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Wikhikonol: Stories + Photos Opens June 20 in Pleasant Point

SIPAYIK | PLEASANT POINT, ME (June 4, 2023)– Wabanaki REACH has partnered with the Sipayik Museum to present wikhikonol, an oral history exhibit featuring stories alongside photography by Wabanaki artists Nolan Altvater and Maya Attean. The exhibit, which opens June 20 with a celebratory gathering, is part of Wabanaki REACH’s truth-telling initiative Beyond the Claims– Stories from the Land & the Heart.

Wabanaki REACH has recorded and preserved over forty personal oral history interviews from Wabanaki and Maine communities in hopes to illuminate the humanity behind the Maine Indian land claims era and demystify the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980. The organization has been focusing its efforts on building an accessible archive of interviews, creating educational resources for the greater community, and making space for healing and truth-telling to happen.

wikhikonol marks Wabanaki REACH’s second public offering related to the project following where the river widens, an original community-devised play performed on Indian Island last fall. wikhikonol features text and audio of stories that emerged in the interviews, complemented by photographs of Wabanakik and its people. Beyond the Claims is led by Wabanaki ways of being and knowing to further Wabanaki REACH’s crucial work of bringing truth, healing, and change to the Dawland.

"Our intentions were to create a deeper understanding of the Maine Indian Land Claims, a tumultuous period in tribal-state history that still impacts the Tribes today. We wanted to capture stories from people with lived experiences during this time, uplift stories that exemplify the Wabanaki people's unique relationship to their homelands, and create tools for learning and understanding so we can ultimately move toward a more just and understanding future together”, said Maria Girouard, Executive Director of Wabanaki REACH.

Wikhikon is the Passamaquoddy word originally used for birchbark maps but now refers to book, image, map, or any written material. For this exhibit, it can be understood as a visual tool for storytelling that offers spaces for relations and understandings to emerge from the Land and from the people who are connected to it. It is a term that challenges and resists dominant, western understandings of stories and the Land and the relationships in which they attempt to force Wabanaki people into.

Nolan Altvater said, “This exhibit is a celebration of the myriad relations that Wabanaki people have with our homelands. The stories blur the lines between image and word while inviting the audience to critically think and learn with the literacies of our land beyond the claims of the settlement act”.

The public is invited to celebrate the exhibit’s opening on June 20 at 2pm at the Sipayik Museum with a gathering hosted by Wabanaki REACH. Folks are welcome to join the conversation, meet the artists, and enjoy some light refreshments overlooking the Pleasant Point Peninsula.

wikhikonol: stories + photos at the Sipayik Museum, 59 Passamaquoddy Rd., Pleasant Point, Maine. Opening reception and gathering on June 20, 2-4pm. Exhibit runs June 20 through October at the Sipayik Museum, Point Pleasant Peninsula. For more information, please visit


Wabanaki REACH supports the self-determination of Wabanaki people through education, truth-telling, restorative justice, and restorative practices in Wabanaki and Maine communities. We design our structures and processes to be responsive to Wabanaki communities and beneficial to Wabanaki people. We envision a future when Maine and Wabanaki people join together to acknowledge truth and work collectively toward equity, healing, and positive change.

We aspire to restore right relations, responsibility, compassion, love, reciprocity, abundance, and joy. We believe in the natural strength and beauty of Wabanaki culture, language and ways of being. We believe in the power of Wabanaki people learning the truth about history and reclaiming traditional healing practices. We honor and promote Wabanaki values of taking care of one another, of being grateful, joyful, loving and forgiving.

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