The Working Waterfront

Cultural Connects program returns to Acadia

Posted 2023-08-23
Last Modified 2023-08-23

The Cultural Connections program returns to Acadia National Park after a year-long hiatus.

This programming provides visitors to Acadia with the opportunity to learn from Maine’s Native artists, musicians, and scholars via bi-weekly summer demonstrations. Not only does the Cultural Connections program provide an important platform to support Wabanaki artists and educators, but it also fills a crucial role in communicating Acadia’s diverse cultural history to park visitors.

“The Wabanaki people have a deep connection to and understanding of the lands that now make up Acadia National Park,” says Acadia National Park Superintendent Kevin Schneider. “This program not only centers that knowledge and helps others facilitate connections with this place we love, but it also reminds visitors that the Wabanaki Nations are still here, and Wabanaki people have an enduring connection to this land.”

All Cultural Connections programs are sponsored by Dawnland, LLC, are offered in partnership with the Abbe Museum, and are free and open to the public.

The Cultural Connections programs at Acadia this summer are:

Fancy Basket Demonstration with Sarah Sockbeson, Penobscot
Wednesday, July 12, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Jordan Pond House Lawn, Acadia National Park

Sarah Sockbeson is one of several basketmakers who take Wabanaki traditions to a new level with their contemporary styles. A citizen of the Penobscot Indian Nation, Sockbeson apprenticed with basket maker Jennifer Neptune and combines contemporary elements such as painting and bone carving into her work. Known for her vivid color combinations and beautiful landscape paintings, Sarah will demonstrate the various steps within her artistic process.

Market Basket Demonstration with Gabriel Frey, Passamaquoddy
Wednesday, Aug. 16, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Jordan Pond House Lawn, Acadia National Park

Gabriel Frey, Passamaquoddy, comes from a long line of fancy and utility basket makers. He uses his family’s traditional knowledge and style to create beautifully woven, sturdily built utility baskets that can be used for a variety of purposes.

Talk and Storytelling with Dwayne Tomah, Passamaquoddy
Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Sieur de Mont Nature Center Patio, Acadia National Park

Dwayne Tomah, Passamaquoddy, will be hosting a talk and storytelling program regarding his work with the Passamaquoddy wax cylinders, which are the earliest known field recordings of Native Americans. These recordings, preserved on wax cylinders in 1890, include Passamaquoddy narratives, vocabulary, number lists, and songs. The Passamaquoddy Tribe and the Library of Congress have worked on restoring, digitizing, and revitalizing these recordings as digital repatriation.

Flintknapping Demonstration with Chris Sockalexis, Penobscot
Wednesday, Sept. 6, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Jordan Pond House Lawn, Acadia National Park

Chris Sockalexis, Penobscot, is the tribal historic preservation officer for the Penobscot Nation and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Maine with his primary focus being on Maine Archaeology. A flintknapper with knowledge of the ancient art and technique of stone and bone tool production, Chris is currently conducting research for his Masters of Science degree at the University of Maine Climate Change Institute. An Abbe Museum board member, he is also an avid canoe/kayak paddler who loves being out in the Maine woods and on the waterways that his ancestors have traveled for thousands of years.

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