LEtter From Our President
I’m reaching out to you during this season of giving thanks for all that we hold dear in our lives, including our wonderful community and its natural surroundings. Everyday, I’m grateful for the chance to hear the distant sound of waterfalls right in my own backyard, and I realize what a great honor and privilege it is to live here.
I also remember the Wabanaki families who lived here for millennia, long before my ancestors arrived to the “New World” and built the foundation of what I now call home. They raised families and established villages along the river—planting gardens on its fertile shores and harvesting abundant sea-run fish from its waters. I contemplate the suffering they must have experienced as they were forced to leave their land, and I think about the fact that there is effectively nothing to acknowledge their presence, yet our colonial history is abundantly reflected in the names of places, schools, roads and buildings.
Our goal is to bring that history to light. In this spirit I ask for your support to help Friends of the Presumpscot River complete a public memorial to Chief Polin, who led the first documented dam protest in Maine during the mid-1700s in order to regain a vital food source and way of life for his people. In 1756 he was killed for his efforts.
The Friends of the Presumpscot held a well-attended unveiling ceremony of the site in late September. Guests mingled on top of a grassy hillside among the recently placed granite stones. The site is located on donated land adjacent to Portland Trails off Conant Street in Westbrook,
Currently we are seeking donations to complete the memorial by spring 2018. Our goal is to raise $10,000 for a series of interpretive plaques, a variety of perennial native landscaping and a formal dedication ceremony. The site will include educational information about Chief Polin and the Wabanaki people, the history of the river, and efforts to restore the river, as well as an acknowledgment of significant support over the past quarter century.
We will hold the formal dedication and blessing ceremony in June 2018. I hope you will join us for this celebration honoring the cultural legacy that continues to inform our ongoing work to restore this river to its original natural beauty and bounty.
To contribute to the Chief Polin Memorial, please visit our website at presumpscotriver.org and click on the donate button. Once you submit the amount you wish to contribute, chose your payment option—PayPal or debit/credit card—and write “Chief Polin Memorial” in the “add special instructions to the seller” field (beneath the donation amount). If you would like to visit this site and discuss further sponsorship opportunities, please call me at (207) 329-5042.
Your support will send a powerful message of remembrance. Thank you and warm regards,
Friends of the Presumpscot River
“The River to which I belong to” – Chief Polin (1732)