Planting Seeds of Decolonization
Excerpt - REACH 2017 Winter Newsletter
Maine Wabanaki REACH is locally and organically grown. We began as a collaboration of Wabanaki and Maine child welfare workers and we have developed into a broader network of Wabanaki and Maine people. We began providing educational programs to offer a context for the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Quickly communities began to ask for more; more information, more understanding of how to move forward, and more time in community working together. One project led to another. Responding to communities created new opportunities that were as varied as the communities are.
In Wabanaki communities, REACH supports gatherings where people share their knowledge, skills and experience. In Maine State prisons, we offer healing circles for Wabanaki prisoners. In Maine communities, we offer workshops and presentations to help Mainers understand the relationship of Maine and tribal peoples and consider how to move toward a new relationship. Even as we make room for learning that is specific to communities, we are creating opportunities for us all to learn together with great speakers and interactive events.
Although our strategies may change, our goal has been constant: to support Wabanaki self-determination. Our model is fair trade. Through our interactions with you all, we adapt our programming. This flexibility has provided room for wonderful creativity and mixing of skills as reflected in the variety of projects and collaborations such as restorative justice work, healing work with native herbs and the Exploring Wabanaki Maine History – an interactive learning exercise.
One of the great pleasures of our work is to see communities move forward. It is like sharing seeds and then watching a completely new garden grow. Healing work and medicinal gardens, film showings and study groups, youth leadership and history study – all around Wabanaki and Maine people are inviting their community to learn with them. Inspired after a REACH program, they are bringing together their own great skills and connections to create change in their communities.
In 2017, there were over 1800 participants in REACH learning and healing activities. We are glad we had time with so many of you and we look forward to more. Our motto has been truth, healing, and change. In 2018, we will continue this work with particular focus on how decolonization offers us the framework for change and can guide us in taking action. Do you want REACH’s help to work towards truth, healing, and change in your community? Do you want to know what we are up to near you? Let us know. You can reach us through our website www.mainewabanakireach.org.
To view the full REACH 2017 Newsletter visit this link: REACH 2017 Winter Newsletter