Traditions by the basketful: Native American artists will share their creativity at Shaker Village market

 NEW GLOUCESTER — The creative works of about 20 Native American artists will be featured Saturday, Aug. 28, at the second Maine Native American Summer Market and Demonstration at historic Shaker Village at Sabbathday Lake .

This selection of baskets was made Butch Jacobs of Waldo, a member of the Neptune family of the Passamaquoddy Tribe, known for its active roles in basketry and tribal leadership.

The event, hosted by the United Society of Shakers, will feature the works of artists representing the Penobscot, Micmac, Pasamaquoddy and Maliseet tribes of Maine.

There will be handwoven ash splint and sweet grass basketry, traditional etched birch bark vessels, stone sculpture, woodcarving, jewelry making, flute making and storytelling — all traditional crafts.

According to Michael Graham, curator at the Shaker Museum, the Shakers and Maine Indians have crossed paths throughout the state over the centuries since the late 1700s.

Today, parallel journeys to preserve each group’s cultural identity continue and will be celebrated.

There is historical evidence of Native American settlements near the Shaker Villages at New Gloucester, said Graham. As early as 1820, some Maine Indians sold their ash splint baskets and birch bark vessels and beadwork to the public.

The Maine Shakers in the mid-1800s acquired and used significant numbers of Maine Indian baskets in combination with their Shaker-made baskets. Many of these early Maine Indian baskets were used for laundry, general storage and farming.

“The tribes and the Shakers have a parallel path — cultural preservation, education and outreach—  that makes for a compatible union,” Graham said. “We are working closely with the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance based in Old Town and are getting a strong response."

Graham said last year’s event drew roughly 800 people on a stormy day.

“I remember this as clear as a bell, when Barry Dana, a birch bark artist and former governor of the Penobscot Nation, said more than half the audience was experiencing Wabanaki culture for the first time in their lives."

Participating artists include Dana; stone sculptor Tim Shay; flute maker and storyteller David Sanipass; woodcarver Richard Love; basketmakers Molly Neptune Parker, Butch Jacobs, Fred Tomah, Kim Bryant, Pam Cunningham, Paula Thorne, Caron Shay, Eldon Hanning, Gal Frey, Stuart Tomah, Jeremy Frey and Ganessa Bryant; and basket and jewelry makers Rene Attean and Janice Francis.

Go and do

WHAT: Maine Native American Summer Market and Demonstration

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28, rain or shine

WHERE: Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, Route 26, New Gloucester


FOR MORE INFO: Call the Shaker Museum, 707 Shaker Road, at 926-4597; or visit

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These are beautiful baskets...


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