Over Fall break, eight students traveled to the Wabanaki Federation's homelands. They immersed themselves in Wabanaki culture, spending time with a number of people from various tribes from the Federation. Students heard about the realities of bullying and harassment that many from the community face based on their heritage. Students also got to learn about traditional herbal and natural remedies found throughout their homeland, and made herbal teas with one of the Penobscot Nation's members. They traveled to a cultural center to learn about the history of the Penobscot people and see their beautiful artwork. They were confronted with the Doctrine of Discovery from a native perspective, and spoke at length with powerful tribal member, Sherri Mitchell, who is involved in tribal rights and environmental issues at the international, national and local level. Students also got to assist in harvesting birch tree roots for one of the program's artists for his traditional root club art form. The trip closed with a visit with an archaeologist from the Nation, who also drums and sings. He showed the students many of his findings and then performed.
It was an incredible experience for the students as they discovered more about the symbiotic relationship between mankind and the world around, as well as the oppression faced by the Native peoples. The participants left with questions; hope for change through small, tangible actions; and the charge to be the change needed to create a more humane and just society.