Ritual, Tradition and Feminine Intuition among the Wabanaki of Maine and the Canadian Maritimes
In this presentation, four Wabanaki Women, representing the Penobscot Nation, Passamaquoddy Tribe, and the Mi’ kmaq and Maliseet First Nations, will discuss the impact of ritual in their lives. Ritual plays a role in nearly all aspects of tribal life. It connects us to our history and helps us to propel ourselves into the future. In this panel discussion, we will look at the ways that ritual helps to support our connection to a traditional and cultural way of life, as tribal members and as women. We will also look at the ways that ritual can interfere with our intuition and our traditional role of maintaining and nurturing a connection to the divine.
The panel will consist of an Indigenous Rights Attorney and activist from the Penobscot Nation, an educator and Mi’kmaq elder in residence from St. Thomas University, a traditional elder, ceremonial leader and teacher from the Passamaquoddy Tribe, and the Director of the Maliseet Nation Conservation Council. Each panelist will discuss how ritual plays a role in balancing personal and professional roles within their respective communities. Thus, we will discuss the many ways that ritual intersects and defines the roles of women within Wabanaki tribal communities.
Patricia Saulis – Maliseet
Patricia Saulis is Maliseet from the Maliseet Nation at Tobique. She is a mother, sister, aunt, great aunt, cousin. She was raised in the Catholic tradition, but as an adult ascribes to universal understandings of creation, living and being. Patricia is currently serving her Nation as the Executive Director of the Maliseet Nation Conservation Council, addressing issues connected to the watershed, aquatic relations and the marine life. Speaking on behalf of those without voice is important to her as a woman and encouraging women to sing their ancestral songs is how she sees empowering our women to reclaim their voice and spirituality.
Miigam’ agan – Mi’ Kmaq
Miigam’agan is a Mi’kmaw traditional teacher and spiritual leader from Esgenoopetitj, New Brunswick, Canada. She is the mother of three, and grandmother of three. Her life-work has been dedicated to supporting empowerment for women, youth, families and communities, while preserving and teaching Wabanaki culture and spirituality. Miigam’ agan has participated in countless councils, commissions and circles throughout the U.S. and Canada, addressing issues related to empowerment of Indigenous women and the promotion and preservation of the traditional Wabanaki way of life. She is currently an Elder in Residence at St. Thomas University, in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
Sherri Mitchell – Penobscot
Sherri is an Indigenous rights attorney, writer, speaker and teacher. She has been an advocate for Indigenous Rights for more than 20 years. She was a participant in the American Indian Ambassador program, and the Udall Native American Congressional Internship program. In 2010, she received the Mahoney Dunn International Human Rights and Humanitarian Award, for research into Human Rights violations against Indigenous Peoples, and she is the 2015 recipient of the Spirit of Maine Award, for commitment and excellence in the field of International Human Rights. She was a longtime advisor to the American Indian Institute’s Healing the Future Program and currently serves as an advisor to the Indigenous Elders’ and Medicine People’s Council of North and South America. Sherri is the founding Director of the Land Peace Foundation, an organization committed to the protection of Indigenous territories and the preservation of the Indigenous way of life. She teaches workshops throughout the U.S and Canada on building Nonviolent Indigenous Rights Movements that are based on traditional Wabanaki teachings and values.
Joanna Dana & Brenda Dana Lozada – Passamaquoddy
Joanna Dana is a Clan Mother of the Bear Clan. She is a respected elder and spiritual leader of the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township. She is known for her ceremonial knowledge, but also for her gentleness and incredibly loving heart. Brenda Dana-Lozada is Joanna’s daughter and a keeper of ceremonial knowledge and teacher. She is a Passamaquoddy language teacher at the Indian Township School.