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February 27, 2007
Contact: Nicole Ladner

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap extends deadline for
Native American History and Culture Essay Contest

AUGUSTA, ME—Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap has extended the deadline for submissions for the Secretary of State’s 2007 Native American History and Culture Essay Contest to March 15. Begun in 2006, the contest emphasizes student explorations in Native American history and culture.

“In an effort to be inclusive and promote the intent of the project, I have extended the deadline to accommodate educators who were not able to work the essay into their curriculum by the February 7 deadline date,” Dunlap said. “I encourage teachers and students to utilize this project to explore more fully the expansive role of our native tribes in Maine’s history.”

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.

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 offered. Students are encouraged 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.

Application forms, complete details and educational materials are available online at Essays may be submitted by mail to: Office of the Secretary of State, State House Station 148, Augusta ME 04333, emailed to, or faxed to 287-8598.   For more information, call the Secretary of State’s Office at 626-8400.