ELLSWORTH and OLD TOWN, Maine, Sept. 10, 2014 – Days of Reflection, Prayer and Meditation will be held Sept. 11-12 to coincide with Statement Gathering in Machias for child welfare and legal workers, parents and guardians, and then Sept. 14-15 for the Passamaquoddy communities of Motahkomikuk and Sipayik. These Statement Gatherings are private and not open to the public.
During this time, the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) joins Maine-Wabanaki REACH in asking individuals across Wabanaki and Maine communities to take a moment to pause in honor and solidarity with this historic process. Individuals are also asked to share thoughts, comments and wishes for participants on the TRC and REACH Facebook and Twitter pages.
With the support of REACH, the TRC will be in Machias to gather statements from individuals and professionals who have had any experience with Wabanaki children and families involved in the Maine child welfare system. These perspectives are needed to obtain a clear and comprehensive understanding of the truth.
Child welfare professionals, as well as adoptive, foster and kinship parents, are needed because of their important perspectives within the system on the needs of the children for whom they provided care. Also needed are Guardians ad Litem, members of the legal community and others involved in child welfare.
The TRC process is not intended to find blame, but rather to understand what Wabanaki people experienced and how those experiences impacted them. Simply, the goals of the Commission are to recognize the truth, create opportunities for healing and bring forth recommendations for future change. Participation in this process is needed and of great value to change the narrative, moving forward.
This Statement Gathering is part of a series of events planned across the state. Those who have had experiences, big or small, with children in the child welfare system, are asked to contact REACH Community Organizers Barbara Kates at (207) 947-6858 or Tom Reynolds at (207) 783-7421 for more information.
Then, on Sunday and Monday, the TRC joins REACH as they return to the Passamaquoddy communities of Motahkomikuk and Sipayik to gather statements about State child welfare experiences.
The next planned observance of Days of Reflection, Prayer and Meditation is Oct. 15 to coincide with Statement Gathering with the Aroostook Band of Micmacs.
The Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) addresses truths of Wabanaki experiences with child welfare to promote healing and change. It’s the nation’s first TRC to address child welfare and Native people.
Maine-Wabanaki REACH is a cross-cultural collaborative that promotes best child welfare practice through reconciliation, engagement, advocacy, change and healing activities for and between Wabanaki and Maine citizens, communities and governments.