Gedakina co-organizes and supports Community Activities and Events, including:
Educational Programs- Our educational programs have been growing by leaps and bounds. Our children need to have teachers that have a clear mind and open heart to hear and understand their untold story. In an effort to help educators and ultimately our children from being bullied we have focused on curriculum. Working to help meet the standard of teaching Ethnic Studies in Vermont we have worked with numerous school districts and completed teacher trainings on a multitude of Indigenous topics.
In Maine we have worked with the Portland School district to create a new unit of study that aligns with LD 291. We have also worked with the Friends of the Presumpscot River to create a third-grade curriculum that will allow the students to study the Presumpscot watershed from all perspectives. Here too we were able to reach into many communities with the One-Shelf Project. While at Indian Township and Pleasant Point we’ve been able to build their libraries with amazing books.
Massachusetts and Connecticut have also benefited from both our teacher trainings and our One-Shelf Project.
We hope to continue to help our children by educating their teachers and providing amazing books and opportunities where they can see faces like theirs looking back at them in a positive way. Our goals are to provide opportunities where our children to be nurtured and become proud of their history and culture while educating their teachers at the same time.
Food from the Heart and Land- Heather Augustine has been working her gardens since last March. Planning, organizing, connecting with the land; Heather has been able to help so many families during these troubling times by providing fresh food for those in her Braiding Sweetgrass group and beyond during the summer. Heather has also preserved much of the food from the gardens. Dehydrating, freezing, and canning have been on her agenda for the last six months. Developing relationships and collaborating, she now delivers a weekly box of food including fish, duck, eggs, vegetables and fruit and baking supplies to nearly fifty families throughout Southern Maine. Her smiling face and empathy are as welcome as the food.
One Shelf Project– 2020 marked the birth of The One Shelf Project, a Giveaway of culturally relevant, historically accurate, and high-quality traditional literature and educational materials to school districts, community culture centers, and libraries serving children across New England and Upstate NY. This year’s selection included 50+ books for K-12 as well as Teacher Resources. We hope to make this an annual event in the future.
Passamaquoddy Ancestor Paddle – an annual community paddle from Indian Township to Pleasant Point reservations in Maine. In 2015 Gedakina’s role transitioned from being a partner, to leading this critically important event due to tribal politics.
Penobscot Language Immersion Gathering, 2016 – a two-day language immersion gathering led by speakers of Maliseet, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot dialects of the Wabanaki language. Co-organized with the Penobscot Nation Department of Cultural and Historical Preservation. Due to the success of this year’s gathering we are working with language keepers to conduct gatherings on a quarterly basis for 2017.
Wabanaki Spring Social – 2021 will represent the 24th year of the largest community social gathering in Maine for Wabanaki people, co-led by Gedakina and Wabanaki Health & Wellness. Gedakina cofounders and Guiding Council members helped create this important community event as a way to check in on community members, especially Elders, after Maine’s hard winters, and as a way to support cultural continuance for Wabanaki people from New England, southern Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces. Over 750 community members attend annually.
Youth Fishing Initiative – In an effort to promote food sovereignty and with the help of The Bay and Paul Foundations, we gifted each of our youth with a fishing pole and supplies. We then taught them how to collect night crawlers and safely remove fish from the hook. In addition they learned a strong value of helping to provide food for their family, got some great exercise, and developed the pride and independence that comes with learning a new skill.
Additionally, Gedakina regularly collaborates with community-based organizations, social justice centers, colleges and universities on educational and awareness building events, including discussion panels, symposia, speakers and films. Recently we co-sponsored RISE UP! spoken word events, the Sing Our River Red (SORR) exhibit, panels on Decolonization, Environmental Justice, and Place-based History, as well as presentations by Indigenous academic and community scholars. In spring 2016 we will be collaborating on a TEK symposium with Amherst College and Five College Native and Indigenous Studies.