With Indigenous Peoples Day approaching next month and the recent debate about how Brunswick depicts its history, local panelists will offer their expertise and engage with audience members next week about Indigeneity in Midcoast Maine.

Midcoast Indigenous Awareness Group will host “Many Voices: Who Gets to Tell the Story?,” a panel discussion to reflect on how Indigenous stories get told and by whom, from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28 at Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick.

“Maine has a very rich and complex colonial history,” said Maliseet panelist Mihku Paul, a writer and artist and member of the Kingsclear First Nation. “When we talk about Indigenous presence in the state, it’s important to connect the threads of the past to the present.”

The upcoming event was inspired by a recent debate surrounding a mural for Fort Andross in Brunswick meant to depict inclusion of all races with the town as a backdrop. Critics of the planned image said it ignored European colonization’s impact on the native Wabanaki peoples who relied on the Androscoggin River. Some changes to the design were made and the installation has been delayed until next year. 

“When we heard about the mural and saw the initial design, it was concerning,” Paul said.

The intention of the panel will be “to hold community space and consciousness around these issues of history and inclusion of Indigenous people,” she said. “It’s easy for us all to forget the richness and long-term impact of that lived history. The state of your community is very much in context with how it developed.”


The discussion in the Morrell Meeting Room at the library will be moderated by the Rev. Dr. H. Roy Partridge Jr., senior advisor to the president for Multi-Cultural Affairs Emeritus at Bowdoin College, and will feature local Indigenous activists and experts. There will be time for questions from the audience.

“The point of the panel is community conversation,” said Camilla Beate, one of the organizers. “The Indigenous past and present is some of the most invisible parts of our being.”

Paul said engaging in these conversations is “more than just an ethical good choice or doing the right thing. It has utility that is also critical for the future well-being of communities that are being impacted by multiple factors. More than ever we all need to have conversations about what matters and what is a good way to strengthen community.”

Paul and Beate also belong to the Pejepscot Portage Mapping Project, an ad hoc group working to uncover the Wabanaki landscape.

For more information on the event and its panelists, visit curtislibrary.com.

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