The Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village is hosting its 14th annual Wabanaki Marketplace on Saturday. Mary Creighton of the Passamaquoddy Tribe dances to a song called Tutuwas at a previous rendition of the event. Courtesy of the United Society of Shakers

The Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village in New Gloucester is hosting its 14th annual Wabanaki Marketplace on Saturday for the first time since 2019 after a three-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Typically home to just the two remaining Shakers, the village will become a temporary home for Wabanaki artists to gather, sell their work and share their traditions.

Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Micmac and Maliseet artists will be selling traditional crafts, including ash and sweetgrass basketry, beadwork, birch bark etchings, wood carving, jewelry and handmade dolls. Alongside the market, there will be basket-making and bead-working demonstrations, storytelling and a performance by the Penobscot Nation’s Burnurwurbskek Singers.

The market is in part inspired by a meeting of communities working to preserve their traditions.

“We see so many parallels with folks in the Wabanaki community who are working to persevere different customs and traditional arts and folkways – these are at risk,” said Michael Graham, director of the Shaker Village. “The Shakers can relate to that as being another living culture in Maine that is changing over time and seeing traditions that were once vibrant be harder and harder to preserve.”

The marketplace, which Graham said is the largest gathering of Wabanaki artists in Maine, is also an opportunity for these communities reunite after three years on pause during the pandemic.


A basket by Passamaquoddy basketmaker Gal Frey at a previous Wabanaki gathering at Shaker Village in New Gloucester. Courtesy United Society of Shakers

“It’s so exciting to be returning to it. It’s wonderful to be out of that type of isolation and to be able to have the village be a place where people can come together again, because it’s a really important melting pot,” Graham said.

This is the first time that the Shakers and Wabanaki people are calling the event “the Wabanaki Marketplace.” In previous years, the event has been called “the Maine Native American Summer Market.” Graham was asked this year, however, to change the title of the event to a name that is informed by decolonization and impacts of the diaspora.

“The tribes that are here extend beyond Maine and into the maritime provinces in Canada,” Graham said. “We have a tendency to consider the Wabanaki people just in the state of Maine. Their communities happen to be divided not only by state but also by international boundaries. When you’re working with any culture, I think it’s so important to follow their lead and listen to their guidance.”

The Wabanaki Marketplace will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at 707 Shaker Road, New Gloucester.

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