Native American Heritage on Display at Annual Festival

BAR HARBOR, ME (WABI) Folks in Bar Harbor got to experience a little taste of history.

The annual Native American Festival and Basketmakers market brought music, dance, and a lesson in culture to Downeast Maine.

"You know Maine a lot of times doesn't really know much about indigenous population so it's a wonderful gathering of artisans and drummers and sharing."

Each handcrafted item represents the beauty and culture of the Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot people.

For many visitors it's a chance to meet artists and learn about contemporary Wabanaki art from the Maritimes.

"It's a wonderful thing to see each other and share our music with them. We are a strong part of Maine history and we would like to bring that back."

Many artisans travel hundreds of miles for this festival every year.

Like Limestone native, Eldon Hanning.

"There's an old saying. if you do something you like, you're not working. so I like it so I'm not working."

Hanning grew up basket making in Aroostook County.

He specializes in sturdy work baskets including the potato basket, which was used at one time to hand harvest potato crops.

"I come down to sell the baskets and I get to look at all the people that's around here and people watch."

Hanning is also a member of the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance.

An organization founded in 1993 in hopes to preserve the art of basketmaking within the Wabanaki communities.

Through 20 years of educations programs and festivals, the MIBA has increased membership and passed down traditions for many generations to come.

For Hanning, it's a joy to see someone's face light up every time they see one of his baskets.

"It gives me a new perspective on all that what I do and then I go home and say or we'll talk and say oh, did you see the way this one reacted or did you see the way this one reacted?"