Workshop: Wabanaki Culture and Collections

  • 25 Jul 2019
  • 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
  • Center for Moosehead History, Greenville
  • 48


  • MAM members can log in (blue button at the top of the page) to register at this discounted price. If you're not already a member of MAM, join now to get this discount!

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Wabanaki Culture and Collections:

Interpreting Native Histories and Artifacts from a Decolonized Perspective

Learn first-hand how to interpret and present Maine's indigenous stories and artifacts from a Wabanaki perspective.

Leaders from the Abbe Museum and the Penobscot Nation Department of Cultural and Historic Preservation will present best practices in the interpretation of story content and the care of collections from a decolonized point of view.

Jodi DeBruyne, the Abbe Museum’s Director of Collections & Research, will focus on the interpretation of Native American content and care of collections.

Starr Kelly, the Abbe Museum’s Curator of Education, presents “Can We Decolonize Educational Spaces?  A Critical Look at Colonization in the Classroom and Museums.” She will actively engage participants in learning about settler colonialism and the ways it shows up in classroom and museum spaces. She will lead several activities on identifying how settler colonialism and empire building is glorified, then present strategies she has developed to question the legitimacy of colonization, and the beginning of a framework for decolonizing education.

James Eric Francis, Sr., Penobscot Nation Historian and Director of the Cultural & Historic Preservation Dept., presents “A Penobscot Sense of Place.” Sense of Place provides perspective about the Penobscot’s relationship to the Maine landscape, including Penobscot Chief Joseph Attean and guide Joseph Polis’s relationship to naturalist writer Henry David Thoreau.

"Wabanaki" refers collectively to five Indian tribes in Maine: Abenaki, Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Maliseet, and Micmac. All but the Abenaki are recognized by the US Government as sovereign nations and are banded together under the Wabanaki confederacy.


10:00AM – 10:15AM: Introduction by Suzanne M. AuClair, Director, Moosehead Historical Society & Museums 

10:15AM – 11:15AMJodi DeBruyne, Director of Collections and Research, Abbe Museum

11:15AM – 12:15PMStarr Kelly, Curator of Education, Abbe Museum

12:15PM – 1:15PM: Catered lunch provided (many choices available, including vegetarian and gluten-free options)

1:15PM – 2:15PM: James E. Francis, Sr., Director, Cultural and Historic Preservation Department, Penobscot Nation

2:15PM – 2:30PM: Break

2:30PM – 3:00PM: Concluding remarks

Your Presenters

Jodi DeBruyne, Director Collections and Research, Abbe Museum
Jodi holds a BA in art history from Old Dominion University and an MA in museum studies from Johns Hopkins University. Prior to coming to the Abbe, she was Curator of Collections and Exhibits at the Juneau-Douglas Citv Museum in Alaska. There, she was responsible for the care and management of the Museum’s art, photographs, artifacts & archives. She also managed an intensive exhibit schedule that included a multi-year realignment & update to the permanent galleries so they became more inclusive and representative of the Juneau community.

Starr Kelley, Curator of Education, Abbe Museum
Her responsibilities focus on education through dialogue in a decolonizing context. Starr leads the museum’s education and public programs work, including program development and delivery, teacher training, and educational resource development. She is a member of the Algonquin First Nation of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg in Quebec. Starr has worked as a middle and high school social studies teacher, and is a social justice oriented educator, developing what she refers to as a "curriculum for dignity." Her lessons and pedagogical approach put theory into practice by honoring those she teaches about, while simultaneously creating an environment that is responsive to the needs of her learners and dignifies her students' lived experiences. Starr is committed to language and cultural revitalization efforts in Indigenous communities. She is a board member of the Maine Archives and Museums and is committed to deepening the conversation around museum education.

James Eric Francis, Sr., Tribal Historian and Director of the Penobscot Nation Department of Cultural and Historic Preservation 
ames is an accomplished researcher, photographer, filmmaker, and graphics artist with an interest in the relationship between Maine Native Americans and the landscape. Prior to working at the Penobscot Nation, he worked for the Wabanaki Studies Commission, helping implement the new Maine Native American Studies law into schools and has managed a team of teachers and cultural experts in developing curriculum. He is pursuing an Intermedia Masters of Fine Arts at the University of Maine

The Venue

This event will be held at office of the Center for Moosehead History, 6 Lakeview St, East Cove, downtown Greenville.

Parking: There are parking spaces directly in front of The Center for Moosehead History, with additional public parking across the street, on Pritham Ave.  All parking is free.

Accessibility: The 2nd floor hall of The Center for Moosehead History, where the conference will be held, is not wheelchair accessible. 

Bathrooms: The bathroom is a non-gendered single room located on the ground floor, just inside the entrance to the Center.


Online registration will be open through Friday, July 19. To register after this date, call Suzanne AuClair at 207-695-2909. The fee for MAM members is $30.  Non-members pay $40.

Due to space limitations, this workshop is limited to 70 participants. Register early to reserve your space!

Members of MAM enjoy discounted registration (MAM members must log in first). If you're not a MAM member, join today!

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