Barry Dana Courtesy photo

The former chief of the Penobscot Nation will bring the art of basketmaking to Brunswick students as part of the Arts are Elementary program in May and June.

The longtime educator and cultural preservationist will lead a free public forum from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 22, in the Morrell Room at the Curtis Memorial Library. In addition, Dana will visit with Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary School fifth graders in May and June.

Chief Dana was raised learning traditional skills and values from tribal elders. In addition to being a professional basket maker, he also teaches students about Wabanaki art and culture all over the state. Dana will lead each fifth grade class in a discussion about Wabanaki art and culture linking the conversation to the students’ colonization curriculum.

“Thank you to Arts are Elementary for providing all of our fifth grade students the opportunity to learn firsthand from Former Chief Dana about Wabanaki culture and art,” said Phillip J. Potenziano, Brunswick’s superintendent of schools. ” Helping our students learn about the impact of colonization on native cultures is essential. Learning directly from Chief Dana will have a deep and lasting impact on these students.”

One teacher commented about last year’s program, “Barry Dana set the tone for the students, shared his real experiences in so many aspects, including his ancestors. He came to share the culture of the Wabanaki, but most importantly, he provoked student thinking about a very different view than what children have normally been exposed to. This is exactly the kind of experiences we should be bringing to our future generation.”

Since 1980, Arts Are Elementary has worked in partnership with local schools to provide every public classroom in Brunswick’s public elementary schools with professional artist residencies.

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