For 4 years, the MIBA, in collaboration with the Sustainability Solutions Initiative (SSI) the George J. Mitchell Center of the University of Maine has spear headed the state’s efforts, through an Ask Task Force, to help save the ash trees in Maine from eradication by the approaching invasive pest, the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) beetle.
Kolunkayowan Wikpiyik Symposia (translated, Protecting the Ash for Future Generations)
The MIBA has coordinated an annual symposium of tribal basket makers, tradition bearers and foresters from the Tribes, State of Maine, U.S. Forest Service and University of Maine at the University of Maine in Orono- The Ash Task Force work has focused on protection of the ash trees against the Emerald Ash Borer. Now, with the proximity of the EAB in New Hampshire and Massachusetts; the task force is working on strategies to help basket makers adapt to the beetle when it arrives, encourage stewardship of current ash stands to help save the remaining trees and promote saving seed trees and regeneration.
MIBA’s collaborations were featured in an online news article: Forests for Maine’s Future link: http://forestsformainesfuture.squarespace.com/fresh-from-the-woods-journal/emerald-ash-borer-a-voracious-pest-nears-maine.html
In December 2013 for its Ash Task Force work, MIBA was granted:
“Award of Excellence for Extraordinary Contributions to Collaborative Capacity by Maine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative at the Senator George J. Mitchell Center of the University of Maine”
Documentation of ash harvesters traditional knowledge (to be archived for use by future generations) has begun, in case the trees are lost for a generation or two due to the EAB. This film documentation work is in partnership with the School of Forest Resources at the University of Maine and the SSI.
Tribal connections and the importance of the basket tree to tribal culture cannot be understated; the basketry tradition is deeply “rooted” in the tree. The People of the Dawn (or Wabanaki, collectively the four Tribes in Maine) actually trace their creation to the ash tree:
Glooskap came first of all into this country, into the land of The Wabanaki, next to sunrise. There were no Indians here then. And in this way he made men: He took his bow and arrows and shot at trees, the basket trees, the ash. Then Indians came out of the bark of the ash trees.
- WABANAKI CREATION STORY TOLD BY MOLLY SEPSIS, PUBLISHED IN ALGONQUIN LEGENDS BY CHARLES G. LELAND
Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. in the Bodwell Area, Collins Center for the Arts
(Click here to see the event flyer.)