a changemaker. You help the Abbe touch thousands of lives each and every year. From
the 3,000 schoolchildren who visit the Museum, to the more than 80 Native artists who help with projects and exhibits, to the hours spent in a car driving to the Wabanaki communities in Maine and the Maritimes, to the invaluable time spent collaborating with Wabanaki people, your help makes it possible for us to continue to change lives through learning. Every voice matters and yours has been especially powerful in telling the Abbe’s story.   

Your contributions have helped make the Abbe Museum an essential, decolonizing, economic educational resource that’s changing museum practice across the world. Your continued support today is extremely important because it provides an immediate and meaningful impact on the day-to-day operations of the Abbe, most of which are not funded by grant opportunities. Your gift effects every facet of the Museum, from the upkeep and maintenance of galleries and other museum spaces, to community and education programs, to utilities and insurance, to staff salaries. Your gift will help make an actionable impact on providing the necessary funding to fuel these continuing efforts. Help us celebrate 90 years in 2018 by hitting our annual fund goal of $100,000!  
 

DONATE TODAY

 

Artist doodle by Geo Soctomah Neptune, Passamaquoddy. Geo is a Master Basketmaker and has always believed that you do not choose a basket, that a basket actually chooses you. When Geo weaves, they try to be mindful of the fact that the piece will one day be a home for a small piece of their spirit, and that spirit will choose to go wherever it wants. 

Enter for a Chance to Win a Fred Tomah Basket

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This fall the Abbe Museum Shop is celebrating baskets! And we couldn’t talk about baskets without mentioning a longtime friend of the Abbe’s: Fred Tomah. 

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Fred Tomah is a Master Basketmaker and one of the only Maliseet basketmakers in Maine. He has been making brown ash baskets for nearly 35 years, an artform that was passed down to him by his ancestors (who learned it from their ancestors). Interwoven into this long-standing history is a distinct style that makes each Fred Tomah basket uniquely his. You will definitely know a Fred basket when you see it! 

If you have always wanted to own a Fred Tomah basket, now is your chance! We are raffling off this beautiful black and white Mt. Katahdin weave basket. Tickets are available both in the shop and online – 1 for $2.00, 3 for $5.00, 7 for $10.00 – and you won’t want to miss out on adding this to your personal collection. The winner will be announced on November 1st, so grab your tickets today and support the Abbe as we change lives through learning!

This raffle has closed. The winner is Kathryn MacLeod from Falmouth, Maine! 


Jill Sawyer is the Abbe Museum's Advancement & Gallery Associate. She provides advancement support for the income generating activities and daily operations of the Abbe Museum and is also responsible for building and strengthening relationships with Native artists. In 2013 she spent 3 months in Manila, Philippines, evaluating the Museo Pambata’s Mobile Library Program. This experience became the foundation for her master’s thesis, which discusses the importance of advocacy and community outreach in museums.

Tea & Pops Archaeology Update

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If you're a fan of our Tea & Pops Archaeology program, we have some exciting news for you! This year the Abbe Museum has implemented its first ever Archaeology Advisory Committee with an impressive lineup of Native archeologists and others working in the field. To commemorate this, we are foregoing our annual Tea & Pops event in October and will instead host an Archaeology Panel with a number of experts from our committee on Sunday, November 5th at 7 pm. More details will be released soon, and don't worry, we'll revisit Tea & Pops in 2018! 

The Abbe Museum’s Archaeology Advisory Committee is part of our wider work to bring our archaeological research, collections management, and interpretation fully into a decolonizing framework. You can learn more about this new committee on our blog

So, please save the date for Sunday, November 5th at 7 pm for what will surely be an interesting panel discussion around archaeology! 

Continuing Beading Traditions

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On Tuesday, September 12th, I hosted my first raised beadwork class here at the Abbe Museum. I was excited to share this special art form with others because it's very dear to me and I've been doing it for nearly 10 years now.

Raised beadwork is a form of beading in which the beads do not lay flat against a surface but instead pucker off the material to create a three-dimensional look. This particular beading technique became very popular in Northeastern tribal communities, especially in areas close to Bar Harbor and Niagara Falls, where the tourist industry fueled a demand of skilled beadworkers to create delicate home goods and purses for Victorian visitors. Among the Haudenosaunee, raised beadwork adapted and flourished into several distinct styles and continues to be a popular beading medium for regalia and art. Other northeastern tribes, including the Algonquins and Wabanaki tribes, adopted raised beadwork in tourist hubs even though collectors, especially in the Bar Harbor area, tended to gravitate towards basketry.

As a member of the Algonquin First Nation of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg in Quebec, there is a deep history between my ancestors and beadwork. We’ve always adorned our clothing and moccasins and we continue to do so today. Northeast Woodland beadwork, for example, is deeply rooted in space; it reflects the naturally occurring flora and our celestial understanding of the world. It’s a distinct style I love to share with visitors to the Museum who are not familiar with the beading traditions of this area.

During my class on the 12th, I brought out items from our collections that properly illustrate raised beadwork traditions. All the items are either Haudenosaunee or Wabanaki and demonstrate the similarities and sharing of this work, as Native peoples adapted to a cash economy based on tourism. Guests in the workshop, as well as those passing through the museum, were welcome to look at the collection items and see what a contemporary artist, like me, has done to continue the legacy of Woodland beading. Participants in the workshop were also shown step-by-step how to style their own flower using raised beadwork techniques such as a rope stitch, single and double stamen stitches, and an urchin stitch center. Through this process, the attendees have a greater understanding of the diversity and uniqueness of Northeastern beading traditions and now have their own creation to take home.

Miigwetch to my participants and all those who stopped by to learn!

 

Starr Kelly is the Curator of Education at the Abbe Museum. She is a member of the Algonquin First Nation of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg in Quebec, and has worked as a middle and high school social studies teacher and is a social justice oriented educator, developing what she refers to as a "curriculum for dignity." Her lessons and pedagogical approach put theory into practice by honoring those she teaches about while simultaneously creating an environment which is responsive to the needs of her learners and dignifies her students' lived experiences

2017 Abbe Museum Fellowship Winners Announced

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The Abbe Museum is excited to announce the 2017 Wabanaki Artist Fellows: Donna Brown, Penobscot, Jeremy Frey, Passamaquoddy, and Geo Neptune, Passamaquoddy. These exceptionally creative artists – who through color, language, form, and sound – interpret the past, understand the present, and envision the future for Wabanaki people across the state of Maine. These fellowships are made possible through support from Dawnland, LLC.

“In a time when many sources of direct funding for artists has been reduced or eliminated entirely, the Abbe is proud to provide this kind of grant support for Wabanaki artists to promote and further develop their incredible talents,” said Abbe Museum President and CEO, Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko. 

All three 2017 Fellows have repeatedly taken top prizes out west; however, traveling long distances to attend the Indian Arts marketplace is often a hardship that prevents more artists from entering. The Fellowships are intended to provide support for travel, lodging, and other costs associated with exhibiting at Indian art markets in Maine and New Mexico. Brown and Frey will attend the 2017 Southwestern Association for Indian Arts Santa Fe Indian Market (SWAIA) in August, and Neptune will attend several of the local markets in addition to SWAIA.

From left to right: Jeremy Frey, Geo Neptune (photo by Rogier van Bakel, www.eagereyephoto.com, and Donna Brown.

From left to right: Jeremy Frey, Geo Neptune (photo by Rogier van Bakel, www.eagereyephoto.com, and Donna Brown.

Brown, co-owner of Bangor-based jewelry studio Decontie & Brown, handcrafts jewelry and traditional beadwork made from various metals, semi-precious gemstones, and glass beads.

“The beauty of nature and my culture inspires me on a daily basis. We are fortunate to be from such beautiful territory and I always try to reflect that gratitude in my work. I also gain inspiration from our elders and ancestors. As I learn more about how they adapted to available technology and methods of creating art, it encourages me to try new techniques while complementing modern styles with traditional artwork,” she said. 

Frey, who comes from a long line of Native weavers, specializes in ash fancy baskets, a traditional form of Wabanaki weaving. His work has been featured at the Smithsonian, Museum of Art and Design in New York City, and in many other prominent museums around the country.

“Basketry is an art form that I can relate to in many ways. It is a part of my heritage, an art form that connects me to my relatives both living and passed. For me, to weave is a way of honoring my ancestors. However, it is also a way to honor future generation both through my teachings and though my personal carrying on of the art form. My work is always evolving; I try to create a newer and more elaborate version of my work each time I weave,” he said. 

Neptune has been making baskets since they were four years old and was awarded the title of Master Basketmaker at the age of twenty by the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance, making them the youngest person to ever receive the title.

“I practice my art in my home community of Indian Township. As a Two-Spirit, it is my cultural responsibility to preserve traditions and pass them on to the next generation, which I have focused heavily on in the past and hope to be able to do so again, making traditional art more accessible for all Wabanaki youth,” they said.

Have fun and lend a hand at the Abbe Midsummer!

Photo courtesy of rogier van bakel, eager eye photography

Photo courtesy of rogier van bakel, eager eye photography

Come celebrate with us at the inaugural Abbe Midsummer on Thursday, August 3rd. The Midsummer is our biggest fundraising event of the year and your help will play a huge part in its success. Alongside directly supporting the mission of the Abbe Museum, volunteers also get to meet and hang out with fun people, see beautiful artwork, and be part of an event that is unlike any other this summer. Below is the list of tasks, each an important element in making the Midsummer AMAZING – there's definitely something on here that you would be perfect for, and we will do our best to make sure that you are assigned roles that fit your strengths and interests!


PARKING ATTENDANTS

Stationed at Conners-Emerson School, the parking attendants will help direct guests to an Oli’s Trolley pick up area. Taking turns one attendant will ride back to the museum with guests to help them get oriented, before riding back to the school. Volunteers in this role will have good energy and be able to keep guests excited about the Midsummer as they are making their way to the event.

SILENT AUCTION CREW
Working at an assigned table, Silent Auction volunteers will manage a variety of responsibilities. This includes chatting with and encouraging bidders and providing information about items and artists. You will also monitor bids and keep bid sheets organized, as well as handle any absentee bids at your station. This is a great way to interact with and have fun with our guests!

LIVE AUCTION CREW
For the Live Auction, we will need a couple volunteers to point out raised paddles and record winning bids. During the paddle raise this team will collect and organize paddles in preparation for check-out. This is your chance to get caught up in the excitement of the live auction and paddle raise!

WRAP & PACK CREW
The Wrap and Pack Crew will make sure that auction items are appropriately packaged and tagged in anticipation of the end of the evening. At check-out, this team will be responsible for monitoring the pick-up table and making sure guests get their items in a timely fashion. 

CHECK-OUT CREW
Once the event ends the Check-Out Crew will be on hand to assist guests in paying for their items/donations before they head home for the night. Check out will be divided into two sections with volunteers assisting with both regular and express check-out. Be sure to have good energy and keep guests excited until the very end of the evening.


If you're available on August 3rd from 4:00 to 10:00 pm and would like to lend a hand, contact Jill at 207-288-3519 or volunteer@abbemuseum.org. From there you will be sent a packet with more information about the Midsummer, your assignments, and the specific requirements of each task. Leading up to the Midsummer, we will be hosting an orientation/pizza night -- there you will get a sneak peek of the event, meet some of your fellow volunteers, and get to chow down on free pizza!

For a fun way to give back to your community, consider signing up to volunteer at the Abbe Midsummer today! We can't wait to work with you -- and, as always, THANK YOU for your support!


Jill Sawyer is the Abbe Museum's Advancement & Gallery Associate. She provides advancement support for the income generating activities and daily operations of the Abbe Museum and is also responsible for building and strengthening relationships with Native artists. In 2013 she spent 3 months in Manila, Philippines, evaluating the Museo Pambata’s Mobile Library Program. This experience became the foundation for her master’s thesis, which discusses the importance of advocacy and community outreach in museums.

Abbe Museum Welcomes New Trustees

The Abbe Museum has added two new members to its Board of Trustees, bringing the total number of Trustees to 16. The new appointees, Gabriel Frey, Passamaquoddy, and Sarah Sockbeson, Penobscot, assumed their new roles on June 2, 2017. Abbe Trustees Jeff Dalrymple and Richard Cleary were elected to a third term.

"We are honored to have Gabe and Sarah join the Abbe’s board,” said Abbe Museum Board Chair Ann Cox Halkett. “Both bring talents and new perspectives that will complement and strengthen our energetic and engaged board. Their leadership will be especially important as the Abbe continues its commitment to decolonization and launches the first annual Abbe Museum Indian Market in Bar Harbor in May 2018.”

Gabriel Frey is a Passamaquoddy artist who learned to make brown ash baskets from his grandfather. His baskets can be seen in museums and galleries across Maine, and his work was recently featured in museum exhibits in Maine and Connecticut. Gabe was a recipient of a Native Arts New England grant from the New England Foundation for the Arts in 2008, and he teaches basketmaking to apprentice Wabanaki basketmakers.

Image courtesy Eager Eye Photography

Image courtesy Eager Eye Photography

Sarah Sockbeson is a Penobscot artist, raised in Brooklin, Maine. Her great-grandmother made Penobscot baskets in the early 1900s on Indian Island. In 2004 Sarah apprenticed with Jennifer Neptune where she learned the history, techniques, and art that has become modern native basketry. She was soon being recognized by museums and collectors across the country from Maine to Arizona. Her unique style incorporates many different elements of traditional Wabanaki technique, however, she combines the tradition with innovative colors and patterns to create a fresh, new approach to a timeless and beautiful art form.

The Abbe Museum Trustees also include: Ann Cox Halkett (Chair), Joseph F. Cistone (Vice Chair), Curtis Simard (Secretary), Jeff Dalrymple (Treasurer), Richard Cleary, William Haviland, Abbe Levin, Jamie Bissonette Lewey, Margo Lukens, Roger Milliken, Jennifer Neptune, Patricia DiIanni Selig, Douglas Sharpe, Chris Sockalexis, and Honorary Trustees Alice Wellman and Darren J. Ranco. 
 

Abbe Museum and Dawnland, LLC Announce 2017 Fellowship Program

The Abbe Museum and Dawnland, LLC are excited to announce the third annual 2017 Fellowship Program. Three fellowships will be awarded to provide support for travel, lodging, and other costs associated with exhibiting at Indian art markets in Maine and New Mexico.

“In our efforts to foster and promote contemporary Wabanaki art in both a regional and national context, these fellowships are designed to help Wabanaki artists promote their work within the greater artistic communities,” said Abbe Museum President and CEO, Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko.

Two fellowships will be awarded to artists attending the 2017 Southwestern Association for Indian Art’s Santa Fe Indian Market, and one shall be awarded to an artist attending one or more of the four annual Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance shows:

  • Native American Festival and Basketmakers Market in Bar Harbor - July 8, 2017
  • Maine Native American Summer Market & Demonstration in New Gloucester – August 26, 2017
  • Common Ground Country Fair in Unity - September 22-24, 2017
  • Maine Indian Basketmakers Holiday Market in Orono - December 9, 2017

All applicants must provide proof of acceptance or eligibility to participate in the markets for the 2017 year. Each applicant is expected to provide a closing report by no later than December 15, 2017. Ten percent of the grant award will be held until this report is filed.

Visit www.abbemuseum.org/indianmarket for eligibility details, including an application. Fellowship applications received before the deadline of July 1, 2017, at midnight will be added to the pool of applicants. The application will be entered into a lottery system where eligible applications will be pulled randomly from the pool. Award notification will be made on or before July 7, 2017.

About Dawnland, LLC
Dawnland, LLC operates the Jordan Pond House restaurant, including the traditional tea and popovers on the lawn overlooking Jordan Pond and the Bubbles, and retail services at Jordan Pond House, Cadillac Mountain, and Thunder Hole. Dawnland's parent company, Ortega National Parks, LLC, has more than 45 years of hospitality experience and nearly 20 years' experience operating concessions in the National Park Service, including at Bandelier National Monument, White Sands, Muir Woods, Carlsbad Caverns, Death Valley and Gateway National Recreation Area.

Welcome Dawn Spears

We are excited to announce the arrival of Dawn Spears, Narragansett/Choctaw, as the Abbe Museum Indian Market (AMIM) Producer. Please join us in welcoming her to the Museum and Bar Harbor! 

As the AMIM Producer, her responsibilities focus on creating and launching the annual Abbe Museum Indian Market (inaugural event is May 18-20, 2018) and coordinating the activities, tasks, and events leading up to AMIM. Dawn has been working in the field for the last two decades, most recently as the Executive Director of Northeast Indigenous Arts Alliance (NIAA) where she worked to support the Native American artist population regionally by sharing resources and artist opportunities, addressing artist needs and seeking ways to increase the visibility in the northeast. Her role at NIAA formed from her prior role as the Native Arts Program Manager for New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) in Boston. In 2016, NIAA partnered with IFAM and the Mashantucket Pequot Museum to bring the first large Indigenous market to the east with “IFAM East." 

Prior to joining NEFA, she devoted a decade to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation where she was involved in a variety of cultural initiatives, which included cultural education, powwow and dance troupe coordination, and language revitalization work. Dawn served as the Narragansett Tribe’s Tribal Secretary for two terms, and has also served on the board and volunteered at the Tomaquag Indian Memorial Museum. She was a member of Native Americans in Philanthropy, serving two terms on the Executive Board, (Secretary, Vice Chair). 
 
She is a 2015 RI State Council for the Arts (RISCA) Master Apprenticeship grantee, and 2015 UPP Arts teaching artist and also served on the HopArts Artist Studio Trail planning committee and is now a member of the Community Advisory Board for the Institute for New England Native American Studies. In 2014, along with her husband they formed the Narragansett Food Sovereignty Initiative to bring a concept of healthy living by providing the Narragansett people access to food, health, and wellbeing, now and into the future through sustainable agriculture, economic development, community involvement, and educational programs.
 
Dawn is the wife of thirty-one years to Cassius and mother of three: Cassius Jr., Kiowa and Coty, and grandmother of five. A believer in the preservation and education of our culture and traditions, Dawn has been teaching and demonstrating for over 25 years in many forms of art and still works creatively when time allows, exhibiting and selling at local galleries and markets. 

"I try to capture the vibrant colors of our natural world; they are my inspiration along with my appreciation of the symbolism within our indigenous culture. I enjoy opportunities that allow us to share our work and give us space to be able to dispel the myths and stereotypes that our people have been forced to endure. Misconceptions about Native American art continue today, for years I was discouraged from pursuing my own style of work because it was not “Native American” enough, it didn’t show horses, and scenes from the wild west. 
I channel my creative focus in my work making a range of corn husk dolls, drawings, painting, jewelry design, and capturing the beauty of our natural work in photography. I work in both contemporary and traditional mediums; I use both traditional and unconventional tools. I like to experiment with these mediums and create amazing colors. In the last few years I have added custom sneakers and shoes to my list, and I even tagged my first pair of jeans. I feel like the possibilities are endless. 
A Narragansett/Choctaw, my mother Diosa Summers, (Choctaw) was an artist and educator and I grew up attending and assisting her. She taught me the fundamentals early; I was immersed in the arts at a young age and I easily became an educator of Eastern Woodland Native Culture myself, my art and work professionally reflect all facets of my life. It was inevitable that I would end up with similar interests as my mother."
 

Volunteer Week at the Abbe Museum

Volunteer Week (April 23-29th) is quickly approaching and with it the start of another busy season. As the manager of the Abbe's Volunteer Program, the upcoming summer gives me pause to reflect on 2016 and how thankful I am to all those who helped make last year so great. Here at the Abbe, we are fortunate to have a dedicated base of volunteers – a group who is always quick to lend a hand, whether that means raking up leaves or baking goodies. We would not be able to do the wonderful work we do without you! So, for Volunteer Week 2017 we are inviting volunteers past, present, and future to come visit us for two Volunteer Open Houses, one on Monday, April 24th from 10-11 am and the other on Thursday, April 27th from 3-4 pm. This is my chance to personally thank you all for your hard work, plus give you an update on what 2017 has in store. 

I first began working at the Abbe Museum as a volunteer in 2010. Since then I have had the opportunity to work in several museums, and one fact remains: volunteers are vital to any museum's success. This is especially true for small museums. The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) estimates that volunteers provide 1 million hours of work EVERY WEEK (2013)! The Abbe’s volunteers contributed to that number by clocking in 351 hours last year, valued at $8,270. This involved standing in the rain at the Native American Festival, dancing with scarves at the Gala, and serving up s’mores on a stick at the Backyard Bash. At the Bash alone, volunteers outnumbered staff 5:1 – further exemplifying the importance of volunteers for our continued development. 

We can’t wait to bring the energy from 2016 into 2017, a year that promises to be another exciting page in the Abbe Museum book. You'll notice that the volunteer program is changing – with new recruitment and communication techniques at the forefront. Also, with two new faces on the team, there is potential for more opportunities to get involved. This is all on top of the unique events we already have planned. Those of you already following us know that we are saying goodbye to the Gathering Gala and hello to a new venture: the Abbe Midsummer. The Abbe Midsummer is a chance for us to step outside of our comfort zone, engaging with our guests in new and exciting ways. For volunteers, it is a chance to become involved in what promises to be a really fun evening full of good food, great entertainment, and cool people. It will be THE event on the island this summer, for sure!

As we embark on these changes, we welcome your feedback. Those of you attending one of our Volunteer Open Houses will get a sneak peek of our plan for the year and be invited to contribute. If you’ve worked with us in the past, we want to hear about what you thought worked or didn’t work. For future volunteers: what would make you want to participate? We appreciate all that you do to keep us strong and want to ensure that the program works just as well for you as it does for us. So, please, consider attending and lending your voice. 

Volunteering at the Abbe Museum gives you inside access to museum life, unpacking all the quirky and interesting systems that keep us going while introducing you to new people that share your interests. It's not just a way to help a rich cultural institution on the island, but a way to enrich your own understanding of our diverse community while giving back. Thank you for all that you do – your time, talents, energy, and spirit are indispensable and hugely appreciated. I’m so, so glad I get to work with you. Now let’s make some magic happen in 2017!

Who Was Here First?

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By Bill Haviland, Abbe Museum Trustee
Previously published by Island Ad-Vantages, April 17, 2008

A question frequently asked of me is: Who were the original inhabitants of the Deer Isle region? The answer is a people who called themselves Etchemins (skicin in Passamaquoddy), meaning “real people” as opposed to animals, monsters, and other people. Their homeland, which stretched from the Kennebec to the Saint John River they called Ketakamigwa, meaning “the big land on the sea coast.” West of them lived a people the French called Armouchiquise, from the Etchemin word meaning “dog people.” Included among them were the Abenakis (“dawn land people”), whose homeland extended from the Kennebec to the Merrimack River, and west to Lake Champlain. Their name for themselves was Alnambak, meaning “real people”: the name Abenaki is what Indians living in Quebec called them.

North and east of the Etchemins lived people the French called Souriquois, known today as Mi’kmaqs (meaning “kin friends”). Their original name for themselves was U’nu’k meaning - guess what? - "humans” or “people.”

All these people spoke closely related languages and had long traded with one another. Animal hides and copper from mines in Nova Scotia were exchanged for corn and beans grown by the Abenakis. This peaceful exchange was upset in the sixteenth century with the arrival of the French in Mi’kmaq country. Redirecting their trade to these newcomers (called wenuj meaning “who is that?”) the Mi’kmaqs gained access to guns and sailing vessels, allowing them to raid their neighbors along the coast for the things they had earlier obtained through trade. Allied with them in this raiding were the Etchemins living east of Schoodic, who are known today as Passamaquoddys (“people of the pollack plenty place”) and Maliseets (or wolastoqiyik, "people of the beautiful river"). Collectively, these people were called Tarrentines (“traders”) by the English.

To defend themselves against these raiders from Downeast, the western Etchemins entered into an alliance with the Abenakis living between the Kennebec and Cape Neddick. Known as the Mawooshen Confederacy, the name means “band of people walking or acting together.” It was headed by a grand chief named Bashabas, whose headquarters was up the Penobscot River at the mouth of the Kenduskeag Stream. As was the custom when referring to people or things of exceptional prominence, he was often referred to as “The Bashabas.”

Disaster befell the Mawooshen Confederacy in 1615 when Mi’kmaq raiders managed to kill Bashabas. On top of this came “the great dying,” an epidemic that killed up to 90 percent of coastal populations. To replenish their numbers, the local Etchemins encouraged their surviving Abenaki allies, who were under pressure from the growth of English colonies to the south, to join their communities. It is these descendants of the old Mawooshen Confederacy who became known as Penobscots. Eventually, the Abenaki language became dominant among them, although some Etchemin words still persist today. Among the Passamaquoddy and Maliseet, by contrast, modern versions of the old Etchemin language are still spoken.

By 1700, in the face of continued pressures from the English, the Penobscots joined with other Abenakis as well as their former adversaries down east to form the Wabanaki ("dawn land”) Confederacy. On a grander scale, it represented a revival of the old Mawooshen idea. Still today, these people of northern New England and Canada’s Atlantic Provinces are collectively known as Wabanakis. 

About the Author
Dr. Bill Haviland is Professor Emeritus at the University of Vermont, where he founded the Department of Anthropology and taught for thirty-two years. He is a leader in his field and has written numerous research articles and books and lectured on such diverse topics as ancient Maya settlement patterns, social organization, skeletal remains, gender and graffiti in Tikal, and the culture history and present situation of Abenaki Indians in Vermont. Bill is now retired from teaching and continues research, writing, and lecturing from the coast of Maine. His most recent books are At the Place of the Lobsters and Crabs: Indian People and Deer Isle Maine 1605-2005 (2009) and Canoe Indians of Down East Maine (2012).

Guest Blogger Series
Our Guest Blogger Series is written by members of the Abbe Museum's Board of Trustees, Native Advisory Council, Staff, and special guest authors. It is a place to talk about the Museum's mission and related topics. Interested in becoming a Guest Blogger? Contact the Abbe's Director of Advancement, Heather Anderson, for more details at heather@abbemuseum.org

Abbe Museum and Machias Savings Bank Partner on Free Admission Program

Machias Savings Bank Branch Manager Matt Horton presents Abbe Museum President and CEO Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko with a check in support of the Abbe's free admission program

Machias Savings Bank Branch Manager Matt Horton presents Abbe Museum President and CEO Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko with a check in support of the Abbe's free admission program

The Abbe Museum will continue to offer free admission during select months in 2017, thanks to the generosity of Machias Savings Bank. Admission will be free February 2 - April 30 and November 1 - December 22, 2017.

"This year, Machias Savings Bank and the Abbe Museum celebrate 26 years as partners," said Branch Manager, Matt Horton. "We are pleased to commemorate this partnership by once again sponsoring the Abbe's free admission program, which offers an opportunity for more visitors to see the Museum's exceptional exhibits, projects, and programs."

As Maine’s first and only Smithsonian Affiliate, the Abbe’s free admission program aligns nicely with the Smithsonian’s goal of being easily accessible to the public, and it helps raise the Abbe’s statewide visibility as the only museum dedicated solely to sharing the story of the Wabanaki Nations. 

The Abbe staff is currently designing and installing two new exhibits, Twisted Path IV: Vital Signs and the 2017 Waponahki Student Art Show, both of which will open in April. In addition, the Museum’s new core exhibit, People of the First Light, is open and offers visitors a wide variety of content and perspectives around more than 12,000 years of history, conflict, adaptation, and survival in the Wabanaki homeland.

“Thanks to Machias Savings Bank, the Abbe’s statewide visibility continues to grow in the off-season through this free admission program, drawing more repeat Maine visitors every year,” said Abbe Museum President and CEO Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko. “Since close to 80% of our visitors come from more than 120 miles away, and are typically one-time visitors, the free admission program has catered to Maine residents, which is an audience we’ve been trying to engage with more often since we opened our downtown location back in 2001.”

The Abbe is currently open Thursdays through Saturdays, 10 am to 4 pm, through April 30, 2017. From May 1 through October 31, 2017, the Museum will be open seven days a week. The Abbe’s Acadia National Park location at Sieur de Monts Spring will be open seven days a week from mid-May to mid-October. Please visit abbemuseum.org for more details. 

Abbe Museum Launches New Website

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The Abbe Museum has launched a new website that offers users a fresh way to interact with the Museum. Key features of the site include a cleaner and more attractive design, a more engaging user experience with enhanced search and navigation, and an easy to use events calendar.

Featuring an eclectic arrangement of content set against a simple white background and a responsive design optimized for viewing on all platforms—desktop, tablet, and smartphone— the website has a clean, accessible look and feel that reflects the spirit of the Abbe's downtown Bar Harbor facility.

“As a cultural institution, the Abbe Museum has a responsibility to connect with the wider community beyond Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Island,” said Abbe President and CEO Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko. “Our redesigned website serves as a powerful resource to visitors from around the world, in person and virtually.”

Modern and clean, abbemuseum.org is filled with beautiful images, art, and engaging content. You'll find it much easier to explore events, exhibitions, and the Abbe’s extensive collections. Functionality and design highlights include:

  • Responsive design which ensures an optimal experience on any device
  • A focus on stunning images
  • Dynamic educational content
  • Advanced search functionality, which provides unprecedented access to the Museum and all it has to offer 
  • Built for integration of the ongoing online collections project

Still to come are the Abbe Blog and enhanced video and audio integration. Updates will also be made to the Education pages over the course of the next few months.

All of the new site’s dynamic features complement the cutting-edge Smithsonian level curatorial work and research undertaken at the Abbe Museum, while also encouraging more prolonged engagement from visitors both near and far.

“There are many museum websites that you visit only to find out when the museum is open and how much admission costs,” said Abbe Director of Advancement Heather Anderson. “We wanted our website to offer more. It's intended to invite multiple, in-depth visits.”

Abbe Museum Welcomes New Trustees

The Abbe Museum has added two new members to its Board of Trustees, bringing the total number of Trustees to 20. The new appointees, Mary Herman and Roger Milliken, assumed their new roles on October 21, 2016. Abbe Trustee William Haviland was elected to a third term earlier this year.

“Both Roger and Mary offer a state-wide perspective that we are always looking to add to boardroom conversations,” said Abbe President/CEO Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko. “We really see ourselves as a state-wide educational resource and their experiences and connections will certainly help us deepen our purpose. And, for the past few years, we’ve made great strides in our efforts, adding board members from the tribal communities and from across New England.” 

Mary J. Herman serves on the University of New England Board and is a former member of the Maine Women’s Lobby and Safe Passage boards. After graduating college in the Midwest, she moved east, first to teach in Washington, DC, then to attend graduate school in Boston. In 1973, Herman moved to Calais (and then Perry) Maine where she worked in the Passamaquoddy basket store and was a teacher aide on Peter Dana Point. During this time she taught prenatal classes and eventually directed the family planning program for Downeast Health Services.

In 1981, Herman began work for The Maine Women’s Lobby. Following two years at the Lobby, she joined what was to become Cohen-Herman Associates and eventually Mary J Herman Associates, a public policy consulting lobbying and association management firm. She is married to Angus King and lives in Brunswick, Maine.

Roger Milliken is President and CEO of the Baskahegan Company, which owns and manages 120,000 acres of family forestland in eastern Maine. Baskahegan is a recognized leader in Maine’s forest products industry, known for its commitment to managing for timber while respecting the dynamics of natural systems. Baskahegan’s forest has been green-certified by the Forest Stewardship Council since 2004.

Milliken is a Director of Milliken & Co, and a Trustee of the Northern Forest Center. He and his wife Margot serve on the Advisory Board of the American Indian Institute. Roger served on the (global) Board of Directors of the Nature Conservancy from 2000-2011, chairing the board for the last three years of his term. He previously chaired the Maine Chapter of the Conservancy and the Advisory Board of the Manomet Forest Conservation Program.

The Abbe Museum Trustees also include: Ann Cox Halkett (Chair), Richard Cleary (Vice Chair), Curtis Simard (Secretary) Jeff Dalrymple (Treasurer), David Moses Bridges (Passamaquoddy), Joseph F. Cistone, Linda K. Dunn, William Haviland, Abbe Levin, Jamie Bissonette Lewey (Abenaki), Margo Lukens, Jennifer Neptune (Penobscot), Patricia DiIanni Selig, Douglas Sharpe, Chris Sockalexis (Penobscot), Sandra K. Wilcox, and Honorary Trustees Alice Wellman and Darren J. Ranco (Penobscot).

Backyard Bash at the Abbe Museum

The inaugural Backyard Bash at the Abbe Museum was a huge success! More than 250 people stopped by to sample the delicious food, play some fun games, listen to show-stopping live music, check out the Wabanaki artist booths, and peruse all the amazing items in our silent auction. Word on the street is everyone had a blast and some are already asking about next year. Thanks again to everyone who helped make this event possible!

Anonymous
Atlantic Brewing Company
Bangor Daily News
Bar Harbor Catering Company
Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company
BHA, LLC
Blaze
Cadillac Mountain Sports
Coca Cola
Dawland Tours, LLC
Dead River Company
Decontie & Brown
Frogpipe
Havana
L.S. Robinson Company
Gus La Casse
Leary’s Landing
Lynam Agency -Insurance and Real Estate
MDI High School students
MDI Ice Cream
MPBN
Mt. Dessert Bakery
Martha Newell
Bonnie Newsom
Molly Neptune Parker
PeekyToe Provisions
Project Social
Queen Anne’s Flower Shop
Siam Orchid
Side Street Cafe
Stanley Subaru
Tea House 278 / Tea Garden Tea Company
Lisa Tompkins

And, finally, a HUGE thank you to all our amazing silent auction donors!

Waponahki Student Art Show Alumna

Do you ever wonder if the artists featured in our Waponahki Student Art Show keep creating art once they leave the Maine Indian Education schools?

Christiana Becker, Penobscot, is a student at the University of Maine and has been using her art as a medium through which she displays and shares her culture. When she was in the eighth grade, she participated in the Abbe Museum's annual Waponahki Student Art Show with the following submission.

Hidden Warrior Spirit

Christiana R. Becker, Penobscot
Grade 8
Indian Island School

"I've always like to read fantasy books or books with swords. I like it when there is a woman who is a hero or warrior. So I drew a woman who wanted to be a warrior. She goes to one of her favorite spots to ask for guidance from her ancestors. She then sees a reflection of herself and finds she does have the spirit of a warrior. It's hidden inside her."

Fast forward to 2016 where several of Christiana’s original pieces were recently featured in the University of Maine's Senior Art Exhibit “Ghosts of Carnegie Hall." Christiana hopes observers take from her art the importance of “giving back to the Earth, being grateful, and making sure that your descendants and your people will also benefit from your actions.”

Read more about Christiana's success in a recent article posted by the Maine Journal.

Abbe Museum and Dawnland, LLC Announce 2016 Fellowship Winners

The 2016 Wabanaki Artist Fellows, Gabriel Frey, Theresa Secord, and Jason Brown, all gave artist demonstrations at the Abbe Museum's Annual Meeting on June 3, 2016. 

The Abbe Museum is honored to announce the 2016 Wabanaki Artist Fellows, recognizing three exceptionally creative individuals with a track record of achievement and significant contributions to the arts: Jason K. Brown, Penobscot, Gabriel Frey, Passamaquoddy, and Theresa Secord, Penobscot. These fellowships are made possible through support from Dawnland, LLC, the concessioner in Acadia National Park.

The fellowships are intended to provide support for travel, lodging, and other costs associated with exhibiting at Indian art markets in Maine and New Mexico. Brown and Secord will attend the 2016 Southwestern Association for Indian Arts Santa Fe Indian Market (SWAIA) in August, and Frey will attend one of the local markets.

“It is an honor to support talented Wabanaki artists and we look forward to hearing about their success and supporting them through fellowships, our Native American Festival and Basketmakers Market on July 9, 2016, and through our museum shop,” said Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko, president and CEO of the Abbe Museum. 

Brown, owner of Bangor-based jewelry studio Decontie & Brown, handcrafts jewelry and traditional beadwork made from various metals and semi-precious gemstones. “My work is motivated by my desire to bring to life the designs created by my imagination,” Brown said. “I find inspiration in nature, and in the designs of my Penobscot culture. Historically, the Wabanaki people hired local metalsmiths to create adornments for them. I feel that as a contemporary Wabanaki jeweler, I am breaking new ground as a metalsmith and jeweler.”

Frey, a Passamaquoddy brown ash basketmaker, specializes in utility baskets such as pack baskets, market baskets, and purses. “I weave each basket solely with brown ash and handcraft leather straps for each basket,” Frey said. “My artistic process includes locating and harvesting basket quality brown ash trees from the woods, processing brown ash logs, and weaving brown ash materials into basket forms. I carve the hoops, rims, handle, and wooden pins to fasten leather straps. The majority of my tools, such as basket molds, gauges, and my shave horse, are adaptations of traditional designs. Maintaining the traditional knowledge of Wabanaki basketmakers is an important aspect of my artistic process.”

Over the past ten years, Secord has won awards for her basketry, including several first places at Santa Fe Indian Market, the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair and Market, and the Eiteljorg Indian Market. She is also the first U.S. citizen to receive the Prize for Creativity in Rural Life by the Women’s World Summit Foundation at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, for helping basket makers rise out of poverty. “My art journey is currently focused on the use of alternative, natural materials to supplement ash, due to the Emerald Ash Borer beetle,” Secord said. “I’ve been dedicated to the preservation/protection of the sacred ash trees for 23 years, and helped pioneer the use of cedar bark overlay on ash in Maine Indian basketry a few years ago.”

About Dawnland, LLC
Dawnland, LLC operates the Jordan Pond House restaurant, including the traditional tea and popovers on the lawn overlooking Jordan Pond and the Bubbles, and retail services at Jordan Pond House, Cadillac Mountain, and Thunder Hole. Dawnland's parent company, Ortega National Parks, LLC, has more than 45 years of hospitality experience and over 16 years' experience operating concessions in the National Park Service, including at Bandelier National Monument, White Sands, Muir Woods, Carlsbad Caverns, Death Valley and Gateway National Recreation Area.

Native American Culture is Thriving in Maine

“Are there really Native Americans living in

Maine today?”

This is one of the most frequently asked questions from our visitors.

Of the more than five million Native people living in the U.S., approximately 10,000 call Maine home. Most are Wabanaki—a confederacy of Nations that today consists of the four federally recognized tribes in Maine: Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Micmac, and Maliseet. The Wabanaki also includes several bands of the Abenaki tribe, located primarily in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Quebec.

Education changes everything. And at the Abbe Museum, in Bar Harbor, Maine, education is at the center of what we do—every single day. Our 30,000 guests experience a different kind of engagement that includes aesthetic, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual exploration and meaning-making.

They leave the Museum knowing that Native American culture is thriving in Maine.  

Your support is the only way we can accomplish all that we do.

Your support this spring will help change lives by providing cultural experiences that inspire new learning about the Wabanaki Nations. 

For as little as $30, you can directly impact our ability to offer life-changing experiences!

From all of us at the Abbe Museum, thank you for believing in what we do!