By, Barbara Kates Maine-Wabanaki REACH Community Organizer
I am learning about decolonization- wondering what does decolonization mean for Wabanaki people; for me, as someone who is not Native; and for my community. I realize pretty quickly that in order to decolonize myself and my community, I need to first understand colonization. What is the history and how does it thread through our economic, political, social, educational, religious, health, legal – well, pretty much all the systems we have. This is going to take some time and I will need help.
Maine-Wabanaki REACH creates learning events and tools, and gathers people and resources to focus our attention on right here in Wabanakiland Maine. In this process, hundreds of people participate, offer insight, share their experience, and suggest paths forward and further education. This is how we learn together.
You are invited to participate in developing REACH’s newest learning tool – currently known as the Interactive Learning Exercise. This tool will be a structure for group learning, where everyone actively participates as we sit, walk, and/or talk through historical events of colonization of Wabanaki territory. We experience and witness the impacts of these events. Then we have circle time to reflect and share our experience.
REACH needs the help of people to participate in this Interactive Learning Exercise to let us know what is working and what needs more attention.
How can you help?
- You can attend one of the upcoming events - in Orono on May 3 or Bangor on May 6. Register on our Events Page: http://www.mainewabanakireach.org/events
- You can organize an event in your community. To organize one, you need to help us recruit 25-35 people who are willing to commit 90 minutes together. We need four of those people to volunteer to read to the group. We need a large accessible room and chairs where everyone can sit in a circle.
If you want more information, contact [email protected].
We have facilitated the Interactive Learning Exercise twice and already learned it has an impact on participants. Non-Native people have told us “It’s eye opening” and “re-enacting the history of Native people in Maine made tangible events few of us knew a lot about and otherwise would not need to engage with beyond a surface level.” Wabanaki people have said that it was important to be part of people learning the history of what happened here.
We know we have more work to do and are trying out variations each time we offer it. We are creating a great tool to share. REACH will make it available on our website so any community can download the directions and script to experience and learn together about colonization.