PRINCETON, Maine — Allen J. Sockabasin, 66, of Princeton, a Passamaquoddy leader and author of the 2007 memoir “An Upriver Passamaquoddy,” is the winner of the Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine’s 2010 Catalyst for Change Award.
Sockabasin is noted for his efforts to preserve his tribe’s native language, and is the fourth person to win the award. It is given annually by the center to honor a Mainer who supports diversity, equality and human and civil rights.
The Sampson Center, based at the University of Southern Maine, will present the award to Sockabasin during its annual Catalyst for Change dinner to be held Oct. 21.
Sockabasin, born in the Native American village of Peter Dana Point in Washington County, has worked for decades to gain recognition and fair treatment for his people. The 10th of 11 children, he grew up in eastern Maine when native people were denied voting rights and use of public restrooms, were refused service by white barbers and were segregated from whites in movie theaters.
He became a teacher, builder, logging contractor, musician, tribal chief, substance abuse counselor, child welfare director, landscaper, HIV prevention counselor, artist and author.
He also was involved in the landmark legal case that brought about the Maine Indian Land Claims Settlement.