Friday, April 20, 2012

Berwick Academy to Host Passamaquoddy Tribe Members for Earth Day Events

Donald Soctomah and Chief Joseph Socobasin of the Passamaquoddy Tribe in Washington County, Maine will visit Berwick Academy this Friday, April 20 to help the community celebrate Earth Day. Soctomah and the Chief will speak at the annual assembly, which will be held outside in front of the Commons Building on campus from 8:30 – 9:15am. They will speak about what Earth Day means to them and their tribe as well as the idea of Mother Earth. The assembly is an all-school event, which is organized by the Middle and Upper School Green Committees, and will also include student speeches and musical performances.
Soctomah and Chief Socobasin will remain on campus for the day to visit with classes. In third grade, they will speak to students about the Native American culture, which coincides with a unit the children are currently learning. In the eighth grade, they will discuss the book, “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian”, which the students read this year. In the Upper School, they will meet with an art class to discuss Native American crafts, a music class to discuss Native American music, and a history class for a general discussion on the Native American culture and history of the Passamaquoddy tribe.
Donald Soctomah serves as the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Passamaquoddy Tribe. He is the tribal historian and former Tribal Representative to the Maine State Legislature. He has appeared and advised on ten films which explore the history of the Passamaquoddy Tribe, including National Public Television, Animal Planet, Canadian Broadcasting, Maine Public TV and a jointly produced film with the Environmental Protection Agency titled “Our Relatives Place”. Donald is also an author of eight tribal history books which include one that won the National Multi-cultural Award for children’s books, titled “Remember Me: A Story about the Relationship of Chief Tomah Joseph and Franklin Roosevelt”. Additionally, he has produced several music CDs of Passamaquoddy music.
Chief Joseph Socobasin has served as chief, or Sakom, on the Passamaquoddy Tribe since 2010. As chief, he is the Head Executive and Administrator of all Indian Township tribal programs, including Health Service, Fire & Police, Education, Utilities, Infrastructure, Education, and Housing. He is also the head tribal representative for interactions with state and federal government agencies. The Passamaquoddy Tribe has nearly 6,000 members in the individual Tribal Councils of Indian Township, in Princeton, and at the Pleasant Point Reservation (Sipayik) in Perry, Maine.
Photo caption: Berwick Academy Students sport homemade Earth Day hats while assembled for Earth Day in 2011. (Courtesy photo of Berwick Academy's website)