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UMFK and MAHC to present workshop on local Native American history and culture

February 8, 2002



A first-of-its-kind teachers workshop exploring local Native American history and culture will take place in the Nadeau Hall teleconference center at the University of Maine at Fort Kent on Tuesday, February 26 at 4:00 p.m.

The session, co-sponsored by the Acadian Archives/Archives acadiennes at UMFK and the Maine Acadian Heritage Council, is made possible in part by a grant from the University of Maine System in partnership with the Maine Humanities Council.

It will explore material researched by Mariella Squire, assistant professor of anthropology, who has been studying Native Americans in the St. John Valley and surrounding region.

Information compiled by Squire, over a period of several months, has been used by Bruno Hicks, assistant professor and chair of UMFK's education division, to develop classroom resource materials, which will also be unveiled at the workshop.

"Mariella Squire has put together a wonderful, carefully researched background text on the history and culture of Native Americans in this region. Not only is the material thorough, it is a first-of-its-kind for the local area," said Lisa Ornstein, director of the Acadian Archives/Archives acadiennes.

Ornstein, who also chairs the Maine Acadian Heritage Council's education resource development committee, has been working to strengthen the cultural organization's partnership with St. John Valley educators.

Toward that end, Ornstein's committee, working through UMFK's academic outreach office, sent out personal invitations to all Valley educators who teach Maine studies, social science, and Native American studies.

In addition to extending a personal invitation, the committee will offer the first 20 teachers who enroll in the workshop a stipend and free dinner.

"Not only will this session allow us to transmit valuable information about subject matter that has been largely unexplored, and provide curriculum instruction assistance, it will also serve as a way to honor our local educators and to acknowledge the value of their time and how busy they are," said Ornstein.

Workshop participants will receive a comprehensive text on St. John Valley Native American cultures, and instructional materials developed by Hicks to accompany the text.

The text covers St. John Valley geography and resources, Native America in general, Maliseet and Mi'kmaq history and culture, and concepts of Native identity today. Also provided will be maps, a glossary and other resources.

Along with receiving practical information, attendees will participate in one or two "hands-on" activities detailed in the education resource book.

According to Hicks, who will lead the curriculum development exercise, the mini-lesson will involve discovery and project-based learning and will serve to demonstrate at least one of the suggested exercises.

Dinner will follow the session with Hicks, and will include one traditional Wabanaki dish.

After supper, workshop participants will be treated to a slide presentation by local archaeologist David Putnam, an adjunct faculty member at the University of Maine at Presque Isle, who has most recently conducted an archaeological dig by the Aroostook Centre Mall in Presque Isle.

Putman will speak about his latest findings, as well as about St. John Valley archaeology, of which he has also studied.

The MAHC will award stipends of $40 to the first 20 full-time Valley teachers who register for the workshop, and an additional stipend of $50 to the first 20 teachers who implement and report on the use of the materials in their classroom.

Community members are also invited to participate in the workshop for a nominal fee of $10, which will include dinner.

Pre-registration is required. For more information or to enroll, contact Don Eno in the UMFK academic outreach office at 834-7835. Enrollment will be limited to 30 participants.