UMF to organize events during Indigenous Peoples Week


FARMINGTON – The University of Maine at Farmington will host a week of programming and campus tours by key Wabanaki leaders in recognition of Indigenous Peoples Week October 11-15.

The event is a collaboration with Mali Obomsawin of the Abenaki First Nation of Odanak and Bomazeen Land Trust.

Bomazeen Land Trust, a non-profit organization founded and led by the Wabanaki people, and Sunlight Media Collective, an organization of indigenous and non-indigenous media creators and activists, including members of the Wabanaki community, will participate in several programs.

On Monday, a virtual Indigenous Peoples Day teaching with Bomazeen Land Trust and Sunlight Media Collective will take place. It includes several movies online.

The first film, titled “The Penobscot: Ancestral River, Contested Territory,” traverses the landscape of making and breaking agreements that has historically defined tribal-state relations in Maine. Spanning from the 1700s to the current legal battle unfolding in Penobscot Nation v. Mills, the film illustrates the story of the Penobscots’ bitter struggle to conserve their land and their inherent subsistence fishing rights, reserved by treaty, for future generations. The film lasts 45 minutes.

There will also be a short film updating the Penobscot River affair, titled “The Saga Continues”.

Another film, titled “Kihtahkomikumon (Our Land) – #IslandBack in Passamaquoddy Territory”, will also be screened. The 2021, 20-minute film will focus on the reunification of the Passamaquoddy tribe with 140 acres of their unceded ancestral territory, part of the larger island of Kci Monosakom, (Big Lake) Maine.

Classes at the University of Maine at Farmington may be canceled due to Indigenous Peoples Day.

On Wednesday, October 13, a presentation on #LandBack, water rights and decolonization in Wabanaki territory will take place from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the performance space of the Emery Community Arts Center.

The Wabanaki people have protected their homelands – where the UMF resides – since time immemorial, and continue to do so today. Land and Water Defenders Wabanaki Dawn Neptune-Adams, Maria Girouard, Mali Obomsawin and Lokotah Sanborn will present information on current water quality issues, poor waste management, land claims procedures and the #LandBack movement.

Speakers represent the Penobscot and Abenaki communities, as well as Wabanaki-led organizations such as Sunlight Media Collective and Bomazeen Land Trust.

On Friday, October 15, a presentation and discussion titled “Decolonizing the University through Place-Based Agreements with Tribal Nations” will be held from 11:45 am to 1:00 pm at the Emery Community Arts Center.

Darren J. Ranco, a member of the Penobscot Nation and associate professor of anthropology and chair of Native American programs at the University of Maine, will lead a campus conversation on the decolonization movement in higher education, with a view to establishing measures for UMF staff and students.

Both campus events are free and open to the public.

For more information on the programs, and to see the films, go to this link.

Bomazeen Land Trust is a non-profit organization founded and managed by the Wabanaki people, and Sunlight Media Collective is an organization of Indigenous and non-Indigenous media creators and activists, including members of the Wabanaki community.

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