Theresa Secord is a traditional Penobscot basketmaker. After earning an M.S. in Geology, she returned to Maine to work for her Tribe, heading up a mineral assessment program on 300,000 acres of Penobscot and Passamaquoddy lands gained in the 1980 Maine Indian Land Claims settlement. In 1988, Theresa began an apprenticeship with Elder basket maker, Madeline Tomer Shay, one of the last speakers of the Penobscot language.
Determined not to watch her Tribe’s art fade into history as well, Theresa led the founding of the MIBA to help save ash and sweetgrass basketry in the Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Maliseet and Micmac Tribes in Maine. In October 2003, she became the first U.S. citizen to receive the Prize for Creativity in Rural Life for her work, granted at the UN in Geneva, Switzerland. Since then, she has received many honors and awards for her work and basketry? including at Santa Fe Indian Market and the Heard Indian Market where she has been actively selling her art for several years. In 2009, Theresa was named a Community Spirit Award recipient by the First Peoples Fund and in 2010, she was honored to present a keynote address at the Indigenous Weavers International Symposium in New Zealand. She has been working as an Artist Success Coach for First Peoples Fund since 2009 and serves on its Board of Directors. Theresa was named the 2011 Traditional Arts Fellow for Maine and is a member of the Maine Arts Commission, where she actively advocates for and supports artists.