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.
 

Launch of the Archaeological Advisory Committee

From left to right, back row: Larry Zimmerman, Gabe Hrynick, Dave Putnam, Darren Ranco, Isaac St. John, Paulette Steeves, Kristen Barnett, Lynne Dominy, Rebecca Cole-Will, Bonnie Newsom, Stephen Loring. From left to right, front row: Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko, Chris Sockalexis, Jennifer Talken-Spaulding, David Goldstein, Starr Kelly, Natalie Dana, Cassandra Dana, Julia Gray, Jennifer Pictou. 

From left to right, back row: Larry Zimmerman, Gabe Hrynick, Dave Putnam, Darren Ranco, Isaac St. John, Paulette Steeves, Kristen Barnett, Lynne Dominy, Rebecca Cole-Will, Bonnie Newsom, Stephen Loring. From left to right, front row: Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko, Chris Sockalexis, Jennifer Talken-Spaulding, David Goldstein, Starr Kelly, Natalie Dana, Cassandra Dana, Julia Gray, Jennifer Pictou. 


The first convening of our newly created Archaeological Advisory Committee was held earlier this week at the Museum. The group of 20 included Indigenous archaeologists, anthropologists, and historians from the Wabanaki Nations and beyond, along with non-Native archaeologists, educators, and leadership from the Abbe and the National Park Service. With the long-term goal of helping the Abbe re-envision our role in archaeology in the Wabanaki homeland, the group tackled topics from community archaeology to building capacity, from education to heritage protection, all through the lenses of decolonizing practice and Indigenous archaeologies. Members of the committee will continue to work in smaller groups to further develop and implement the ideas generated this week.

The full list of committee members is:

Patricia Ayala Rocabado, independent scholar
Kristen Barnett, Unangan, Bates College
Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko, Abbe Museum
Rebecca Cole-Will, Acadia National Park
Cassandra Dana, Passamaquoddy Tribe  
Natalie Dana, Passamaquoddy Tribe
Lynne Dominy, Acadia National Park
David J. Goldstein, National Park Service
Julia Gray, Abbe Museum
Gabe Hrynick, University of New Brunswick
Starr Kelly, Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, Abbe Museum
Stephen Loring, Smithsonian Institution
Bonnie Newsom, Penobscot, University of Maine
Jennifer Pictou, Aroostook Band of Micmacs
David Putnam, University of Maine, Presque Isle
Darren Ranco, Penobscot, University of Maine
Chris Sockalexis, Penobscot Nation
Donald Soctomah, Passamaquoddy Tribe
Isaac St. John, Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians
Paulette Steeves, First Nations Cree- Metis, Mount Allison University, New Brunswick
Jennifer Talken-Spaulding, National Park Service
Larry Zimmerman, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

On Sunday, November 5th, a panel that consisted of four of the committee members took place at the Abbe, officially kicking things off for the week. The crowd of 30 interacted with panelists about the future of archaeology and what is exciting and new in the field.

 
From left to right:Jennifer Pictou (Micmac), Chris Sockalexis (Penobscot), Starr Kelly (Algonquin), Darren Ranco (Penobscot), Paulette Steeves (First Nations Cree- Metis), Kristen Barnett (Unangan), Bonnie Newsom (Penobscot), Isaac St. John (Maliseet), Natalie Dana (Passamaquoddy), Cassandra Dana (Passamaquoddy)

From left to right:Jennifer Pictou (Micmac), Chris Sockalexis (Penobscot), Starr Kelly (Algonquin), Darren Ranco (Penobscot), Paulette Steeves (First Nations Cree- Metis), Kristen Barnett (Unangan), Bonnie Newsom (Penobscot), Isaac St. John (Maliseet), Natalie Dana (Passamaquoddy), Cassandra Dana (Passamaquoddy)

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.

24th Annual Native American Festival & Basketmakers Market

The Native American Festival and Basketmakers Market will celebrate 24 years on July 8, 2017, from 10 am to 4 pm at College of the Atlantic (COA). 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, the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance (MIBA), and COA, the Festival offers visitors, collectors, and gallery owners the opportunity to buy directly from the artists. 

This nationally renowned Indian Market features exquisite handcrafted Wabanaki ash and sweet grass baskets, wood and stone carvings, jewelry, beadwork, dolls, and other handcrafted 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 from Maine and the Maritimes.
 
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. Many of these talented basketmakers first got their start at the Festival over the 24 years it has been in Bar Harbor and has watched it grow from a few artists selling baskets while singers and dancers performed, to a festival that displays a wide array of Native crafts and cultural demonstrations. 

At the time of MIBA’s founding in 1993, there were fewer than a dozen basket makers younger than the age of 50 statewide who were still practicing and learning this ancient and once prolific art form. Through 24 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 the Maine Arts Commission and 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.

Parking is limited, and public transportation is available. Visitors are encouraged to use the free Island Explorer bus system which stops at COA. The grounds of the College of the Atlantic are handicap accessible. 

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. www.maineindianbaskets.org
 

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 to Host Indian Market in Bar Harbor

The Abbe Museum is excited to announce that we will host a three-day Abbe Museum Indian Market (AMIM) in downtown Bar Harbor on May 18-20, 2018. This event will harness the profitability of the Bar Harbor economy for the benefit of tribal communities and in return, generate approximately $250,000 per year for the local economy at a time when lodging and restaurant businesses are in need of visitors.

"The Abbe Museum brings so much to this community in the way of culture, education, and history and offers so much to our visitors,” said Martha Searchfield, the executive director of the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce. “The creation of this exciting new event is yet another way in which we all benefit from the hard work and vision of the Museum. The business community will prosper tremendously from the addition of an event of this magnitude.”

Small festivals are found throughout the year in Maine, but a juried Indian art show is relatively unknown in the Northeast. Award-winning Wabanaki artists like Jeremy Frey, Theresa Secord, David Moses Bridges, Emma Soctomah, Geo Neptune, and Sarah Sockbeson have traveled out West over the past few years to participate in the Indian Arts marketplace. They’ve repeatedly taken top prizes in Sante Fe and Phoenix. However, traveling long distances to attend the Indian Arts marketplace is often a hardship that prevents more artists from entering.

“The Northeast is lacking in opportunity for local artists to sell their art on a national scale,” said Suzanne Greenlaw, an apprentice Maliseet basketmaker. “The expense of traveling makes Western Native Art shows unattainable for many and I would be thrilled to see these local Native artisans sell their art on the level the Abbe Museum Indian Market can provide. The opportunity for economic gains and the possibility for artisans to gain confidence will have significant immeasurable impacts for Native communities.”
Jeremy Frey, Passamaquoddy, with his winning basket at the 2017 Santa Fe Indian Market.

Jeremy Frey, Passamaquoddy, with his winning basket at the 2017 Santa Fe Indian Market.

By creating this event, the Museum will shine a bright light on Wabanaki artists and deepen the economic impact of art making for tribal communities. Artists will be more likely to work full-time, more people will have the opportunity to make a living through art, remnant art forms will be revitalized, and innovation will have even more room to develop.

“Wabanaki peoples have rich and varied artistic traditions—many of which are underappreciated,” said Bonnie Newsom, Penobscot. “Having a Northeast venue to celebrate and share our artistic gifts with the world will not only strengthen these traditions within our communities, but it will also position these traditions in their rightful place as respected art forms unique to Maine.”

As the newly hired AMIM Producer, Dawn Spears, Narragansett/Choctaw, will focus on creating and launching the annual market and coordinating the activities, tasks, and events leading up to it. Spears has been working in the field for the last two decades, recently as the Executive Director of Northeast Indigenous Arts Alliance (NIAA) where she works 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. 

“Many do not realize the level of artistry that exists here in the northeast and AMIM will be the perfect way to showcase our homegrown talent alongside artists representing tribal nations from across the country,” Spears said. “Artists from across the nation are invited and welcome to come and visit the Wabanaki homeland.”

In addition to a two-day market, we're also planning a concurrent Indigenous film festival and a fashion show. And, as the event grows: a marketplace in the streets, an artist competition, a gala event, and the opportunity to taste Native cuisine. 

“As Northeastern indigenous art—and more specifically, Wabanaki art—continues to gain the attention of collectors from around the world, I believe that Bar Harbor is poised to become the “Santa Fe” of the Northeast: a place where visitors from many walks of life come to experience Indigenous North American history and culture,” said Geo Neptune, a Passamaquoddy Master Basketmaker. “Given the Abbe’s history of working with Wabanaki people and the admirable goals set by their current strategic plan, I am confident that the Abbe Museum is the only organization that is able, with the support of its community and partners, to make this dream become a reality.”

We'll reveal more details throughout 2017 on www.abbemuseum.org/indianmarket. Indigenous artists interested in participating in the Abbe Museum Indian Market should get in touch with Dawn Spears at dawn@abbemuseum.org or 207-801-4088. 
 

Sponsor an Art Kit for $25 and Inspire a Young Artist

The Abbe Museum is gearing up for our 16th annual Waponahki Student Art Show, in collaboration with Maine Indian Education. This art show and artist reception always bring together a wonderful variety of art created by more than 50 Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Maliseet, and Micmac students from early childhood education through high school. All the artwork will be on display in the Abbe's Community Gallery for six months.

As an award for having their artwork selected for this fan-favorite show, each student receives an art supply kit consisting of a few items to feed their artistic passion - sketch pads, paints, paint brushes, charcoal, pencils, pencil holders - and a framed certificate.

The Abbe has been able to produce these popular kits through the support of Maine Indian Education and generous donations from community members like you. For just $25, you can sponsor one of these art supply kits, ensuring that each student receives an award for their creativity. We need at least 50 kits this year. 

Each sponsor will have a kit named in their honor, as well as receive an invitation to the Waponahki Student Art reception held in May, which is usually a private reception reserved for students and their friends and families. The exhibit opens to the public on Thursday, May 4th. 

Please join us. Spread the word. Make a donation. 100% of your gift will directly fund these student art supply kits. 

Last year's sponsorship campaign was such a huge success - not only did we hit our goal, we exceeded it! Let's do it again this year!

N’tolonapemk Our Relatives’ Place

Native Americans have lived on Meddybemps Lake at its outlet to the Dennys River for at least 8,600 years. The Passamaquoddy people have named this site N'tolonapemk, which in Passamaquoddy means, "Our Relatives' Place."
 
We still get a lot of inquiries about this exhibit, which was open in our main gallery November 2012 through April 2014. It told the story of N'tolonapemk through archaeological evidence and the stories and knowledge of the Passamaquoddy people. The scientific methods used by archaeologists, contrasted with traditional Passamaquoddy stories, work together to create a complete picture and a richer understanding of this important place.

N’tolonapemk is centrally located within the ancestral Passamaquoddy territory in eastern Maine and southwestern New Brunswick. This location affords easy travel by canoe to the ocean, the St. Croix River, the lakes and waterways of interior Maine and New Brunswick, and to the abundant and varied resources these settings provide.

N’tolonapemk has always been known to the Passamaquoddy people; this important place lives on today in their oral history and traditional stories. Archaeologists have known about the site since the 1960s, but only recently has its historic and scientific importance become more widely understood through archaeological research.

We'd like to share the story of N’tolonapemk again, as seen through archaeology and the stories and knowledge of the Passamaquoddy people.

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!

Come Meet our New Education Team

There are some new faces at the Abbe Museum! We've scheduled two specific programs that will enable you all to meet Starr Kelly, our new Curator of Education, and Angela Raup, our new Manager of Guest Experience. 

On Wednesday, April 12th from 3:30 - 5 pm, all local educators are invited to come explore our collection of educational materials, join our Book Club, and offer feedback on past and future programs. Expect great conversation, light refreshments, and surprise get-to-know-you activities!

On Thursday, April 20th from 12 - 2 pm, the local community is invited to come and participate in a white glove artifact experience and learn about upcoming Abbe events. There will even be a specially curated exhibit for you to explore and get to know the new team. Light refreshments will be served. Free and open to the public. 

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

Welcome New Staff Members

We are excited to announce the arrival of two new staff members: Starr Kelly and Angela Raup. Please join us in welcoming them both to the Museum and Bar Harbor! We'll announce a few Meet and Greet dates soon that will give you all an opportunity to meet Starr and Angela and get to know them in their new roles. 

Starr Kelly is our Curator of Education. She is a member of the Algonquin First Nation of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg in Quebec. After growing up in Portland, Maine, she attended Colgate University in Hamilton, NY as an undergraduate in Native American Studies. She continued her education at Colgate receiving a Masters of Teaching in 2013, focusing her studies on secondary social studies.

A Gottesman fellow, Starr created original research on the lasting intergenerational trauma caused by the boarding school era among Native peoples in the U.S. and Canada. A topic that led to her thesis work in the area of decolonization practices as a means to address the needs of Native students and foster healing from historic trauma inflicted by colonial agendas.

As a middle and high school social studies teacher, Starr is a social justice oriented educator and has developed 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. 

Starr is committed to language and cultural revitalization efforts in Indigenous communities. She is a traditional beadworker in both flat and raised beadwork mediums and enjoys hiking and live music in her spare time. 

Angela Raup is our Manager of Guest Experience. She originally hails from Smithfield, Rhode Island, but is no stranger to Mount Desert Island. She previously worked for College of the Atlantic’s Summer Field Studies Program, and for the Jordan Pond House Restaurant. After graduating from the University of Rhode Island in 2012 with a degree in Anthropology and Writing, Angela moved to Washington, DC, where she began her museum career.

Angela spent two years as an Operations Manager at the National Museum of Crime and Punishment before accepting a position as Visitor Operations Manager of the United States Capitol. Serving under the 114th Congress, Angela facilitated daily operations at the Capitol Visitor Center and provided assistance and direction at Congressional events. She is a Certified Interpretive Guide and enjoys utilizing elements of storytelling to create meaningful guest experiences. Angela loves big breakfasts, chai lattes, graphic novels, and painting.

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. 

Twisted Path Returns to the Abbe Museum

The Abbe Museum is excited to announce that the critically acclaimed Twisted Path exhibit series is back and will celebrate its fourth year in 2017. Twisted Path IV: Vital Signs is an invitational exhibition that features artwork that reflects personal stories about tribal identity and balancing life in a complex world. The exhibit opens on Friday, April 7, 2017, and an opening reception will be held that evening from 5-7 pm. 

“It's been exciting for me to work in a curatorial capacity for this exhibit,” said Abbe Museum President and CEO Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko. “Twisted Path is always a conversation starter and with the artists invited to participate this year, I know that new understandings about tribal community health will be revealed. Contemporary art will be the mechanism to start the conversation.”

The title Twisted Path is based on a traditional beadwork pattern of the same name, describing a back and forth or meandering quality. It is symbolic of Native artists alternating between two cultures, striving to preserve historical and spiritual traditions while experiencing modern lifestyles and new art forms.

Twisted Path IV: Vital Signs will invite audiences to consider Native American concerns about personal and community health and wellness through the medium of contemporary art. Artists’ works will express emotional and cultural reflections on the human condition in tribal communities. The American Indian and Alaska Native people have long experienced lower health status when compared with other Americans. Lower life expectancy and the disproportionate disease burden exist perhaps because of inadequate education, disparate poverty, discrimination in the delivery of health services, and cultural differences. These are the broad quality of life issues rooted in economic adversity and poor social conditions. Artist responses to this topic will be both hopeful and challenging and invite the audience to consider how these health disparities are a direct result of the colonization process. Educational programming around the exhibit's theme will be offered throughout the year. 

Participating artists were chosen based on the aesthetics of their work, their ability and willingness to tell stories through art, and the unique and contemporary natures of their forms. The list includes Jason K. Brown (Penobscot), Donna Brown (Penobscot), David Moses Bridges (Passamaquoddy), Chris Pappan (Kaw, Osage, Cheyenne River Sioux), Hollis Chitto (Laguna/Isleta, Mississippi Choctaw), and Shaax' Saani (Tlingit). 

“The Abbe staff and trustees are deeply saddened by the passing of David Moses Bridges on January 20, 2017,” said Catlin-Legutko. “His death is an incredible loss to the Passamaquoddy community and his Abbe family, and we are very honored that his grieving family shares our vision to include David in Twisted Path in memoriam. His art will continue to speak to us through this exhibit.”

The opening reception on April 7, from 5-7 pm, is free and open to the public. Guests are invited to celebrate with curatorial staff, artists, and fellow supporters while snacking on refreshments from local eateries. All guests must RSVP online or to RSVP@abbemuseum.org or 207-288-3519. 

The Abbe Museum is currently open Thursday-Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm, and thanks to the generosity of Machias Savings Bank, admission is free through April. The Museum is open seven days a week from May 1 – October 31st every year. 

Amy Lonetree Lecture on Decolonizing Museums

The Abbe Museum is excited to announce that Dr. Amy Lonetree, Ho-Chunk, will give a free lecture on Decolonizing Museums: New Directions, Ongoing Challenges at the Museum on February 1, 2017, at 7 pm. Lonetree is a leading scholar on Indigenous history, visual culture studies, museum studies, and decolonization.

“We are incredibly honored that Amy is giving this talk at the Museum, especially since decolonization has been our touchstone and guiding principle for many years,” said Abbe President and CEO Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko. “We’ve been a resource and a model that the museum field turns to for ideas, solutions, and strategies for comprehensive museum decolonization.”

As applied to the relationship of institutions such as museums to the Native people of the United States, “decolonization” means, at a minimum, sharing authority for the documentation and interpretation of Native culture. Traditional museum practices of exhibiting, collecting, and programming have informed the collective memories of museum-goers while dehumanizing Native history and creating colonizing museum spaces. Emotional, spiritual, and physical harm is done when these colonized spaces and practices are not acknowledged and addressed. As explained by Lonetree in her 2012 book Decolonizing Museums, “Museums can be very painful sites for Native peoples, as they are intimately tied to the colonization process.” 

Lonetree’s talk will focus on the current state of contemporary exhibition practice with, by, and for Native Americans at both national and tribal museums. Central to her analysis is exploring how museums can serve as sites of decolonization by privileging Indigenous knowledge and worldview, challenging the stereotypical representations of Native people produced in the past, and discussing the hard truths of colonization in exhibitions in an effort to promote healing and understanding.  

“As a scholar focusing on the history of the relationship between Indigenous communities and museums, I am heartened to see the amazing work happening at the Abbe Museum,” said Lonetree. “Their willingness to discuss the knowledge they have gained with other museum professionals is impressive, and I would be honored to assist them in these endeavors based on my academic background in museum studies and Native American history. I am confident that the important conversations that take place at the Museum will enable all to arrive at new understandings of how best to move forward with efforts to decolonize museums.”

To learn more about the Abbe Museum’s decolonization practices, please check out our Strategic Plan. This lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, or to reserve a seat, please contact the Abbe at 207-288-3519 or RSVP@abbemuseum.org. 

About Amy Lonetree
Dr. Amy Lonetree is an enrolled citizen of Ho-Chunk Nation and is an Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her scholarly work focuses on the representation of Native American history and memory in national and tribal museums and she has conducted research at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, British Museum, Mille Lacs Indian Museum in Minnesota, and the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture and Lifeways in Michigan. Her publications include, Decolonizing Museums: Representing Native America in National and Tribal Museums (University of North Carolina Press, 2012); a co-edited book with Amanda J. Cobb, The National Museum of the American Indian: Critical Conversations (University of Nebraska Press, 2008); and a co-authored volume, People of the Big Voice: Photographs of Ho-Chunk Families by Charles Van Schaick, 1879-1942 (Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2011). She is currently working on a visual history of the Ho-Chunk Nation from 1879-1960.

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!

Tea & Pops Archaeology on October 17th

ACADIA CENTENNIAL LECTURE: Is Archaeology Still Relevant In The 21st Century?

Presented by Rebecca Cole-Will, Chief of Resource Management at Acadia National Park

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act. This Act transformed the practice of archaeology and change has been rapid and existential in the discipline since then. Rebecca Cole-Will will reflect on how archaeology has evolved, the current role of archaeology in the National Park Service, and where the study of the past may lead us in the future. Tea and popovers will be served after the lecture.

Rebecca Cole-Will is the Chief of Resource Management at Acadia National Park. She has done archaeological research in Maine and the Canadian Arctic and was the curator at the Abbe Museum before joining the National Park Service. She has a BA in anthropology from the University of Maine and an MA in anthropology from the University of Alberta.

Monday, October 17, 2016, from 7-9 pm.

$20 members, $30 non-members.

For reservations, please contact the Abbe Museum at 207-288-3519 or email rsvp@abbemuseum.org.

Abbe Museum will Host Return of the River Film Screening

The Abbe Museum will host an exclusive program around the documentary Return of the River on Monday, September 26, 2016, from 6-8 pm. The writer, director, and co-producer of the film, Jessica Plumb, along with Wabanaki panelists, will discuss the importance of the film as it pertains to relatable issues currently happening in Maine.

"I am particularly thrilled to share the Elwha River’s remarkable story at the Abbe Museum, because of the Museum’s commitment to contemporary Native culture in Maine,” said Plumb. “Return of the River features an unlikely success story for environmental and cultural restoration. The film follows members of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, working with activists to attempt the impossible: to change the public opinion of a town and eventually the nation to bring two dams down."

Filmed over four years, Return of the River is a narrative with global ramifications, exploring the complex relationship between communities and the environment that sustains them. The Elwha River is the ancestral home of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, who witnessed firsthand the impact of two dams on the river and its legendary fish runs.

The film addresses environmental justice issues that resonate far beyond the Pacific Northwest. The Penobscot River, for example, has been home for the Penobscot Nation for generations. It is a vital part of their identity, a source of sustenance, and a place of connection and contention with outsiders since the first arrival of European explorers. Protection of the river, their ancestral home, continues to be of critical importance to the Penobscot Nation.

All Wabanaki peoples make their homes on and around rivers. The Passamaquoddy live along the St. Croix River watershed and the bays it feeds. The Maliseet, the People of the Beautiful River in their own language, live along the St. John. The Aroostook Band of Micmac live along the upper reaches of the Penobscot and St. John Rivers, while Mi’kmaq bands in Canada reach from the St. Lawrence the rivers of Nova Scotia and bays of Newfoundland.

"I grew up in Maine, and I wish that I’d had a chance to learn a complete history of my home state, now beautifully revealed at the Abbe Museum,” said Plumb. “As a filmmaker, I’ve been witness to an exceptional story in the Pacific Northwest, exploring environmental justice issues that resonate far beyond the region. It’s a special pleasure to return to Maine with this film, and to stand with Maine tribes working on river issues."

To learn more about the film, please visit www.elwhafilm.com. This program is free and open to the public and is sponsored and generously supported by the Quimby/St.Clair family. For more information, please contact the Abbe Museum at 207-288-3519 or info@abbemuseum.org.

About Jessica Plumb
Producer and writer Jessica Plumb is a filmmaker focused on the relationship between people and the places they call home. She moved to the Olympic Peninsula a decade ago, after starting her career in Boston and Beijing. Jessica directs a video production company and has produced numerous educational and promotional videos for clients. She has worked on documentary and narrative films screened at festivals in the role of editor, and behind the camera, and have created award-winning short films best described as video poetry. Her video art films have been screened in galleries throughout the United States. Jessica holds a B.A. from Yale University and an interdisciplinary MFA from Goddard College. She also studied documentary film at 911 Media in Seattle and the New School University in New York. See www.plumbproductions.com for more.