Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness hosts Greenlandic and Alaskan indigenous colleagues

Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 4:35 PM EDT
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MILLINOCKET, Maine (WABI) - Connecting with Wabanaki culture and community - that was the goal of Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness Thursday.

They welcomed a group from Greenland and Alaska with the help of University of Southern Maine’s Department of Tourism and Hospitality.

“This region is a healing place. It’s a magical place and we want to share that,” said Lisa Sockabasin, Co-CEO of Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness.

“We brought our friends from Greenland and Alaska around the coast of Maine. They got to experience lobstering and eating a lobster and all the wonderful things we have in Portland. But to drive up here is to find peace that you find nowhere else,” explained Tracy Michaud, Assistant Professor of Tourism and Hospitality at the University of Southern Maine.

The day started at Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness’ Healing Lodge - a place that serves as a cultural refuge for those in their community looking for guidance and support on their road to recovery.

It has been a dream of tribal leaders for years.

“What we know is connection to our properties, to our land, to our culture, is healing to our people,” said Sockabasin. “This is an opportunity with these visits and the tour to share what we know heals; our culture, our land, and our relationships.”

The group then traveled to the Gathering Place - a 50-acre property located on the banks of the Penobscot River.

“It holds our food. We have a 70-foot greenhouse. We have a medicine walk trail for people to learn about our traditional medicines,” said Sockabasin.

Local businesses participated too, helping support a Cultural Tourism plan for the Katahdin region.

That plan incorporates land-based activities, arts and crafts, history and so much more into a visitor’s experience.

Cultural tourism planning began earlier this year thanks to the help of faculty and students at the University of Southern Maine’s Tourism and Hospitality Program.

A partnership both the Wabanaki and USM (University of Southern Maine) hope to grow.

“I’m thankful that we’ve been welcomed onto Wabanaki territory,” said Michaud. “They reached out to hand a friendship despite the generations of hardships that we’ve imposed on them, and so thankful for the continual learning that we have together.”

Click here to learn more about Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness.

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