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June 18, 2007
Contact: Don Cookson

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap Congratulates Winners of Native American Essay Contest

Augusta- Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap announced the names of the winners in the Native American History and Culture Essay Contest today and offered his congratulations to all of the students who took part. “Maine’s students continue to amaze me with the quality of their work and their thorough comprehension of the importance of history and diversity,” said Dunlap. “This year’s Essay Contest winners are proof Maine’s future is a very bright one.”

This year’s winner in the High School Division is Maridawn Lamb of Orono, a recently graduated senior from Orono High School. The middle school winner is Ethan Swedberg, a 6th grade student who is home schooled in his hometown of Old Town.

Open to students statewide, the contest called on students to explore at least one aspect of Maine Native American history, and to write an essay of between 500-1000 words detailing what they had learned. Entries detailed topics including the history of Native American diplomacy, relations with European settlers, aspects of Native American economics, and the migrations of Native American peoples. Essays were reviewed by a panel of expert judges, who selected the winners of this year’s prize, a 100 dollar US Savings Bond. Regarding the selection process, Dunlap said, “Many thanks go to our esteemed panel of judges for their contributions to the success of this year’s contest.” This year’s judges were Legislative Tribal Representative Donald G. Soctomah, Native American Studies Educator Lee Ann Francis, and Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission member Paul F. Jacques.

Secretary of State Dunlap noted the importance of studying the history of the State’s Native peoples for all Maine students, and pointed to Maine law MRSA 20-A, Section 4706, providing for the inclusion of this significant area of study. (The law can be viewed on line at