CASTINE, Maine — Anthropologist William Haviland will relate the history of hardship and survival endured by the natives of the Down East coast in a talk and booksigning at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 28, at the Wilson Museum, 120 Perkins St. His latest book is “Canoe Indians of Down East Maine.”
In 1604, when Frenchmen landed on Saint Croix Island, they were far from the first people to walk along its shores. For thousands of years, Etchemins – whose descendants were members of the Wabanaki Confederacy – had lived, loved and labored in Down East Maine. Bound together with neighboring people, all of whom relied heavily on canoes for transportation, trade and survival, each group still maintained its own unique culture and customs. After the French arrived, they faced unspeakable hardships, from “the Great Dying,” when disease killed up to 90 percent of coastal populations, to centuries of discrimination. Yet, they never abandoned Ketakamigwa, their homeland.
Dr. William A. Haviland is professor emeritus at the University of Vermont, where he founded the department of anthropology and taught for 25 years. Now retired from teaching, Haviland continues his research, writing and lecturing from the coast of Maine. In addition, he has served as president of the Island Heritage Trust on Deer Isle and presently serves on the boards of the Deer Isle-Stonington Historical Society and the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor.