PERRY, Maine — The Maine Wabanaki – State Child Welfare Truth & Reconciliation Commission will be among those celebrating the 48th annual Sipayik Indian Days hosted by the Passamaquoddy Tribe at the Pleasant Point Passamaquoddy Reservation in Perry. Representatives from the TRC planning to attend the celebration Aug. 8-11 will include Executive Director Heather Martin and several commissioners, including Matt Dunlap, Carol Wishcamper, and gkisedtanamoogk.
“The TRCs success is rooted in community and collaboration,” noted Martin in a press release. “This
event is a perfect opportunity for everyone to start getting to really know each other, which is the fundamental step to sharing the big, heavy information.”
How that information comes forward will be guided by the unique requirements of each community. “It’s not a one-size-fits-all process,” said Martin. “It is at events such as this that we start to understand how to take the next step.”
The theme of the Sipayik Indian Day Celebration, “Honoring Our Past, Present and Future,” sends an important message. Observed Commissioner gkisedtanamoogk, according to the press release: “That message is beautifully attuned with the work of the TRC. We hope that the TRC process will further that vision which we all share.”
The Maine Wabanaki – State Child Welfare Truth & Reconciliation Commission grew from a grassroots coalition of state child welfare workers, tribal community members, and staff from the Muskie School of Public Service who wanted to address past policy failures and the resulting trauma suffered by Maine tribes. The Commission was created with a clear mandate, ratified by all five tribal communities within Maine, as well as state government, to develop a record of child welfare practices from 1978, when the Indian Child Welfare Act was passed. The commission was further directed to provide an opportunity for healing for those involved, and to offer concrete policy recommendations for the future.
For More Information on this story, or on the work of the TRC, please contact Executive Director Heather Martin at 460-1587.