ELLSWORTH, Maine – April 17, 2013 – The Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) has taken the first step in its initial phase of operation with the hire of an executive director. Formed by a historic agreement between Wabanaki Tribal Governments and the State of Maine the commission is tasked with the mission to uncover and acknowledge the truth about what happened to Wabanaki children and families involved with the Maine Child Welfare system, create opportunities to heal and learn from the truth, and collaborate to operate the best child welfare system possible for Wabanaki children.
Joining the commission, Maine resident Heather Martin has accepted the position of executive director and began in her official capacity on April 15, 2013. Through her work with families in transition, community radio, grassroots organizing and civil justice as well as her continued study in conflict resolution, Martin, a graduate of College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, has crafted a career based in the hands-on exploration of what makes a healthy, vibrant community.
“I am deeply honored and excited to join the TRC in this role,” Martin said. “My children and I have been following the TRC process since the signing of the Declaration of Intent in May of 2011. I believe in this work, the power of healing and the potential for real social change.”
The TRC has decided to open its office in downtown Ellsworth, and Heather will be busy making the space a home for the Commissioners and staff, and a welcome place for Maine and Tribal citizens. There is much work to do to establish the operating procedures and systems necessary for the TRC to begin its work. The Commission began its search for an executive director as soon as they were officially sworn in during a ceremony on Feb. 12, 2013, in Hermon, Maine.
Commissioner Gail Werrbach said, “We were fortunate to receive such an overwhelming response to the position announcement, it was encouraging to know that so many exceptionally qualified, passionate folks were interested in being part of this very important work.”
Under the Mandate document, the Commission has 27 months from the date of its first meeting to complete its work with the possibility of petitioning the six governments for an extension of up to six more months.
Martin will be joined by other staff in the coming months as the Commission assembles their team. Photo available on request.
For more information:
Call Maine Wabanaki TRC at (207) 664-0280