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March 24, 2006
Contact: Doug Dunbar
Phone: 626-8404

Secretary of State Dunlap Announces Winners of
Native American History and Culture Essay Contest

First and Second Place Finishers to Visit Capitol  

AUGUSTA, MAINE – Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap announced the winners of Maine’s First Annual Native American History and Culture Essay Contest on Friday, and congratulated more than 100 students from throughout the state who took part in this inaugural project.

Dedicated to the memory of former Passamaquoddy Chief Melvin Francis, the contest was open to students in both middle and high schools.   It required them to explore Maine native history and write an essay of between 500-1000 words. To assist students and educators, the Secretary of State’s office offered educational materials and resources through a special website.

Participants were free to select a topic, but suggestions were offered, including the history of Native American diplomacy, relations between tribes, relations with European settlers, Native American economics, the migrations of Native American peoples or effects of treaties with European settlers.

Secretary of State Dunlap noted that Maine law (MRSA 20-A, Section 4706 provides opportunities for Maine students to learn about Maine’s Native Americans. He explained that this essay competition gave students an opportunity to share and showcase what they’ve learned in an important area of study.

Essays were reviewed by a panel of expert judges who selected a winner and runner up in both the middle and high school categories.   First place finishers will receive a $250 savings bond; second place contestants will receive a $100 savings bond. All first and second place winners have been invited to bring their class to Augusta.

Students will tour the State House, the State Museum, and the State Archives--where they will 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 public.

“In dedicating this contest to Passamaquoddy Chief Melvin Francis, we honor an individual who worked hard to make life better for his people—especially children and students. He was devoted to his community and dedicated to the work of creating opportunities for all individuals. We hope his example of public service will foster interest in the Native American experience and instill a sense of civic duty in others,” Secretary Dunlap commented.

“Congratulations to everyone who took part, and many thanks to our judges—Donna Loring , Lee Ann Francis and Jim Henderson. Interest in this first annual competition was strong, and many outstanding entries were received. I’m pleased to announce the winners, and I look forward to recognizing their achievement during upcoming ceremonies in Augusta” Dunlap added.

Complete details about the contest are available online at Information about first and second place finishers is listed on the next page, along with details about their visits to Augusta.  Please note the dates and times of the press conferences and award ceremonies.



Secretary of State’s First Annual
Native American History and Culture Essay Contest  

First and Second Place Entries

High School and Middle School  

Press Conference/Award Ceremony Schedule

First Place High School Winner, Scott Stilphen
Brunswick High School, 11th Grade
Essay Title:   Treaties with the Wabanakis: A One Way Street
PRESS CONFERENCE/AWARD CEREMONY:   Monday, March 27th, 3:00 p.m.
Maine State Archives Conference Room

Second Place High School Finisher,  Jessica Turcotte
Poland Regional High School, 10th Grade
Essay Title:   Passamaquoddy and Penobscot Relations with European Settlers
PRESS CONFERENCE/AWARD CEREMONY: Thursday, March 30th, 11:00 a.m.
Maine State Archives Foyer

First Place Middle School Winner, Alysha Michaud
Massabesic Junior High School (Waterboro), 8th Grade
Essay Title:   Don't You Wish You Had A Magic Wand?
PRESS CONFERENCE/AWARD CEREMONY:   Wednesday, April 5th, 1:00 p.m.
Maine State Archives Foyer

Second Place Middle School Finisher, Alexis Servidio
St. Joseph's School (Lewiston), 6th Grade
Essay Title:    The Government Structure of Native Americans in the State of Maine