Speaker Series

Speaker Series

List of Upcoming Speakers

A Conversation with Penobscot Artist, Barry Dana.

June 8 at 7pm: in person at the Margaret Chase Smith Library

56 Norridgewock Ave, Skowhegan

Barry offers us visual representations of his experience of his culture, his tradition and the natural world. As part of this talk he will be presenting his latest work--a mural sponsored by Skowhegan History House.

Barry Dana was born and raised on Indian Island. He is a self taught painter, birch bark basket maker, educator and former chief of the Penobscot Nation. After graduating with a forestry degree from UMO, he got a degree in education and for 14 years taught a course to strengthen the connection with nature and culture for the elementary school children on Indian Island. This course evolved to his current school visit program that has taken him all over the state to share his culture and traditions with non-native children of all ages. He has dedicated his whole life to preserving Wabanaki culture and language through his school visits and through his basket making and painting.

Mali Obomsawin presents the living Wabanaki history of the Kennebec River region and its people from before European arrival to the colonial era (up to present) and the LandBack movement in Maine and beyond.

June 15 at 7pm: by Zoom and in person at Tewksbury Hall (Weston Ave), Skowhegan)

Register for Zoom link here

Mali Obomsawin's tribal historic preservation research focuses on Abenaki community history and its intersections with other Wabanaki nations in the modern-day US. The Abenaki of today make up two federally recognized First Nations (Odanak and W8linak) in Canada, but originally come from homelands in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

Mali Obomsawin is a musician, writer, and community organizer originally from Farmington, Maine and a citizen of Odanak First Nation (Abenaki). She currently serves as executive director of Bomazeen Land Trust, an inter-tribal Wabanaki initiative dedicated to land return, rematriation, and food sovereignty across Wabanaki homelands. Mali also works as a consultant and writer with Sunlight Media Collective and is committed to telling stories at the intersections of environmental justice, history, and tribal sovereignty through her work. Her writings have also been published in The Boston Globe and Smithsonian Folklife Magazine. Mali holds a dual degree in Government and Comparative Literature from Dartmouth College (2018).

Join us at Tewksbury Hall or via Zoom.  To join by Zoom, register here.

Past Speakers

History House Speaker Series: Nathan Scholl Presents his Shawmut Dig Report

From 2019-2021 Geo-Archaeologist and Principal Investigator Nathan Scholl worked for a consulting firm specializing in cultural resources management and historic preservation services. He was involved with archeology dig sites at Shawmut Dam and adjoining riverside properties.

To view the presentation click here

The last speaker in the series is Chris Sockalexis.  This program presented Penobscot culture, history, and archaeology within the traditional landscape of the Penobscot Nation.  This includes an overview of the archaeological record mixed with traditional knowledge.  Within this program, Chris included traditional / contemporary drumming/singing.

Chris Sockalexis is a member of the Penobscot Nation and is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Penobscot Nation.  He is a graduate of the University of Maine Anthropology Department as well as the Climate Change Institute.  Chris is also an accomplished singer who travels throughout the northeast to various powwows and other gatherings with his drum group, The RezDogs.  He loves being out on the waterways of Maine and is one of the lead contacts for the Penobscot Nation Cultural Tourism Program which offers guided canoe trips along the Penobscot River.

Ashley Smith was the last speaker in the Wabanaki Voices Speaker Series. On Thursday August 25th at 7pm, Smith leaded a talk entitled, “Stories of Nanrantsouak/Norridgewock Village: Understanding the Legacies of our Shared Histories of Violence”.

Dwayne Tomah, Director and Curator of the Sipayik Museum, was a speaker in the Wabanaki Voices Speaker Series. Attached is the  the 1-hour film, “The Doctrine of Discovery–Unmasking the Domination". The Doctrine of Discovery refers to a principle in public international law under which, when a nation “discovers” land, it directly acquires rights on that land. The Doctrine provided the basis for subsequent laws depriving indigenous peoples of their lands.  Dwayne Tomah has been involved in repatriation and Land Back issues and will share historical truth regarding The Doctrine of Discovery by an Indigenous perspective.

4th Speaker

Video not available at this time

Maria Girouard spoke on June 23, at  the Tewksbury Hall located behind the Federated Church on the island in Skowhegan. Maria Girouard of Penobscot Nation is an historian with a particular expertise in the Maine Indian Land claims.  She earned a master's degree in history from the University of Maine in part from her thesis entitled: The Original Meaning and Intent of the Maine Indian Land Claims:  Penobscot Perspectives.  Maria is a longstanding community organizer, environmental steward, and educator.  She speaks extensively on topics such as Maine Indian Land Claims, Penobscot cultural connections to Katahdin, history of the Penobscot River, and food justice.  She is a co-founder of the sunlight Media Collective and of the Peoples Garden, a community garden located on Indian Island.  Maria currently serves as the executive director of Wabanaki REACH, a non-profit organization dedicated to truth, healing, and Change.

Darren Ranco spoke on  June 9,  7:00pm, at Tewksbury Hall, located behind the Federated Church on the island in Skowhegan. Penobscot tribal member Dr. Ranco is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and Coordinator of Native American Research at the University of Maine.  His talk entitled, "Major Episodes of Colonial Racism in Maine State Indian History and Policy,"  will show how issues of racial injustice have shaped State of Maine Indian History and Policy, as well as give a broad historical and rights context to contemporary issues related to Wabanaki Tribal Sovereignty and Treaty Rights.

John Bear Mitchell, 3rd speaker

Video of 3rd speaker

Dr. Darren Ranco  the second presenter

Video of 2nd speaker

 James Francis Lecture

Video of 1st speaker