ELLSWORTH, Maine, May 26, 2015 – The Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) invites the public to hear its recommendations during a forum in Augusta on Mon., June 1, at noon.
“The Mandate and Beyond: Recommendations of the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare TRC” will take place in the atrium of the Cultural Building, which houses the Maine State Archives, Museum and Library, and is located adjacent to the State House. Light lunch will be served.
TRC Commissioner Carol Wishcamper and Executive Director Charlotte Bacon will discuss the process used in this truth and reconciliation effort – the first TRC within U.S. territory collaboratively developed between Indian nations and a state government. They will also review lessons learned from their research findings and offer their recommendations.
This is the last in a series of five public forums the TRC is holding across the state. It marks a return to Augusta, where the TRC Mandate was signed at the Maine State Capitol on June 29, 2012, by five Wabanaki Chiefs and Governor Paul LePage, endorsing this cross-cultural, collaborative effort to examine what happened, what is happening and what needs to happen with the Maine child welfare practices that affect Wabanaki people.
Attendees will be invited to make comments and ask questions. Dialogue from the public forums, along with meetings with tribal communities and other stakeholders, will help inform the TRC’s final report, due for release during the “Closing Ceremony of the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare TRC: Moving Forward with Truth, Healing and Change,” on Sun., June 14, in Hermon.
The TRC will be joined in Augusta by Esther Attean and Penthea Burns, co-directors of Maine-Wabanaki REACH, a cross-cultural collaborative that both created the TRC and will be ensuring that the Commission’s recommendations are considered and implemented. Attean and Burns will discuss the findings and identify ways people can get involved in continuing the work of truth, healing and change.
“We are looking forward to bringing our preliminary findings and recommendations to Augusta, the place where this first-in-the-nation process saw all of the signatories sit down together and sign the TRC Mandate in 2012,” said TRC Executive Director Charlotte Bacon. “The name, ‘The Mandate and Beyond,’ signifies that the work has just begun, and this is a key moment in time to foster continuing dialogue on tribal-state issues. We welcome community members, policymakers and other stakeholders to join us on this important day.”
REACH Community Organizer Barbara Kates said, “The TRC has drawn the attention of people from across Maine. Those of us who have worked in the child welfare system want to provide the best for the children and families we serve. Non-Native Mainers from all walks of life want to be part of the change in our relationship with Wabanaki people. We are coming forward to learn more about truth and reconciliation.”
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.