Maine -Wabanaki Reach Program

Thursday, October 30th – 12 – 1:30 p.m. –

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The History, Necessity and Process of the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission

HHRC Lunch & Learn Series to Host Maine-Wabanaki REACH

The Holocaust and Human Rights Center will host an educational event featuring members of Maine-Wabanaki REACH and the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission. This presentation will cover a brief history of Maine Wabanaki people and the events leading to establishing the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission on October 30th at 12:00pm – It will be held at the Michael Klahr Center, home of the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine, University of Maine at Augusta, 46 University Drive, Augusta.

The Commission’s mandate was officially endorsed by the five Wabanaki Chiefs and the Maine Governor on June 29, 2012 and has until November 2015 to investigate and document what happened to Wabanaki people involved in the state child welfare system and make recommendations for best child welfare practice while promoting healing for those impacted.

This event will provide an historical overview and context for how Maine is taking the lead in this work of truth, healing and change. This five member Commission is the first in the country to focus on native child welfare and the first of its kind in the world to be developed collaboratively between tribal nations and a state. Commission Co-chair Carol Wishcamper said “Since being seated in February, we have been learning about Wabanaki history and working closely with Wabanaki communities through REACH to create our research plan.”

Most Maine residents are not aware of the US Government’s policies of forced assimilation of native people. Since the 1700’s, the intention to “kill the Indian to save the man” was carried out by forcibly removing native children from their communities and stripping them of their culture, language and spirituality. The Commission will explore how this mentality filtered into the child welfare system of our State and how that impacted native children being removed at higher rate than most other states in the country. Maine-Wabanaki REACH is the group that established the truth and reconciliation commission process, advises the Commission to ensure their research is directed by and respectful of Wabanaki people, and helps to prepare and support communities through the process.

In addition to learning about this misunderstood part of our history, participants will learn how they can be allies and support this historic body of work.

Light refreshments will be served and people are encouraged to bring their own lunch.

To read more about Maine-Wabanaki REACH, visit their website here.