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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 20, 2005
Contact: Doug Dunbar
(207) 626-8404

Secretary of State Dunlap Announces Maine's
Native American History and Culture Essay Contest

AUGUSTA, MAINE – Citing the important role Native Americans have played in Maine history, and their ongoing contributions to our state's economy and way of life, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap has announced the establishment of Maine's First Annual Native American History and Culture Essay Contest.

Open to students in both middle and high schools, the contest calls on students to explore Maine native history and write an essay of between 500-1000 words. Through a newly created website, educational materials and resources are also offered. 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.

In making Tuesday's announcement, Secretary of State Dunlap noted that 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 will be reviewed by a panel of expert judges, who will select a winner and runner up in both the middle and high school categories. Each winner will receive a $250 savings bond, and his or her class will be invited to be my 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 vaults at the Archives and are rarely viewed. Precious records of this kind are not usually available to the general public.

“This educational program offers student and educators a special opportunity to study Native American history and enhance their appreciation for the substantial contributions native people have made in Maine and throughout the nation. I look forward to reading the essays and greeting this year's winners in Augusta,” Secretary Dunlap commented.

E ntries must be received by November 18, 2005. Application forms, complete details and educational materials are available online at www.state.me.us/sos/kids/nativeamerican/index.htm . Essays can be submitted by regular mail to: Office of the Secretary of State, State House Station 148, Augusta Maine, 04333 or e-mailed to SOS.Office@maine.gov .