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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is celebrating its one year anniversary



Post by Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission.


Today marks the One Year Anniversary of the Commissioners being seated. Happy Day to the TRC!
The Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is celebrating its one year anniversary! Created to uncover, document and explore the experiences of Wabanaki individuals with the state child welfare system, the TRC has spent this past year actively engaging with Wabanaki communities, DHHS workers and non-native community members from across the state.
Formally seated last February, the five Commissioners: Carol Wishcamper, gkisedtanamoogk, Sandy White Hawk, Matt Dunlap and Gail Werrbach, have been busy setting the Mandate into action. In addition to meeting the logistical needs of establishing a functioning TRC, the Commission has been visiting regularly with native communities to create working relationships and foster meaningful conversations. The TRC held its first official community listening session at Sipayik in November of 2013, and is scheduled to attend events at each of the remaining tribal communities and Wabanaki Health and Wellness before this year is out. Commissioners will also be attending private statement gathering sessions within communities and the TRC will be hosting several public events across the state.
In addition to facilitating structured truth commission listening sessions, the Commission has been actively working to promote understanding of the TRC and its process through events such as recent engagements with Justice Albie Sachs of South Africa and Commissioner gkisedtanamoogk's recent TEDx talk.
While it has been only one year since the five Commissioners were seated, there is an undeniable sense of urgency within the TRC. Under the formal Mandate signed in 2012 by all five tribal chiefs and the governor of the State of Maine, the Commission has just eighteen months remaining in which to complete its task. At the close of this time, a final report will be issued and disseminated across the state, summarizing the findings of the Commission as well as making formal recommendations. Despite the tight time frame, expectations are high. "It is a remarkable group," observed Commissioner Dunlap, "We have a lot to do, but certainly the right people to do it."
In carrying the work forward, the Commission continues to work closely with Maine Wabanaki REACH, a cross-cultural organization working to ensure that the voices of Wabanaki people are heard and their experiences respected.

For More Information, visit the website, www.MaineWabanakiTRC.org or their FaceBook page - or phone the office at 207. 664.0280.
Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare TRC is the nation's first TRC to address child welfare and native people - formerly Maine Tribal-State Child Welfare TRC
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Detailed discussion of the Bering Strait theory and other scientific theories about the population of the modern-day Americas is beyond the scope of this essay. However, it should be noted that Indian people have expressed suspicion that DNA analysis is a tool that scientists will use to support theories about the origins of tribal people that contradict tribal oral histories and origin stories. Perhaps more important,the alternative origin stories of scientists are seen as intending to weaken tribal land and other legal claims (and even diminish a history of colonialism?) that are supported in U.S. federal and tribal law. As genetic evidence has already been used to resolve land conflicts in Asian and Eastern European countries, this is not an unfounded fear.

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