Studying the Indigenous Peoples of Maine
Image from the Maine State Museum Website.
Today is Indigenous People's Day in Maine. Many Mainers will enjoy the long weekend without reflecting on the significance of the history and culture of Native peoples in what is now known as Maine.
In 2001, Over 20 Years ago, The Maine State Legislature passed LD 291: An Act to Require Teaching of Maine Native American History and Culture in Maine's Schools. Despite this legislation, many Maine schools still do not teach this important and required part of our history. As a Maine high school student in the 1990's and college student soon after, I cannot say I had encountered much discussion or education around the indigenous tribes of Maine and many teachers in Maine schools today likely did not receive an education that prepared them to teach about these topics either. Thankfully, the Maine State Museum and the Maine Department of Education have robust resources for all grade levels on their websites.
Many topics and issues are still active today and so knowledge about the tribes of Maine is not limited to Social Studies. This is illustrated in the Maine Calling Episode about Climate Change and it's Impact on Indigenous Peoples in Maine.
I would encourage Mainers, especially educators to spend some time this week learning about those who were here on this land before the settlers came and how we can make sure this history is also part of our children's education.