As this year’s recipient of the Douglas Evelyn Scholarship for Minority Professionals, I was excitedly anticipating my first time at the AASLH Annual Meeting. As a member of the Passamaquoddy Tribe and Museum Educator at the Abbe Museum, I was particularly excited about the partnership between AASLH and the Association for Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums. There is only one way to describe my experience at this year’s annual meeting; the sum of its parts was far greater than I ever could have expected.
Not only was I surrounded by people who, like me, have a passion for history and education, but the workshops and sessions I attended left me inspired and exhilarated. What was most exciting, from my own perspective, was learning how willing other organizations are to partner with Native communities to present alternative historical perspectives. Not only are other organizations willing to collaborate—they want to! The hard truth to accept is that history organizations, in general, do not have a positive image within Indian Country, and it truly warmed my heart to see so many people working to change that image.
One of the oldest stories in my tribe speaks to our people’s responsibility to help the sun rise, by living our lives in such a way that others are uplifted through the work that we do. Certainly, there is still much work to do be done in our field, but one thing is certain: it is a new dawn in the world of historical interpretation, and I am thrilled to be able to watch that sun peek over the horizon. To the people I met, and even those that I didn’t: thank you for doing your part to help the sun rise, and for helping me to do mine.
Kci woliwon-Many Thanks.
George Neptune, Passamaquoddy at Indian Township
Museum Educator, Abbe Museum
Bar Harbor, Maine