Please join the community of Maine and Wabanaki people in a day of reflection, meditation, and prayer today. Tomorrow, with the seating of the Maine-Wabanaki Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), they will embark on a historic undertaking to uncover the truth, promote healing, and make recommendations for the best child welfare practices, while finding peaceful ways to move forward together.
Denise Altvater (far right)and siblings weeks before they were taken from the reservation and placed in a non-native foster home by the state of Maine.
For decades, children across the country were routinely wrenched from their families and stripped of their identities in state-sanctioned efforts to assimilate Native children by placing them in foster care. Now, Denise has helped open the way for a truth and reconciliation process in Maine.
The following are excerpts from a recent conversation with Denise Altvater, AFSC’s Wabanaki Program Coordinator in Maine. Keith Harvey, AFSC’s regional director in New England, hosted the telephone conversation, and several friends and supporters joined the call.
Keith: Denise, would you introduce yourself and your work?
Please join Denise Altvater, Coordinator of AFSC's Wabanaki Program, for the inside story of the historic Truth and Reconciliation Process now underway in Maine. Learn about this extraordinary journey toward healing and forgiveness, and bring your questions for Denise!
Our host will be Keith Harvey, AFSC Regional Director in New England, who has launched a three part series of community conversations on the theme, The Haves, the Have-Nots and the Beloved Community.
KEITH ‘BEAR’ HARVEY was a scholarship football player on the Miami University of Ohio football team when its team name was the “Redskins.” His acceptance of that nickname changed following a conversation with a Native American classmate. Harvey’s commentary below explains why he joined the effort to change the team’s nickname.
AFSC's Keith Harvey, regional director for the Northeast, discusses "redskins," his childhood, and building the beloved community.
A few days ago, an article from the Lincoln County News landed on my desk. The article referenced the work of two of my staff in Maine, both Native women, and the struggle to address the racism embedded in the term “redskin.” When I read the words, “The people who want to change it should be shot,” I was instantly transported to my childhood.
Maine Times Record
Who we are
AFSC is a Quaker organization devoted to service, development, and peace programs throughout the world. Our work is based on the belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice. Learn more
Where we work
AFSC has offices around the world. To see a complete list see the Where We Work page.