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Maine Native American History & Culture Essay Contest

Entries are due on November 13, 2018

 

Given the important role Native Americans have played in Maine history, and their ongoing contributions to our state’s economy and way of life, the Secretary of State's Office is pleased to continue our Maine Native American History Essay Contest.

Open to students in Maine middle and high schools, this contest calls on students to explore at least one aspect of Maine Native American history, and then to write an essay of between 500-1000 words. Topics may include, but are not limited to, the history of Native American diplomacy, relations between the tribes, relations with European settlers, aspects of Native American economics, the migrations of Native American peoples or effects of treaties with European settlers.

Maine law (MRSA 20-A Sec. 4706) provides opportunities for Maine students to learn about Maine’s Native Americans. This essay competition is designed to give students an opportunity to share and showcase what they’ve learned in a fascinating area of study.

Essays are reviewed by a panel of judges, who will select a winner and runner up in both the middle and high school categories. Both winners and his or her class will be invited to be the Secretary of State's guest for a day in Augusta.

Students will tour the State House, the State Museum, and the State Archives--where they will be able to view Maine’s original treaties with Native peoples and original field books of the early European explorers. These documents are kept in our vaults at the Archives and are rarely viewed. Precious records of this kind are not usually available to the general public, so this is a very special opportunity.

 

Comment from a winning classroom teacher:

We have included this contest in our plans for several years now.  Since L.D. 291 states that Maine Native American history and culture be taught in all elementary and secondary schools, why not incorporate this essay contest into lesson plans? 

Thank you for a great day at the State Capitol, museum, and archives.   Thank you for sponsoring this contest every year.  We have included this contest in our plans for several years now.  Since L.D. 291 states that Maine Native American history and culture be taught in all elementary and secondary schools, why not incorporate this essay contest into lesson plans?  Our students research Maine Native American history and culture, and can focus on an aspect of that culture that is interesting to them.  It's a win-win--the students learn about Maine Native Americans, improve their research, writing, and revising skills, and have a chance to have their work recognized by the Secretary of State.  It's a great opportunity and motivator.   ~  Helen Williams, Windsor Elementary School