By: Emma J. Walsh, Staff Writer
The Elliotsville Foundation recently returned 735 acres of ancestral land to the Penobscot Nation. The land includes the sacred headwaters of the Pleasant River, which is a tributary to the Penobscot River. The surrounding acres of this land is already owned by the Penobscot Tribe.
The Elliotsville Foundation was created by the family of Roxanne Quimby, conservationist, and founder of Burt’s Bees. Quimby’s son Lucas St. Clair, President of Elliotsville Plantation, Inc. said he wanted to work to bring justice to the indigenous communities in Maine.
“While this is not the start or the end of a long journey of reparation, it is what I can do now and what I hope to do more of while encouraging others to join us,” he told the Associated Press.
William Johnson, Director of Intercultural Student Engagement, speaks of this commendable and praise-worthy act, saying, “It is the understanding and acknowledgment of past injustice combined with humility and deliberate action. The lesson that is at the core of this return of ancestral land is that it is our job to do what we can to heal our nation holistically.”
Johnson continues, “The Elliotsville Foundation took a step forward in building bridges between themselves and the Penobscot Nation and have set a new standard for all of us to aspire to. It’s all about what we are able and willing to give to others in order to heal our state, our nation, and the world at large. Hopefully, many others will follow in Elliotsville Foundation’s footsteps.”
USM has also been focusing on the education of some of the struggles of Indigenous people with Convocation and a panel titled, Indigenous Peoples: Recognizing and Repairing Harms of Colonized Systems.
The Convocation will help the University further its mission to build upon its four pillars of academic excellence by engaging Maine’s Indigenous communities, academics, museums, artists, researchers, and social workers to collectively work together to help heal the wounds of colonialism.
If you are interested in supporting the Penobscot Nation, we encourage you to join the Native American Student Alliance at USM.