Wabanaki Culture & Collections:
Interpreting Native Histories and Artifacts from a Decolonized Perspective


Moosehead Lake near Mt.Kineo

Hosted by the Moosehead Historical Society & Museums in partnership with Maine Archives and Museums on Thursday, July 25, 2019, at The Center for Moosehead History, East Cove, Greenville, Maine.

Louis Annance

Louis Annance, Chief of the St. Francis Abenakis, long-time resident of Greenville, Maine

Learn first-hand how to interpret and present Maine’s indigenous stories and artifacts, from a Wabanaki perspective. Directors from the Abbe Museum and from the Penobscot Nation offer professional expertise for museum directors, staff, teachers or anyone interested in understanding and interpreting Maine history, Native American stories, and collections.  Included in the day will be some best practices in the care of Native artifacts and in interpreting history and landscape from a decolonized point of view. It also offers a fine day for networking among colleagues and for making new associations.

In the Native tongue, the northeast is called Wobanakiak or “Dawn Land,” so they are the people of the Dawn Land. Today five Maine tribes are known collectively as Wabanaki: Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Maliseet, Micmac, and Abenaki. All but the Abenaki are federally recognized by the U.S. government.


Presenter biographies
JodiDeBruyneJodi DeBruyne, Director of Collections and Research, Abbe Museum. Jodi holds a BA in art history from Old Dominion University and an MA in museum studies from Johns Hopkins University. Prior to coming to the Abbe, she was Curator of Collections and Exhibits at the Juneau-Douglas Citv Museum in Alaska. There, she was responsible for the care and management of the Museum’s art, photographs, artifacts & archives. She also managed an intensive exhibit schedule that included a multi-year realignment & update to the permanent galleries so they became more inclusive and representative of the Juneau community.

StarKellyStarr Kelly, Curator of Education, Abbe Museum. Her responsibilities focus on education through dialogue in a decolonizing context. Starr leads the museum’s education and public programs work, including program development and delivery, teacher training, and educational resource development. She is a member of the Algonquin First Nation of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg in Quebec. Starr has worked as a middle and high school social studies teacher, and is a social justice oriented educator, developing what she refers to as a “curriculum for dignity.” Her lessons and pedagogical approach put theory into practice by honoring those she teaches about, while simultaneously creating an environment that is responsive to the needs of her learners and dignifies her students’ lived experiences. Starr is committed to language and cultural revitalization efforts in Indigenous communities. She is a board member of the Maine Archives and Museums and is committed to deepening the conversation around museum education.

jamesericfrancissrJames Eric Francis, Sr., Tribal Historian and Director of the Penobscot Nation’s Cultural and Historic Preservation Department. James is an accomplished researcher, photographer, filmmaker, and graphics artist with an interest in the relationship between Maine Native Americans and the landscape. Prior to working at the Penobscot Nation, he worked for the Wabanaki Studies Commission, helping implement the new Maine Native American Studies law into schools and has managed a team of teachers and cultural experts in developing curriculum. He is pursuing an Intermedia Masters of Fine Arts at the University of Maine. He is a life member of the Maine Historical Society.



Workshop Description & Itinerary 10 am – 3 pm
10 – 10:15 am – Welcome by Suzanne M. AuClair, Director of the Moosehead Historical Society & Museums, Greenville

10:15 – 11:15 am – How to Communicate Native American Content & Care for Collections, by Jodi DeBruyne, Director of Collections & Research at the Abbe Museum, Bar Harbor

11:15 – 12:15 pm – Can We Decolonize Educational Spaces?, A Critical Look at Colonization in the Classroom and Museums, by Starr Kelly, Curator of Education, Abbe Museum, Bar Harbor.  Starr will actively engage participants in learning about settler colonialism and the ways it shows up in classroom and museum spaces. She will lead several activities on identifying how settler colonialism and empire building is glorified, then present strategies she has developed to question the legitimacy of colonization, and the beginning of a framework for decolonizing education.

12:15 -1:15 pm – Catered lunch provided

1:15 – 2:15pm – Penobscot Sense of Place, by James E. Francis, Sr., Tribal Historian and Director of Penobscot Nation’s Cultural & Historic Preservation Department. Sense of Place provides perspective about the Penobscot’s relationship to the Maine landscape, including Penobscot Chief Joseph Attean and guide Joseph Polis’s relationship to naturalist writer Henry David Thoreau.

2:15 – Break

2:30 – 3 pm – Concluding remarks

$30 for MAM members; $40 for non-members/public

Seating is limited to 70. Advanced registration is required, and by first come, first served. To immediately register you or your group, please go to the Maine Archives and Museums website, under events: mainemuseums.org

You may also contact the Moosehead Historical Society: 207-695-2909 or by e-mail:
mooseheadhistory@myfairpoint.net. A waiting list will be taken and those on the wait list will be called should the workshop become sold out. Non-MAM members or the public may register directly with the Moosehead Historical Society & Museums. 

To Register with the Moosehead Historical Society, please download this form & mail your check together with your information ~

Name: ___________________________________________
Address: _________________________________________

Phone: _________________________ E-mail:  _____________________________

Checks are made payable in the amount of $40 per person to:
Moosehead Historical Society
P.O. Box 1116
Greenville, Maine, 04441

Because we are providing a catered lunch, those attending must RSVP to the Moosehead Historical Society no later than Friday, July 19.

The Wabanaki workshop is being offered as part of The Thoreau Wabanaki Trail Festival. Festival partners include the Natural Resource Education Center and Shaw Public Library, both of Greenville, Maine Woods Forever and Maine Archives & Museums.

The Thoreau Wabanaki Trail Festival promotes the understanding, appreciation, and stewardship of Maine’s unique cultural heritage and natural resources, made famous here in the Moosehead Lake Region. It celebrates naturalist writer Henry David Thoreau’s three trips into the Maine Woods and the culture and heritage of the Wabanaki people.

The Wabanaki trails were traditional Native American canoe routes on the Kennebec, Penobscot, and Allagash rivers. Moosehead Lake joins two ancient Native carries: to the West Branch of the Penobscot and Allagash rivers and to the Penobscot’s North Branch and the St. John River. The cliffs of Mt. Kineo, an important summering and tool-making place to the Wabanaki people, rises from the depths of Moosehead Lake.

A bonus is Wabanaki is being offered in one of the most spectacular places in Maine! The workshop takes place in this remote area, amid the fair winds and wildness of Moosehead Lake, and holds all the promise of a high summer day. You’ll feel the breath of fresh air and unparalleled open spaces of the Unorganized Territories.


Moosehead Lake from Mt. Kineo

Mt. Kineo, rising high from Moosehead Lake, is an important place for the Wabanaki who summered there and where an unusually strong rhyolite is found, for toolmaking among Native peoples.

The day promises to be educational, informative, and a lot of fun for museum directors and staff, teachers, and other professionals who want to fulfill how to interpret and handle their own collection of Native items or for anyone who has an abiding interest in the art of interpretation and historical documentation.

2018.0028ChrisSockalexisPenobscotNation copy

Chris Sockalexis, Penobscot Nation Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, describes the ancient legends of the landscape at last year’s festival.

In keeping with the festival, Wabanaki takes place along the shore of Moosehead Lake, where two of the three canoe trips by naturalist writer Henry David Thoreau, with Penobscot Nation guides, were launched.

Parking in Greenville Village
There are parking spaces directly in front of The Center for Moosehead History, 6 Lakeview St., with additional public parking across the street, on Pritham Ave. All parking is free.

Accessibility of building
The 2nd floor hall of The Center for Moosehead History, where the conference will be held, is not wheelchair accessible. The bathroom, a single room, is located on the ground floor, just inside the entrance to the Center.


Our Mission: to devote our resources to the discovery, identification, collection, preservation and interpretation of materials that document the history of the Moosehead Lake Region watershed and its people, past and present.  We seek to collect and record items of significance and to acquire and hold by purchase, gift, devise, bequest, grant or otherwise, real and personal property necessary or advantageous for the realization of the foregoing purposes.

The Moosehead Historical Society
is a registered 501C3 non-profit organization, No. 23 7138146.
Call: 207-695-2909 or Email: mooseheadhistory@myfairpoint.net