ELLSWORTH, Maine, May 18, 2015 – The Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) invites the public to hear its recommendations during a forum at the Portland Public Library on Wed., May 27, 5:30 p.m.
“The Mandate and Beyond: Recommendations of the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare TRC” will take place in the Rines Auditorium of the Main Library. Light refreshments 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 fourth in a series of five public forums the TRC is holding across the state. The group is also meeting with tribal communities and other stakeholders.
Attendees will be invited to make comments and ask questions. This dialogue 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 Portland 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.
“From the beginning, individuals in southern Maine have actively supported this truth and reconciliation effort. The TRC Commissioners and I are looking forward to bringing our preliminary findings and recommendations to Portland, and engaging with citizens about improving Native child welfare in the State of Maine,” said TRC Executive Director Charlotte Bacon.
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.