Walk for Historical and Ecological Recovery (WHERE2024)

Peace and Social Concerns calls these events to our attention:

Dear friend,

Over the course of 2024, partners committed to surfacing the truths of colonization and oppression in the place known for millennia by the Wabanaki people as the Dawnland will engage with local communities on a journey across land and water, shining a light on the ways that Indigenous, Black, and settler-descendent populations are represented—or not—in Maine’s commemorative landscape.Convened by the public history nonprofit Atlantic Black Box, the Walk for Historical and Ecological Recovery (WHERE2024) is a broad-based and community-engaged effort carried out in partnership with Wabanaki REACHIndigo Arts AllianceCommunity Change Inc., and In Kinship Collective.
Join WHERE2024 partners on Thursday, May 9 at 5:30 pm for a launch event hosted by the Land We Live Onto kick off this epic collective journey.

Click HERE to RSVP
Over seven months, a series of walks and programs situated in seven locations throughout the state will engage the public in surfacing suppressed stories of genocide and survival, enslavement and resistance, displacement and represencing.Walking in solidarity to forward ongoing processes of truth-seeking and transformation, our aim is to catalyze creative and embodied approaches to antiracist and decolonial historical recovery efforts across the state and the region.Please join us on May 9 as we move to reckon with all that has happened here and to engage in dialogue around the ways that our past continues to shape our present-day relationships and our possible futures.CLICK TO RSVP OR JOIN MAILING LIST
Atlantic Black Box is dedicated to expanding the field of historical recovery. We empower communities throughout the Northeast to research and reckon with the region’s active role in colonization and slavery while recentering the stories of its historically marginalized groups. 
Atlantic Black Box is a 501c3 public charity
EIN 86-2963335

P.O. Box 8771, Portland, ME 04104
Copyright © 2024 Atlantic Black Box, All rights reserved.

“Common Ground” to be Shown at Meetinghouse, April 26, 7pm

Peace and Social Concerns Committee will be showing a film, “Common Ground” at the Meetinghouse on April 26 at 7:00 PM.  More on the film HERE.

From the film’s website:

From the filmmakers of ‘Kiss the Ground’ (Netflix) comes the follow-up documentary ‘Common Ground’, winner of the Tribeca Film Festival. Common Ground is an important new documentary film featuring Laura Dern, Jason Momoa, Woody Harrelson, Ian Somerhalder, Donald Glover, Rosario Dawson, Mark Hyman, Gabe Brown, and many others.

Directed by Josh and Rebecca Tickell, Common Ground provides hope for future generations with concrete ways to fix a broken planetary system. The film explores how regenerative agriculture can help heal the soil, our health and the planet.

Setting Priorities for FCNL, Sunday, April 14, Noon

From Peace and Social Concerns Committee:

We know elections matter, and we know that our voices matter.  That is why Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) asks us to identify the top priorities that they will focus on in the next Congress, convening in January, 2025.

On Sunday, April 14 at 12 noon, our Peace and Social Concerns Committee will lead us in a meeting wide discussion and discernment. If you cannot attend, in person or by Zoom, please reply to this email (durham@neym.org) with your thoughts.  

“We may all feel at times that we stand alone and are helpless as single individuals to influence issues that we have a driving desire (leading) to improve and/or change. Please recognize that if you accept this invitation to provide input to FCNL you will be joining hundreds of others pushing for a better world. The success of FCNL’s 80 years of advocacy work has always depended on persistence, patience and the support of caring people (examples: 2016 US-Iran Nuclear Agreement, 2023 repeal of 2002 Iraq War Authorization, 2024 advocacy for passage of Bill S.1723 Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies Act).” 

On April 14 we will prepare a message from Durham Friends, letting FCNL know what is most important to us right now. Please help us do that by attending our meeting or sending your thoughts by email. 

Here’s a list of current priorities, feel free to add yours under Other Issues

Economic Justice:

Sustainable Energy and Environment:

Justice Reform and Gun Violence Prevention:

Just Migration:

Native American Concerns:

Middle East Policy:

Nuclear Nonproliferation:

Pentagon Spending:

International Peace Building:

U.S. Wars and Militarism:

Voting and Elections:   

Other Issues:

Letter Writing Party for Maine Gun Safety, via Zoom, February 29, 7pm

Portland Friends Meeting (and others) invite us to participate in a Zoom Letter Writing Party for Maine Gun Safety — to be held on Leap Day, February 29, 2024.

Here are the details:

(to avoid zoom bombing you’ll have to quickly take a moment to register)

  • Not sure what to say in your letter? We’ll send you a template you could use, or you can write your own if you feel inspired! More materials HERE.

Come spend an hour with Quakers and others throughout Maine by writing letters to your legislators, Janet Mills, or the newspaper, to promote the four priorities of the Maine Gun Safety Coalition.

Make it even more of a party by invite friends to join you in person at your home, and then log on together!

Can’t make the party? That’s ok, you can write a letter on your own time. Attached is a Letter to the Editor Toolkit, and you can also use that to help you reach out to Janet Mills or your legislator. Find your legislators here: https://nrcm.salsalabs.org/mainelegislatorlookup/index.html.

Also, we’re attaching a list of high-priority legislators who could use more nudging on this issue. Most of them are outside of Greater Portland (although one is in part of Westbrook and Windham). But please take a few minutes with the list, and if you know someone who lives in one of these towns, please reach out to them to contact their legislator, and invite them to this zoom party. This is how the work gets done!

Hosted by members of Portland Friends Meeting and Durham Friends Meeting, open to all!

Rob Levin and Heather Denkmire and Valerie Todd and Leslie Manning

Questions: email rob@roblevin.net.

“Our Anti-Bias Curriculum,” by Ingrid Chalufour

Ingrid Chalufour brought the message at Durham Friends Meeting on February 4, 2024

Today I bring good news. Your money for children’s books is well spent. The 7 teachers who worked with us this fall have completed a process of using books to help them create an anti-bias classroom community. Basically, we have layered an anti-bias approach onto what they already do to create community. A definition:

“Anti-bias curriculum is an approach to early childhood education that sets forth values-based principles and methodology in support of respecting and embracing differences and acting against bias and unfairness.” From Teaching for Change

Note that we not only introduce injustice but we let children know they can do something about it.

The teachers received books about kindness; books that elicited empathy including topics such as homelessness and bullying; books that introduced all kinds of diversity (race, ethnicity, family structure, gender). They wrote reflections for us about the use of the books and the children’s responses. In conclusion, they wrote reflections about the impact of the whole unit. Their stories have provided evidence that the books do have an impact on children’s learning and on the teachers as well. I will share a few quotes:

Jeanne, who teaches a combined 1st-2nd Grade wrote, “I see that my work has had an impact this year because… my students feel comfortable asking questions and sharing ideas about the similarities and differences between us. I think the sense that any of these topics (race, ethnicity, language, religion, other aspects of culture…) are open for discussion and wondering is a key aspect of the anti-bias classroom. The other key component is the idea that we can each make a difference…. We all have such a long way to go but pure curiosity, without judgement, in a space of caring is how we start the journey.”

Aja, a PreK teacher wrote, “The books and conversations we had helped create a safe space where our ideas are not right or wrong but used to build knowledge from one another. We found joy in our physical differences and people colors are now widely used and discussed in the classroom. Children went home and talked about learning about melanin. We challenged some biases around gender stereotypes, abilities, and family and home structures. The kindness book was a wonderful book to read over and over and was such a simple yet helpful book in establishing a caring classroom community.”

From Emma another 1st-2nd Grade teacher, “I believe that because I made an effort to have open and honest conversations about identity, the children became more comfortable talking about the different ways they identify and the different ways people in their community identify. We spent time defining words like ‘empathy’, ‘race’, ‘diversity’, ‘community’. I know the majority understand these words because when I first asked what they meant, few students raised their hands and their answers were off-base; now when we have conversations revolving around those topics, it’s clear that we don’t need to define them because they are either a) using those words, or b) able to answer the questions I pose that contain those key words. I think in these early stages of language acquisition, this is a critical piece.”

Finally, from Kate a Kindergarten teacher, “Adding this layer has made me look more closely at the curriculum in order to figure out where could I weave in these books, so along with content students are experiencing, accepting, celebrating differences.”

We, the work group, are continually learning from the work of the teachers and from the consultants who are informing our journey. The teachers work this fall has taught us that spending time on creating an anti-bias classroom community is an essential foundation to the social justice work that follows which is exploring the Black experience in America and Wabanaki studies, with attention to care of the environment.

As we move from creating community to this new work about People of Color, we are introducing racism. Some ask why do you introduce 4- to 8-year-old children to racism. A primary reason is that small children are keen observers of the world. They are noticing similarities and differences and forming opinions, making judgements. When their judgements are made in the white dominant culture, they can begin to discriminate. At the same time these children are very quick to see unfairness. It is the perfect time to introduce the unfairness of racism. The question we have tackled recently is how do you do this. Young children are concrete thinkers so you must scaffold the message, moving from experiences the children can identify with to more abstract concepts like race. It is also essential to our approach that introducing any injustice is accompanied by the idea that you can do something about it.

Recently I happened upon a book at Curtis Library that does all of this. It is just the perfect book as our teachers transition to their new topic this winter and spring so we bought one for each of them and I will share it with you now: Our Skin, by Megan Madison, Jessica Ralli and Isabel Roxas.

Important Wabanaki Legislation, 131st Legislature, February 2, 2024

The following information, and more, can be found on the Wabanaki Alliance Bill Tracker website at https://www.wabanakialliance.com/131st-bill-tracker/  The bills listed below are currently being targeted for your support. They will be voted on by the House and the Senate in the near future. 

TAKE ACTION:  Contact your legislators. Contact your legislators and ask them to vote YES on LD 25 and LD 294.

To find your legislators go to www.maine.gov  and type voter lookup into the search bar. Select Government: eDemocracy: Voter Information Lookup and enter the name of your town.

LD 25: An Act to Provide Indigenous Peoples Free Access to State Parks

Sponsor: Sen. Craig V. Hickman, D-Kennebec
The Wabanaki Alliance supports this bill. 

This bill provides that a member of a federally recognized Indian nation, tribe or band is not required to pay a fee for admission to or use of any state owned park or historic site managed by the state of Maine. An amendment to the bill proposed in committee also waives camping fees. 

STATUS: Vote coming soon. 
The Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry held a public hearing on Jan. 25. The committee voted that the bill ought to pass as amended. It will go to the Senate next for a vote. 

LD 294: An Act to Include a Tribal Member in the Baxter State Park Authority

Sponsor: Rep. Benjamin T. Collings, D-Portland
The Wabanaki Alliance supports this bill. 

This bill would add a Wabanaki citizen to the Baxter State Park Authority, which has full power in the control and management of Baxter State Park. The nominee would be appointed by the governor based on a joint recommendation by tribal governments of the Mi’kmaq Nation, the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Motahkomikuk, the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayik and the Penobscot Nation.
STATUS: The Legislature will vote soon. 
The Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry held a public hearing and work session during the first half of the legislation session. An additional work session was held January 17 and the majority of the committee voted the bill ought to pass as amended. 

“Returning to the Land” Webinars from Toward Right Relationship


UPDATE: Peace and Social Concerns is asking that Friends meet at the Meetinghouse to view these webinars together (and to do the readings suggested beforehand). .

The Peace & Social Concerns Committee at Durham Friends Meeting Invite you to a Webinar Series, January-February 2024:

“Returning to the Land” by Nia To Go There (Cree) 

Nia To Go There, PhD will offer a series of four webinars that are co-sponsored by Toward Right Relationship with Native Peoples and Decolonizing Quakers (both national Quaker organizations). Nia will recommend short readings for each program. 

January 13, 3:30-5 pm: “Returning to the Land: Cultural Perspectives.” Readings for this first session are AT THIS LINK.

January 27, 3:30-5 pm: “Returning to the Land: Seeing with a Native Eye.” Readings for this second session are AT THIS LINK.

February 10, 3:30-5 pm: “Returning to the Land: Colonization.” Readings for this third session are AT THIS LINK.

February 24, 3:30-5 pm: “Returning to the Land: Decolonization.”

Durham Friends look forward to some collective thinking about how we bring the important messages from these sessions home to Maine.

We hope to see you for all or some of these sessions at our Meetinghouse, 532 Quaker Meetinghouse Rd, Durham ME 04222.

Please contact Ingrid Chalufour at ichalufour@gmail.com with questions or to ask to have recommended readings forwarded to you.

Toward Right Relationship with Native Peoples: Upcoming Online Webinars and Workshops

Peace and Social Concerns commends these online programs being sponsored by Friends Peace Teams:

Upcoming ONLINE Webinars and Workshops

December 4, 7pm EASTERN, 4pm PACIFIC: “Assimilate or Be Exterminated” by David Raymond (Mi’kmaw descendant). 

For much of their existence, the Quaker Yearly Meetings of Turtle Island and Britain pursued the eradication of Indigenous Peoples’ cultures and matriarchies as a means to save Indigenous Peoples from the supposed necessity of extermination (mass killing). David Raymond will examine Quaker writings and deeds from the late 18th century to the present and will offer reflections on the impact of the truth on his faith journey. Co-sponsored by Decolonizing Quakers. REGISTER HERE

January-February 2024: “Returning to the Land” by Nia To Go There (Cree) 

Nia To Go There, PhD will offer a series of four webinars that are co-sponsored by Decolonizing Quakers. We recommend registering for all four, although this is not required. Nia will recommend short readings for each program. 

January 13, 3:30-5 pm EASTERN, 12:30-2 pm PACIFIC: “Returning to the Land: Cultural Perspectives.” REGISTER HERE.

January 27, 3:30-5 pm EASTERN, 12:30-2 pm PACIFIC: “Returning to the Land: Seeing with a Native Eye.” REGISTER HERE.

February 10, 3:30-5 pm EASTERN, 12:30-2 pm PACIFIC: “Returning to the Land: Colonization.” REGISTER HERE.

February 24, 3:30-5 pm EASTERN, 12:30-2 pm PACIFIC: “Returning to the Land: Decolonization.” REGISTER HERE

“Roots of Injustice, Seeds of Change: Toward Right Relationship with Native Peoples” Workshop
In this 2-hour participatory program, we experience the history of the colonization of Turtle Island, the land that is now known as the United States. The story is told through the words of Indigenous leaders, European/American leaders, and Western historians. We engage with this history through experiential exercises and small group discussions. And we are invited to consider how we can build relationships with Indigenous peoples based on truth, respect, justice, and our shared humanity. Facilitated by TRR’s Native and non-Native teams. Appropriate for high school students and adults.
Two opportunities to join:
 January 21, 4-6 pm EASTERN, 1-3 pm PACIFIC. REGISTER HERE.
 February 18, 4-6 pm EASTERN, 1-3 pm PACIFIC. REGISTER HERE.
During the Holidays:Visit Tribal Museumshttps://www.indian-affairs.org/tribalmuseumsday-public-map.html
Give Gifts from Native American Artists and Businesses
For your holiday shopping (and all year round) please consider purchasing gifts from Native American and Indigenous artists and businesses. Here are some websites where you can browse: 
10 Buffalos Art by Shana Yellow Calf Lukinich, Northern Arapaho in Wyoming
Earrings from Native HarvestNative Harvest for Ojibwe-made gifts (baskets, jewelry, maple syrup, more)
Partnership with Native Americans: Buy Native
American Indian Services, 12 Indigenous-Owned Businesses to Shop this Holiday 
Sacred Circle Gifts and Art 
Native Owned (Etsy)  
A List from Good Housekeeping  
Business Insider’s list of 41 Native-owned businesses 
New York magazine’s list of 24 Best Gifts from Indigenous-owned Brands 
Parade Magazine, 24 Indigenous-Owned Businesses 
Support Native Media and Organizations
Subscribe to these Native e-newsletters and support them:
Native News OnlineIndian Country TodayThese and other Native organizations will appreciate your donation:
National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition, boardingschoolhealing.orgThe Mission of NABS is to work to ensure a meaningful and appropriate response from responsible agencies for those Native American individuals, families, and communities victimized by the United States’ federal policy of forced boarding school attendance and to secure redress from responsible institutions in order to support lasting and true community-directed healing. 
Native American Rights Fund, narf.orgFounded in 1970, the Native American Rights Fund is the oldest and largest nonprofit law firm dedicated to asserting and defending the rights of Indian tribes, organizations and individuals nationwide. 
Seventh Generation Fund, 7genFund.orgSeventh Generation Fund promotes and maintains the uniqueness and sovereignty of our distinct Native Nations by offering advocacy, small grants, trainings and technical assistance to Indigenous communities.  
Indigenous Environmental Network, ienearth.orgIEN is an alliance of grassroots Indigenous Peoples whose mission is to protect the sacredness of Mother Earth from contamination and exploitation by strengthening, respecting, and maintaining traditional teachings and natural laws.
Indigenous Law Institute,  ili.nativeweb.orgThe Indigenous Law Institute assists American Indian and other Indigenous communities to work toward a future of restoration and healing. They do this by working to develop a radically new basis for thinking about Native rights, from a Traditional Native Law perspective, and by contending that Native nations and peoples have an inherent right to live free of all forms of empire and domination.
American Indian College Fund, collegefund.org The American Indian College Fund transforms Indian higher education by Funding and creating awareness of the unique, community-based accredited tribal colleges and universities, offering students access to knowledge, skills, and cultural values which enhance their communities and the country as a whole.
IllumiNative, illuminative.org IllumiNative is a Native woman-led racial and social justice organization dedicated to increasing the visibility of—and challenging the narrative about—Native peoples.
Indigenous Language Institute, ilinative.orgThe Indigenous Language Institute provides vital language related service to Native communities so that their individual identities, traditional wisdom, and values are passed on to future generations in their original languages.
Indian Land Tenure Foundation, iltf.orgThe ILTF serves American Indian nations and people in the recovery and control of their homelands.
Follow Toward Right Relationship with Native Peoples on social mediaConnect to us on Facebook and Instagram! Upcoming events are regularly posted on social media and to our website: https://friendspeaceteams.org/upcoming-events 
DonateIf you’d like to donate to support the work of Toward Right Relationship with Native Peoples, you can send money online here — be sure to choose TRR — or you can mail a check to Friends Peace Teams and write “TRR” on the memo line: Friends Peace Teams, 1001 Park Ave., St. Louis, MO 63104.
Thank you!
Toward Right Relationship with Native Peoples is a program of
Click here to see our upcoming events!

Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) Urges Action on Palestine-Israel

Here is the most recent “Take Action“from FCNL on the unfolding tragedy in Israel-Palestine. Our Peace & Social Concerns Committee urges us to communicate with Congress.

The U.S. Must Act to De-Escalate the Violence in Israel and Palestine

We are heartbroken by the recent violence in Israel and Gaza. As Quakers, we deeply mourn the loss of all lives and pray for those who have lost loved ones due to this latest escalation. We unequivocally condemn Hamas’ attacks and inhumane treatment of civilians and call for the immediate release of all hostages. We also condemn the indiscriminate and violent Israeli response that has already claimed hundreds of civilian lives.

More war and weapons won’t bring peace. In the face of growing violence, lawmakers must:

  • Work to de-escalate this situation by calling for restraint, ceasefire, de-escalation, and respect for international law.
  • Protect lives—those of the Israeli hostages and the roughly 1 million children who live in Gaza.
  • Address the root causes underlying this explosion of violence, including decades of institutionalized oppression and collective punishment of Palestinians through brutal military occupation and a 16-year Gaza blockade.

Urge Congress to call for an immediate ceasefire, de-escalation, and restraint to prevent further civilian harm in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

The Quaker Indigenous Boarding Schools: Facing Our History and Ourselves, September 10, 2023, 12:30 to 2:30 pm

The Quaker Indigenous Boarding Schools: Facing Our History and Ourselves; A presentation by Paula Palmer, Gail Melix, and Andrew Grant on Sunday September 10 from 12:30 to 2:30. 

Join us in the Durham Friends Meetinghouse. We will gather as a community to participate in this event by Zoom. Bring a picnic lunch.

Peace & Social Concerns

“A Flag for Juneteenth,” by Kim Taylor

The message at Durham Friends Meeting this week was a reading, by Cindy Wood, of A Flag for Juneteenth, by Kim Taylor (Holiday Books, 2023). This message was part of the Social Justice Enrichment Project being carried through by our Peace and Social Concerns Committee.

Expert quilter Kim Taylor shares a unique and powerful story of the celebration of the first Juneteenth, from the perspective of a young girl.

On June 19, 1865, in Galveston, General Gordon Granger of the Union Army delivered the message that African Americans in Texas were free. Since then, Juneteenth, as the day has come to be known, has steadily gained recognition throughout the United States. ln 2020,a powerful wave of protests and demonstrations calling for racial justice and equality brought new awareness to the significance of the holiday.

A Flag for Juneteenth depicts a close-knit community of enslaved African Americans on a plantation in Texas, the day before the announcement is to be made that all enslaved people are free. Young Huldah, who is preparing to celebrate her tenth birthday, can’t possibly anticipate how much her life will change that Juneteenth morning. The story follows Huldah and her community as they process the news of their freedom and celebrate together by creating a community freedom flag.

Debut author and artist Kim Taylor sets this story apart by applying her skills as an expert quilter. Each of the illustrations has been lovingly hand sewn and quilted, giving the book a homespun, tactile quality that is altogether unique.

Legislative Alert, June 2, 2023

Two bills of great importance to the Wabanaki are passing through the state legislature quickly before the end of the session this month. Hearings have already happened on these bills and they are moving to the legislature for votes. PLEASE let your Representatives and Senators know that you support these bills. More information about them is on the Wabanaki Alliance website.

 L.D. 2004, sponsored by House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross, D-Portland, and co-sponsored by six Republicans, including House Minority Leader Billy Bob Faulkingham, of Winter Harbor, would allow tribes to benefit from most federal laws – past, present and future. Jurisdiction over serious crimes and gambling would remain under the state’s purview.

Currently, Congress must specifically make Maine tribes eligible for any new federal program or law that affects the state-tribal relationship, which tribal leaders say can include almost anything.
Talbot Ross’ bill seeks to flip that paradigm, forcing the state to lobby Congress to exclude tribes from any future legislation that applies to the nation’s Indigenous tribes. See the attached talking points that do not include the LD number yet.

The second bill, LD 1970, An Act to Enact the Maine Indian Child Welfare Act, is discussed in the talking points below.

Talking points for LD 1970: “An Act to Enact the Maine Indian Child Welfare Act,”sponsored by Rep. Donna Bailey, D-York.

  • 1. In 1978, the U.S. Congress worked closely with American Indian and Alaska Nativeelected officials, child welfare experts and families whose children had beenunnecessarily removed from their homes to pass the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978.ICWA was designed to protect Indian children and families from biased child welfarepractices and well-documented disregard for their families and culture.
  • 2. In 1978, according to theNational Indian Child Welfare Association, nationwide 25% to35% of all Indigenous children were removed from their homes by state child welfareand private adoption agencies. As many as 85% of those children were placed outsideof their families and communities—even when fit and willing relatives were available.
  • 3. In Maine, according to a 2015 report of the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth &Reconciliation Commission, Wabanaki children were placedin foster care in similarlyhigher rates than non-Native children prior to ICWA’s enactment in 1978. For AroostookCounty in 1972, the rate of removal for Wabanaki children was 62.4 times higher thanthe statewide rate for non-Native children. The rates for Maine were the second highestin the nation at that time. (Source:Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth &Reconciliation Commissionreport, page 21)
  • 4. Even after ICWA’s enactment, a disproportionately higher rate of Wabanaki children inMaine are taken into foster care than non-Native children. (Source:Maine WabanakiState Child Welfare Truth & Reconciliation Commissionreport, page 21)
  • 5. ICWA serves the best interests of Wabanaki and other Native American children bykeeping them connected to their culture, extended family and community, which areproven protective factors. (Source:“The Indian Child Welfare Act Fact Sheet”preparedby the National Indian Child Welfare Association).
  • 6. ICWA has been labeled the “gold standard” in child welfare policy and practice by acoalition of 18 national child advocacy organizations. (Source:“The Indian Child WelfareAct Fact Sheet”prepared by the National Indian Child Welfare Association).
  • 7. Nearly 500 tribes, hundreds of supporters, and at least 87 members of Congress supportICWA as the abiding standard in Native child welfare. Source:Partnership With NativeAmericans).
  • 8. Maine’s U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and Rep. Chellie Pingree are amongthe 87 members of Congress who signed the “friends of the court” brief supporting ICWAin the pending U.S.Supreme Court review of ICWA’s constitutionality in theBrackeen vs.https://sct.nHaalandcase that is expected to be decided in June. (Source for‘friends of the court”congressional supporters: page 43-46).
  • 9. Maine is one of 26 states that filed “friends of the court” briefs in 2019 supportingICWA inthe pendingBrackeen vs. Haalandcase. (Source: Native American Rights Fund,amicusbriefs tribal side.)
  • 10. By enactingLD 1970, Maine would join 12 other states that have acted to codify ICWAprotections on the state level. This would protect Wabanaki children, families, cultureand sovereignty if the U.S. Supreme Court decides in June to weaken or destroyprotections that have been known as the “gold standard” of child welfare policies for 40 years. (Sources:Native Organizers Alliance Action FundandNative Americans RightsFund)

Links to sources that might be useful:

  • 1.Native American Rights Fund summary of the Haalandv. Brackeen lawsuit brought byTexas and several individual plaintiffs who allege ICWA is unconstitutional.https://narf.org/cases/brackeen-v-bernhardt/
  • 2.Setting the Record Straight: National Indian Child Welfare Association’s fact sheet onICWA.https://www.nicwa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Setting-the-Record-Straight2018.pdf
  • “Beyond the Mandate: Continuing the Conversation.”3.2015 Report of the MaineWabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth & Reconciliation Commission.
  • FinalState Amicus Brief -Brackeen v. Bernhardt4., signed by Maine and 25 other states.

Legislative Alert, May 20, 2023

From Peace and Social Concerns Committee:

LD 78: RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to Article X of the Constitution of Maine Regarding the Publication of Maine Indian Treaty Obligations

Sponsor: House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross, D-Portland
The Wabanaki Alliance supports this bill. Read our testimony»

This bill would restore language regarding Maine Indian treaty obligations to all printed copies of the Maine Constitution. In 1876, the state constitution was amended to remove certain sections of Article X from print. Article X incorporates most of the 1819 act that separated Maine from Massachusetts and includes a timeline for starting the new Maine government. Section 5 of the article, one of three affected by the 1876 amendment, clarifies Maine’s obligation to uphold and defend treaties made between Massachusetts and the Passamaquoddy and Penobscot Nations. While the three sections remain in force and can be read online, the 1876 amendment prohibits their inclusion in printed versions of the constitution. LD 78 is an amendment to the state constitution that would require that Section 5 be included in all printed copies of the constitution. Constitutional amendments require passage by two-thirds of each legislative chamber before advancing to the voters for approval. Learn more about the removal of section 5 in this report or watch REDACT, a recording of a Maine Historical Society panel discussion on the topic. Read the complete bill text»

⚠️ STATUS: Legislature will vote soon
The Committee on Judiciary held a public hearing on LD 78 Tuesday, March 7 (read the public testimony). At a March 16 work session, LD 78 was amended to stipulate that all provisions of Article X, not just Section 5, be included in printed version of the constitution. The committee voted that the bill Ought to Pass as Amended. The bill will go to the House next for a vote.

» Contact your legislators. Contact your legislators and ask them to vote YES on LD 78. Find your legislators and their contact info here» 

This was copied from the Wabanaki Alliance website.For more information or a link to learn the contact information of your Representative go to:

Update from Friends Committee on Maine Public Policy, May 2023

     Friends Committee on Maine Public Policy (FCMPP) was launched in the 1980’s by Ed Snyder following his retirement from Friends Committee on National Legislation in Washington. He envisioned a statewide network of Quaker activists who could coordinate their advocacy efforts on timely topics under consideration in the Maine Legislature. At the beginning it was decided to focus on two policy areas where broad agreement among Friends could be anticipated without having to seek specific approval from all the local meetings: 1) tribal/state relations (i.e. Wabanaki concerns) and 2) civil liberty/criminal justice concerns  (e.g. death penalty).

     FCMPP used to meet in person on a regular basis to share reports, decide on issue priorities, and sustain ongoing personal connections.  The passing of some in the founding cohort and the onset of Covid required meeting on zoom and a reduced capacity to handle a wide range of issues.

     In recent years the focus has increasingly centered on Wabanaki concerns. There is a long history of Quaker efforts to assist the Maine tribes—e.g. the separate American Friends Service Committee program on Maine Indians.  Two developments enhanced FCMPP attention to tribal matters: the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Indigenous children taken from their families and the Task Force on needed amendments to the Land Claims Settlement Act of 1980 which cut off Maine tribes from benefits of Federal legislation affecting all tribes in the other forty-nine states.

    A core group of FCMPP members has been intensely engaged in relevant support efforts, at times in close coordination with a counterpart Episcopal support group.  FCMPP members have attended legislative hearings and given testimony—both spoken and written—on specific bills and placed op-eds and Letters to the Editor in local newspapers. They have travelled to all five Wabanaki settlements to meet in person with the tribal leaders in the effort to be informed allies.  Several members regularly take part in a weekly zoom session led by the Wabanaki Alliance (the tribal chiefs, leaders, and staff) to coordinate advocacy and outreach endeavors including joint lobby visits with legislators.  FCMPP leaders along with leaders from several other church groups have set up in-person meetings with Democratic and Republican leaders in both the House and Senate.

   The major pending bill is based upon the Task Force recommendations to amend the 1980 law in order to restore a fuller measure of tribal sovereignty as well as economic benefits from Federal legislation.  Several smaller relevant bills have been supported and seem likely to pass but the sovereignty bill will require a 2/3 vote on both chambers to overcome an expected veto from the Governor.

   We will hand out today a Guide to Citizen Lobbying and giving testimony before legislative committees prepared by FCMPP for fellow Quakers as they may be led to express their views on current issues.

    In February members of FCMPP met in a sorting session led by Peter Woodrow to assess future endeavors of the group. We recognize that our work evolved to focus primarily on tribal/state concerns.  We are open to further evolution to take up other concerns.  We welcome queries and expressions of interest from other Friends in Maine.   What do you think a state-based Quaker advocacy group in Maine should be dealing with now?     

Queries/Responses may be sent to:    Jim Matlack  jmatlack38@gmail.com and Shirley Hager Shirley.hager@maine.edu                                                        

Legislative Alert, May 13, 2023

LD 78: The Maine House will soon vote on LD 78 a bill that is important to the Wabanaki. It will require text of Maine Indian Treaty obligations to be published in all copies of the state Constitution. Now is the time to write your Representative asking them to support this bill. Use the link below to get access to information about how to contact your Representative.

LD 336: Also note that the Wabanaki Alliance does not support LD 336. Let your representative know that you oppose it too. More information about this and other bills can be found on the Alliances Legislative Tracker. The link is below.

Discussion with Former Penobscot Nation Chief Barry Dana, May 22, 6pm at Curtis Library

Recommended by Peace and Social Concerns Committee:

Arts Are Elementary Presents:

A Discussion with Former Penobscot Nation Chief Barry Dana

Mon. 5/22 at 6:00pm

Curtis Library, Morrell Meeting Room

Arts Are Elementary is pleased to bring Former Chief of the Penobscot Nation, culture preservationist, long time educator, artist, and professional basketmaker Barry Dana to Brunswick. He will lead an open discussion about Wabanaki history and culture.

“Separate Is Never Equal,” by Duncan Tonatiuh; Read by Ingrid Chalufour

Message given at Durham Friends Meeting, May 7, 2023

Ingrid Chalufour, clerk of Peace and Social Concerns introduced this morning’s book in this way:

Good Morning Friends!

I will start by asking you to hold the Obadiah Brown Benevolent Fund Committee in the light this week as they review our proposal and decide if we will receive a grant from them. They meet on Friday and we hope to hear next week.

A part of introducing social justice to young children is introducing them to injustice. Whether it impacts their own lives or the lives of others, whether it is a part of history or the present day, injustice is a part of the package. One of the things we will explore and clarify for ourselves next year is what are the injustices to introduce young children to, when, and how.

I happen to believe that injustice should always be introduced to young children in the context of activists who are working to correct the injustice. We have shared quite a few of those books with you and I have another one today.

I share a book by Duncan Tonatiuh, a prolific author and illustrator of social justice books for young children. This book tells the story of the Mendez family in the 1940s in California. It is a true story and the author did a great deal of research, interviewing Sylvia Mendez and using actual text from the court files. The book is called Separate is Never Equal.

.You can hear the book read here, from Reading Is Fundamental.

Letter to Senator Angus King, March 20, 2023

March 20, 2023

Senator Angus King

133 Hart Building, Washington, DC 20510

Re: H.R. 6707

Dear Senator King, 

You recently decided not to support passage of H.R. 6707 brought by Representative Golden that dealt with the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act when it came before you for consideration. You will recall that his bill would have removed the provision in the Act which states that future Indian legislation does not affect the Maine tribes unless those tribes are specifically made subject to it. A number of our members were disturbed by the statements in your letter which explained why you did not support that bill.

As Quakers, we believe that it is fair and reasonable to give the Wabanaki tribes the same rights under subsequent Congressional legislation dealing with Indian issues as that which is guaranteed to all other tribes. Many scholars have stated that this provision in the Act was not discussed by the parties during the negotiations which led up to the final draft of the Act. Or if it was discussed at all, it was not part of what you describe as “the fundamental position of the State in the negotiations leading up to MICSA.” 

Removing this provision seems consistent with the concept that Federal law should always be considered in light of present-day conditions. As the attached article makes clear, the Wabanaki currently are significantly poorer than other American tribes. Removing this provision would go a long way towards equalizing their status relative to the other tribes.

Thank you for your consideration of this. If you wish to discuss the contents of this letter further, please contact Cushman Anthony, a member of our Peace and Social Concerns Committee and former chair of the Maine Indian Tribal State Commission; or contact our Clerk, Leslie Manning at the above address.


Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends

The attached enclosure can also be found at https://theconversation.com/tribes-in-maine-left-out-of-native-american-resurgence-by-40-year-old-federal-law-denying-their-self-determination-198386

Legislative Alert from Peace & Social Concerns — April 28, 2023

This would be a good time to let your legislators know of your interest in the well-being of the Wabanaki. There are a number of bills that are of potential benefit to the Tribes, we will highlight three of them here. We are also providing a link to the Wabanaki Alliance Legislative Tracker. There you can find further information about each bill and access to contact information for your legislators.

LD 1642: An Act to Strengthen the Teaching of Wabanaki Studies in Maine Schools

The previous bill from 2001 was an unfunded mandate to teach Wabanaki history and culture in Maine schools. This bill will establish a Wabanaki Studies Commission and provide permanent funding for resources, materials, and continuing education for teachers.

LD 78: RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to Article X of the Constitution of Maine Regarding the Publication of Maine Indian Treaty Obligations

This bill restores language regarding Maine Indian Treaty obligations to all printed copies of the Maine Constitution. The legislature is going to vote on this bill soon so now is the time to let your representatives know of your support.

LD 1115: An Act Regarding Economic Development Funds for Federally Recognized Indian Tribes

This bill would require the Department of Economic and Community Development to allocate 10% of the available economic development funds in the Community Development Block Grant Program to Tribes in Maine.

NOTE: There is one bill that the Alliance opposes. LD 336. You can see their reasoning on the website.

Here is the link: https://wabanakialliance.com/131st-bill-tracker/

Action Items from Peace and Social Concerns, April 2023

For April 2023, here is what our Peace and Social Concerns Committee is urging us to do:

P&SC is asking you to be advocates for our Wabanaki neighbors this legislative season. When there are bills we feel are important we will post a “Legislative Alert from P&SC” on the web and in the Tuesday email. Please look for them. We will share a link to the Wabanaki Alliance Legislative Tracker that gives information on the current status of the bill and a link to help you contact your legislator.  If you would like to check it out now here is the link: https://wabanakialliance.com/131st-bill-tracker/. We are currently following LD 336, which the Alliance does not want to pass and LD 1115 which would bring important Community Development funds to the Tribes.

We encourage support of Brunswick’s preparation for the 60 New Mainer families coming to live in our community. You can give money to the GoFundMe account at this following link. These funds will be used to set up the 60 apartments being built for the families. There are also opportunities to be on a family support team through Family Promise in Portland. The link is: michelle@gpfamilypromise.org.

The Social Justice Enrichment Project will close out this school year with one more session with Linda Ashe-Ford. It will focus on introducing children to the Civil Rights Movement through books about Ruby Bridges. We will also conduct feedback interviews with the teachers in May. We will hear about the Obadiah Brown Grant in mid-May. We have begun talking with teachers about it and many of this year’s teachers are interested in continuing to work with us if we get the grant. It would definitely benefit the project to have teachers who have been with us for one year.

“Fighting Indians” Film Viewing and Discussion

Peace and Social Concerns Committee encourages us to watch “Fighting Indians,” a film to be shown on Maine Public (PBS) on April 6 (9pm) and April 8 (2pm).

They also encourage us to participate in a follow-up discussion of the issues raised by the film, via Zoom, on Monday April 10 at 7:00 PM.

This film tells the story of the struggle to change the name of the Skowhegan High School mascot. This was a contentious struggle that went on for years but ended successfully. This story has relevant lessons for the Peace & Social Concerns project to change the name of the 250th Anniversary Park in Brunswick. We recommend watching.

Maine Public Film Series

Fighting Indians

Maine Public TV Air Times:
Thur., April 6 at 9:00 pm
Sat., April 8 at 2:00 pm

Fighting Indians promotional image

On May 16, 2019, The State of Maine made history by passing LD 944 An Act to Ban Native American Mascots in all public schools, the first legislation of its kind in the country. For Maine’s tribal nations, the landmark legislation marked the end of a decades-long struggle to educate the public on the harms to Native “themed” mascots.

“Fighting Indians” chronicles the last and most contentious holdout in that struggle, the homogeneously white Skowhegan High School, known for decades as “The Home of the Indians.” This is the story of a small New England community forced to recon with its identity, its sordid history, and its future relationship with its indigenous neighbors. It is a story of a small town divided against the backdrop of a nation divided where the “mascot debate” exposes centuries-old abuses while asking if reconciliation is possible.

Produced by Mark Cooley, Derek Ellis and StoveUp LLC.

Learn more about this film at fightingindians.com.