Our truth-telling project Beyond the Claims– Stories from the Land & the Heart has engaged folks from Wabanaki and Maine communities in deep conversations over the past year. We have interviewed people with diverse experiences and perspectives, including Wabanaki elders, Tribal Chiefs, legislators, lawyers, commissioners as well as poets, culture keepers, and families impacted by the Maine Indian land claims and MICSA for generations. We have found the personal oral history interview to be a powerful conduit for truth-telling and healing, a great illuminator of the past and the present, and a thoughtful tool to help us shape our shared future.
We are confident this meaningful collection of oral histories will help demystify the legislation, humanize those who have been affected by it, amplify their voices, and preserve their stories for cultural continuity. Our ultimate intention has always been offering space for truth-telling and healing to happen, and it has been an honor to do so across the many households of Wabanakik and what we now call Maine. Our team will continue to gather stories through the winter as we shift our focus to creating learning resources in addition to our ever-expanding archive.
As with every project we tend to, we take our time– Beyond the Claims, demanding patience, thought, and care, is no different. As we move into our third year of this initiative, we are inspired anew by the people and stories we have heard, and poised to center their knowledge and wisdom in tangible educational resources for the greater community. Wabanaki REACH staff, volunteers, and collaborators have been dreaming up all the ways Beyond the Claims can reach you– through a book you can hold in your hands and pass down to your loved ones; a traveling, interactive oral history exhibit; and a culminating performance at a celebratory gathering.
We invite you to join our supporters in making this work possible.