By the early 1990's, the art of Wabanaki basketry was considered nearly extinct. Today it is recognized as a vibrant and evolving form of Native American art. What saved this important art from extinction? The imagination, hard work, and generosity of a core group of elders who had kept the tradition alive, along with the Maine Indian Basketmakers Association. "Baskets of Time" shares the stories of 17 artists and families. Each profile describes how the artist learned the art of basket weaving from individuals within their family and from other tribal members. Gretchen Faulkner, Director of the Hudson Museum at the University of Maine, has written an essay in which she provides the historical background for the tradition of Maine Wabanaki basket making, and the important role the art form played in the past and still plays today in the Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Maliseet, and Micmac tribes. Fully illustrated with color photographs of each artist and their work. Paperback. 145 pgs.
From childhood to well into her eighties, Fannie Hardy Eckstorm made a study of Maine Indian language, culture and history from her home in Brewer, Maine. Her many years in close proximity and family friendship with the Penobscot and Passamaquoddy people and her diligent historical research made her the perfect and perhaps the only white person who could comment authoritatively on the items presented in this book. In "The Handicrafts of Modern Indians of Maine", Eckstorm provides the historical and cultural background for these important samples of Maine Indian Art. Reprinted with color plates in 2003 from the original 1932 edition. Paperback.
This engaging, richly illustrated, and meticulously researched book chronicles the intersecting lives of Maine's native Wabanaki and wealthy summer rusticators on Mount Desert Island. Catering to Bar Harbor's (originally named Eden) burgeoning tourist market during the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Wabanaki sold Native crafts, offered guide services, and put on "Indian shows". Their resourcefulness in the face of tremendous change helped them hold on to their cultural core. Paperback. 185 pgs.
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When his grandfather asks Kunu to help him with some basket making tasks, Kunu comes to understand that it is the tradition of his family for one generation to help the next. He also learns that it might take several tries before he gets it right. Can he be patient enough to try again and again? His grandfather shows him the way and at last Kunu's first basket is something to celebrate. Color illustrations throughout. Hardcover. 32 pgs.
A companion to "Passamaquoddy at the Turn of the Century" and "Hard Times at Passamaquoddy," this book details Passamoquoddy history in the nineteenth century. By Donald Soctomah, with assistance from many people who love the history of the Passamaquoddy people. All proceeds will be used in the funding for a Passamaquoddy Cultural Heritage and Resource Center. Paperback, 221 pages.
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"The Life and Traditions of the Red Man," by Joseph Nicolar (1827-94), tells the story of his people from the first moments of creation to the earliest arrivals and eventual settlement of Europeans. Self-published by Nicolar in 1893, this is one of the few sustained narratives composed in English by a member of an Eastern Algonquian-speaking people in the nineteenth century. At a time when Native Americans' ability to exist as Natives was imperiled, Nicolar wrote his book in an urgent effort to pass on Penobscot cultural heritage to subsequent generations of the tribe and to reclaim Native Americans' right to self-representation. This extraordinary work weaves together stories of Penobscot history, precontact material culture, feats of shamanism, and ancient prophecies about the coming of the white man. An elder of the Penobscot Nation in Maine and the grandson of the Penobscots' most famous shaman-leader, Old John Neptune, Nicolar brought to his task a wealth of traditional knowledge.
"The Life and Traditions of the Red Man" has not been widely available until now. This new edition has been prepared with the assistance of Nicolar's descentants and members of the Penobscot Nation. It includes a summary history of the tribe; an introduction that illuminates the book's narrative strategies, the aims of its author, and its key themes; and annotations providing historical context and explaining unfamiliar words and phrases. Edited and annotated by Annette Kolodny, with a preface by Charles Norman Shay, Joseph Nicolar's grandson, and an afterword by Bonnie D. Newsom. 2007 paperback, 224 pages.
Noted historian Christine DeLucia offers a major reconsideration of the violent seventeenth-century conflict in northeastern America known as King Philip’s War, providing an alternative to Pilgrim-centric narratives that have conventionally dominated the histories of colonial New England. DeLucia grounds her study of one of the most devastating conflicts between Native Americans and European settlers in early America in five specific places that were directly affected by the crisis, spanning the Northeast as well as the Atlantic world. She examines the war’s effects on the everyday lives and collective mentalities of the region’s diverse Native and Euro-American communities over the course of several centuries, focusing on persistent struggles over land and water, sovereignty, resistance, cultural memory, and intercultural interactions. An enlightening work that draws from oral traditions, archival traces, material and visual culture, archaeology, literature, and environmental studies, this study reassesses the nature and enduring legacies of a watershed historical event. Hardcover. 469 pgs.
This is the story of N'tolonapemk as seen through archaeology and the stories and knowledge of the Passamaquoddy people. The scientific methods used by archaeologists and traditional Passamaquoddy stories complement one another and create a more complete picture of this important place. Color photos, drawings and maps throughout. Spiral bound paperback. 30 pgs.
With rigorous original scholarship and creative narration, Lisa Brooks recovers a complex picture of war, captivity, and Native resistance during the “First Indian War” (later named King Philip’s War) by relaying the stories of Weetamoo, a female Wampanoag leader, and James Printer, a Nipmuc scholar, whose stories converge in the captivity of Mary Rowlandson. Through both a narrow focus on Weetamoo, Printer, and their network of relations, and a far broader scope that includes vast Indigenous geographies, Brooks leads us to a new understanding of the history of colonial New England and of American origins. Brooks’s path breaking scholarship is grounded not just in extensive archival research but also in the land and communities of Native New England, reading the actions of actors during the seventeenth century alongside an analysis of the landscape and interpretations informed by tribal history. Paperback. 430 pgs.
"We Passamaquoddy People have lived on the St. Crox River watershed for ten thousand years or more, since the ice retreated and the rivers flowed in the opposite direction. This film goes back to the beginnings to examine what we know of our early days here and how our lives today reflect the past. It centers on the shores of Meddybemps Lake, at an EPA Superfund cleanup site which was discovered to be the location of an ancient Passamaquoddy village. We now call that settlement N'tolonapemk, which means, 'Our Relatives' Place.' For 9000 years N'tolonapemk was a hub from which our relatives could travel throughout the St. Croix watershed. [This film] travels along the region's waterways, shores and woodlands to reveal its beauty while telling some of the story that Our Relatives' Place has revealed." 2006 DVD, by the Passamaquoddy Tribal Historic Preservation Office. Playing time 50 minutes.
Historians predicted the demise of the Penobscot Indians early in the 19th century, but the tribe is thriving at the opening of the 21st century. By selectively adapting to the dominant culture, the tribe has won back land and visibility. A decade of political activism culminated in the precedent-setting 1980 Maine Indian Land Claims settlement. Today the Penobscots run small industries, manage their natural resources, and provide health services, K-8 education, and social services to the poor and elderly of their community. MacDougall demonstrates that Penobscot legend, linguistics, dance and oral tradition become "foundations of resistance" against assimilation into the dominant culture.
This spiral-bound book is another of the series of Donald Soctomah's books preserving the records of Passamaquoddy life in the 1800's. Many detailed records are assembled chronologically to present a moving picture of the relationships between Europeans and Native Americans, often showing clearly how Europeans took advantage of the people they found here when they arrived. Paperback, Spiral-bound 160 pages
Maine historian Joyce Butler writes about Wabanaki basketry and carving in this companion book to a 1997 Maine Historical Society exhibit. The volume contains photographs and information about Penobscot and Passamaquoddy root clubs and brown ash fancy baskets. Paperback, 18 pages.
The Wabanaki, the People of the Dawn Land, have lived in what is now Maine and Maritime Canada for more than 11,000 years. It was not until the early 1600s that Europeans came to live in the terrietory inhabited by an estimated 32,000 Wabanaki. This contact was disastrous. "Wabanaki: A New Dawn" shows the quest for cultural survival by today's Wabanaki... the Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot People. The voices in the video offer hope that the Wabanaki will use their cultural and spiritual inheritance to survive and thrive in the third millenium. A 1995 film, presented by the Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission. In DVD.
In late September 1820, hoping to lay claim to territory then under dispute between Great Britain and the United States, Governor William King of the newly founded state of Maine dispatched Major Joseph Treat to survey public lands on the Penobscot and Saint John Rivers. Traveling well beyond the limits of colonial settlement, Treat relied heavily on the cultural knowledge and expertise of John Neptune, lieutenant governor of the Penobscot tribe, to guide him across the Wabanaki homeland. Along the way Treat recorded his daily experiences in a journal and drew detailed maps, documenting the interactions of the Wabanaki peoples with the land and space they knew as home. Edited, annotated, and with an introduction by Micah Pawling, this volume includes a complete transcription of Treat's journal, reproductions of dozens of hand-drawn maps, and records pertaining to the 1820 treaty between the Penobscot Nation and the governing authorities of Maine. As Pawling points out, Treat's journal offers more than the observations of a state agent conducting a survey. It re-creates a dialogue between Euro-Americans and Native peoples, showing how different perceptions of the land were negotiated and disseminated, and exposing the tensions that surfaced when assumptions and expectations clashed. In large part because of Neptune's influence, the maps, in addition to detailing the location of Wabanaki settlements, reflect a river-oriented Native perspective that would later serve as a key to Euro-American access to the region's interior. The groundwork for cooperation between Treat and Neptune had been laid during the 1820 treaty negotiations, in which both men participated and which were successfully concluded just over a month before their expedition departed from Bangor, Maine. Despite conflicting interests and mutual suspicions, they were able to work together and cultivate a measure of trust as they traveled across northern Maine and western New Brunswick, mapping an old world together while envisioning its uncertain future. Paperback. 300 pgs.
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A short but rich exploration of the lives of four Wabanaki women. The narrative begins with Molly Mathilde, a mother, peacemaker, and daughter of a famous chief. Born in the mid-1600s, when Wabanakis first experienced the full effects of colonial warfare, disease, and displacement, she provided a vital link for her people through her marriage to the French baron of Castin. The saga continues with the shrewd and legendary healer Molly Ockett and the reputed witchwoman Molly Molasses. The final chapter focuses on Molly Dellis Nelson (known as Spotted Elk), a celebrated performer on European stages who lived to see the dawn of Wabanaki cultural renewal in the modern era. "Women of the Dawn" is lyrical and poetic but based on many years of fieldwork and scholarship. Winner of the Friends of American Writers Literary Award. Paperback, 131 pages.