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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 11, 2007
Contact: Matthew Dunlap
207-626-8400

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap Announces 2007
Native American History and Culture Essay Contest

AUGUSTA, ME—Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap announced on Thursday that submissions would be accepted for the Secretary of State’s 2007 Native American History and Culture Essay Contest. Begun in 2006, the contest emphasizes student explorations in Native American history and culture.

“Maine citizens probably aren’t as familiar with their Native American neighbors as they might think,” Dunlap said. “The Penobscot Nation, Passamaquoddy Tribe, MicMacs and Maliseets are our friends, coworkers and neighbors. But many people don’t realize that Androscoggin, Kennebec, Norridgewock and other names aren’t just counties, rivers, and towns, they also represent Native American tribes that lived and flourished in Maine, and these peoples have always been a huge factor in the development of the state’s history.”

In making the 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.

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 website, educational materials and resources are also offered. Students are encouraged also to pursue any facet of Maine Native American history that fascinates them.

Essays will be reviewed by a panel of judges, who will include the Penobscot Nation’s Indian Island School educator Lee Francis, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Deputy Commissioner and Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission member Paul Jacques, and Passamaquoddy Legislative Representative Donald Soctomah. Secretary Dunlap will also participate. Each winner will receive a savings bond, and his or her class and family will be invited to be a guest of the Secretary of State 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 explorers, as well as many other fascinating documents of Maine’s history. These documents are sealed in vaults at the Archives and are rarely viewed. Precious original records of this kind are not usually immediately available to the public, and are being made available especially for this event.

Entries must be received by February 7, 2007. Application forms, complete details and educational materials are available online a www.maine.gov/sos. Essays can be submitted by regular mail to: Office of the Secretary of State, 148 State House Station, Augusta ME 04333 or emailed to SOS.Office@maine.gov.