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The Abbe Museum and its board of trustees are making progress along the path of decolonization, and thereby strengthening the Museum enormously. Changing our perspectives, identifying our personal and cultural biases, and figuring out how to incorporate new power dynamics into the Abbe’s governance structure is an ongoing and at times arduous process. But it is rewarding on every level, from the personal to the geopolitical. We are committed to this path and are gratified to see it garner significant new support for the museum.

In 2017, we reached important decolonization benchmarks. Now every board committee, from finance to collections, includes one or more Wabanaki members. We also held the first joint meeting of both the board of trustees and the Native Advisory Council. For the past five years, Abbe leadership has consulted regularly with an advisory council made up of representatives of each of the Wabanaki tribes in Maine. The Native Advisory Council has played a critical role in defining our interpretive framework and in determining exhibit content. The board and council met—and will continue meeting—to consider the best structures for ensuring that Native voice is always the primary voice at the Abbe, in matters of governance as well as program and exhibit content. It has been an honor and privilege to be part of this process, and I know it will serve the Abbe well.