2016 At a Glance:

  • 2,368  individuals impacted by the Abbe's programs
  • 25 tours were given, reaching 606 visitors traveling via cruise ships and tour buses
  • 51 schools, 3174 students, and 171 teachers were educated by Abbe staff
  • 18 programs held at the Museum
  • 28 programs held outside the Museum
  • 14 programs presented inside Acadia National Park drew a total of 1,777 visitors

Teacher Workshop

This free professional development opportunity for Maine teachers on October 10, 2015, focused on how contact with European cultures has affected Wabanaki communities. It featured Passamaquoddy Tribal Member Dr. Gail Dana-Sacco, who gave a presentation titled Forever Fragile:  Peaceful Tribal-State Relations and Our Collective Health.


Thanksgiving Dialogue Program

On November 24, Museum Educator George Neptune facilitated the dialogue program, “Thanksgiving myths, facts, and the dangers of Twistory.” Participants delved into their own experiences around Thanksgiving, the significance of the myths that have developed regarding the modern American concept of the holiday, and ways to gain a better understanding of Native cultures and traditions to begin to move past these myths.


March on Mount Desert Street

The Abbe joined our Mount Desert Street neighbors to host a segment of the annual March on Mount Desert St. community gathering in March, 2016. Students from Conners-Emerson School performed a short play at the museum, followed by a progressive dinner at the YWCA, St. Saviour’s Church, Jesup Memorial Library, and the Congregational Church.


First Light Film Screening

In May, filmmaker Adam Mazo and Truth & Reconciliation Commission participant Tyneshia Wright shared the short film First Light and led a panel discussion on the impact of child welfare practices on the Wabanaki, and about the TRC process and experience.


Traditional Hawaiian Voyaging Canoe Hōkūle‘a

The Abbe was privileged to host members of the crew of the Hōkūleʻa on July 26 as they shared insights from their experience sailing on the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage at the museum. They spoke to a packed house about the fascinating details of celestial navigation and about the people and places they had connected with along their journey.


Return of the River Screening and Panel

On September 26, writer, director, and co-producer of the film Return of the River, Jessica Plumb, was joined by Penobscot Nation tribal historian James E. Francis, Sr. at the Abbe to screen the film and host a discussion of the importance of rivers and their protection from Indigenous people across North America. The film follows members of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, working with activists to attempt the impossible: to change the public opinion of a town and eventually the nation to bring two dams down.

The Abbe education team worked with a wonderful variety of schools and organizations across Maine to further learning about the Wabanaki. Some of these groups came to the museums, while others welcomed Abbe staff into their schools and communities.

Mount Desert Island YMCA

Coastal Studies for Girls, Freeport

George B. Weatherbee School, Hampden

Cobscook Experiential Program for High School Students, Trescott

Miles Lane School, Bucksport

Pembroke Elementary School

Houlton Elementary School

Ellsworth Elementary Middle School

Trenton Elementary School

South Elementary School, Rockland

Blue Hill Consolidated School

Mast Landing School, Freeport

Bay School, Blue Hill

Conners-Emerson School, Bar Harbor

Lincoln Academy

MDI High School

Bangor Public Schools

Deer Isle Public Library

Jesup Memorial Library

Swan’s Island School

Athens Community School

Montello School, Lewiston

National History Day, Orono

Wentworth School, Scarborough

Acadia Senior College

Pemetic Elementary School, Southwest Harbor

Maple Tree Community School, Readfield

Wilson Museum, Castine

Daughters of the American Revolution

Washington County Gifted and Talented Program

Peninsula School, Prospect Harbor

Parker Ridge Retirement Community, Blue Hill

Kid’s Corner, Bar Harbor

Maine Connections Academy

Wesleyan College, Connecticut

Maranacook Community Middle School, Readfield

Road Scholars

Bucksport Middle School

Brooksville Elementary School

Fort Fairfield High School

Boy Scout Troop #301, Allentown, PA

Aroostook Band of Micmacs Youth Group

College of the Atlantic

Appalachian Mountain Club, Echo Lake Camp

Southwest Harbor Library Story Camp

Washington Academy, East Machias

Migrant Education Program Youth Summit, Mano en Mano, Milbridge

Eastern Maine Community College, Bangor

Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations

Rangeley Lakes Regional School, Rangeley

Frenchman Bay Conservancy



Winter in the Dawnland

The Abbe collaborated with the Mount Desert Island YMCA to offer two storytelling and craft activities. For Wabanaki people, storytelling and the passing on of oral histories was typically reserved for the winter season, when much time was spent indoors. On November 6, 2016, Museum Educator George Neptune, Passamaquoddy, told the story of a beautiful young woman named Kci Kikuwosson Skitkomiq (Our Mother, the Earth) and how she created the place known as Turtle Island. Participants then wove their own ash and sweetgrass turtle to represent one of the animals that came to Mother Earth's aid when she fell from the sky. On December 8, Neptune shared the story of the first treaty in the Dawnland – an agreement between Koluskap, the first man, and Putep, the whale. After the story, participants explored how wampum belts were used as record keepers and made their own imitation wampum bracelet


Kluskap of the Wabanaki Reception and Meet the Artist

On November 28, Abbe friends joined Maliseet artist Dozay to celebrate the opening of her first U.S. show. Guests had the opportunity to learn directly from the artist about what inspires and shapes her work and about the Wabanaki oral traditions featured in the show.


Embrace the Serpent Film Screening

Indigenous people rarely have input when it comes to their representations in mainstream culture, yet these representations seem to appear more and more frequently. The 1932 Criterion Theatre in Bar Harbor hosted a screening of Embrace the Serpent, which is about the devastating effects of colonization on Amazonian cultures. It was followed by a discussion about Indigenous representations in media and how these representations may dispel or reinforce stereotypical depictions of Indigenous cultures, facilitated by Abbe Museum Educators George Neptune and Jen Heindel.


Basketmaking Workshops

The summer of 2016 featured two workshops led by accomplished Wabanaki artists. Molly Neptune Parker, Passamaquoddy, offered a two-day fancy basket workshop, and Gabriel Frey, Passamaquoddy, offered a two-day utility basket workshop, providing visitors with an opportunity to get hands-on experience with the two main styles of Wabanaki basketmaking.


Outreach Programs

Abbe Museum Trustee Jamie Bissonette Lewey participated in a panel discussion about the controversial photographer Edward Curtis on May 6, 2016, at the Portland Museum of Art, offering these remarks. She was joined by honorary Trustee Darren Ranco and Abbe Museum Educator George Neptune. The talk was co-sponsored by the Abbe Museum and discussed the ways Curtis' images have perpetuated cultural genocide of indigenous North Americans and the way they represent the violence of colonization. Abbe President and CEO Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko facilitated the discussion for a capacity crowd.  And, earlier that day George Neptune led a small group of adult learners through a facilitated dialogue about Curtis’s photography and its legacy inside the gallery space.  

The Abbe was excited to participate in Park Science Day, one of the Acadia Centennial feature events, at Sieur de Monts Spring on June 25. George Neptune and Julia Gray shared information about birchbark canoes and about the impact of climate change on coastal archaeological sites in the Wabanaki homeland. The event featured a wide range of researcher and science educators who work in and around Acadia National Park.

Julia Gray staffed an informational table about Abbe Museum educator resources at the first annual Maine Social Studies Summer Symposium at Maranacook High School on June 29.

In what has become an annual favorite, George Neptune shared Wabanaki stories of the night sky on an Acadia Night Sky Festival cruise with Bar Harbor Whale Watch on September 21.


Abbe Museum Annual Film Series: Continuity, Change, and Resistance

October 15, 2015

Weaving Worlds (2007)

The first film, Weaving Worlds, is a documentary about Diné (Navajo) rug weaving, and viewers saw one of the many perspectives on how Indigenous peoples in America have ensured economic and cultural survival through contemporary art. After the movie, Museum Educators George Neptune and Jennifer Heindel facilitated a discussion about the survival of traditions in the face of globalization.

November 19, 2015

We Still Live Here (2010)

We Still Live Here focuses on the story of cultural revival among the Aquinnah Wampanoag in Southern Massachusetts. Having survived the arrival of the European settlers frequently referred to as "pilgrims," this documentary follows the journey of Jesse Little Doe Baird and her work to revitalize the Wampanoag language, and raise her daughter as the first native Wampanoag speaker in over 100 years. After the movie, George and Jennifer facilitated a discussion on language revitalization and its relevance among the Wabanaki Nations.

January 14, 2016

Our Spirits Don't Speak English (2008)

The documentary Our Spirits Don't Speak English examines the Native American boarding school era in the United States. Highlighting both the schools run by Christian missionaries and the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs, the film features testimonials from boarding school survivors and provides a platform for dialogue on forced assimilation and cultural genocide. After the movie, George and Jennifer facilitated a discussion reflecting the theme of this year's film series: Continuity, Change, and Resistance.

February 1, 2016

Incident at Restigouche (1984)

For the final film in our annual film series, the documentary Incident at Restigouche tells a story of resistance and resilience among the Mi'kmaq First Nation of Listiguj in Quebec, Canada. To serve as a form of protest and inspire activism in support of Indigenous sovereignty, filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin traveled to Listiguj to document two raids on Listiguj by the Sûreté du Québec in 1981. A discussion with Museum Educators George Neptune and Jen Heindel followed the movie and focused on sovereignty and self-determination among the Wabanaki.

The film series was free and open to the public thanks to the support of Reel Pizza Cinerama.