FARMINGTON — The University of Maine at Farmington will host a week of programming and campus visits by key Wabanaki leaders in recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Week from Oct. 11-15.

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

Bomazeen Land Trust, a nonprofit founded and run by Wabanaki people, and Sunlight Media Collective, an organization of Indigenous and non-Indigenous media makers and activists, including Wabanaki community members, will participate in several programs.

On Monday, an Indigenous Peoples’ Day virtual teach-in with Bomazeen Land Trust and Sunlight Media Collective will be held. It includes several online films.

The first film, titled “The Penobscot: Ancestral River, Contested Territory,” traverses the landscape of deal-making and deal-breaking which has historically defined tribal-state relations in Maine. Spanning from the 1700s to the present-day legal battle being played out in Penobscot Nation v. Mills, the film illustrates the history of Penobscots’ tenacious fight to retain their territory and their inherent, treaty-reserved sustenance fishing rights for future generations. The film runs 45 minutes.

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

Another film, titled “Kihtahkomikumon (Our Land) – #IslandBack in Passamaquoddy Territory,” will also be shown. The 2021 film, which runs 20 minutes, will focus on the Passamaquoddy tribe’s reunification with 140 acres of its unceded ancestral territory, part of the largest island in Kci Monosakom, (Big Lake) Maine.

Classes at the University of Maine at Farmington may be canceled in observation of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

On Wednesday, Oct. 13, a presentation on #LandBack, Water Rights, and Decolonization in Wabanaki Territory will be held from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Emery Community Arts Center Performance Space.

The Wabanaki people have been protecting their homelands — where UMF resides — since time immemorial, and continue to do so today. Wabanaki land-defenders and water protectors Dawn Neptune-Adams, Maria Girouard, Mali Obomsawin and Lokotah Sanborn will present information on current water quality issues, waste mismanagement, land claims proceedings, and the #LandBack movement.

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

On Friday, Oct. 15, a presentation and discussion titled “Decolonizing the University Through Placed-Based Agreements with Tribal Nations,” will be held from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. in 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 about the decolonization movement in higher education, with an eye on establishing some action steps for staff and students at UMF.

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 nonprofit founded and run by Wabanaki people, and Sunlight Media Collective is an organization of Indigenous and non-Indigenous media makers and activists, including Wabanaki community members.


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