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?
This report provides examples of the work your generous support has made possible this year. As you read it, we are confident that the progress shown will fuel your optimism and determination. Thank you for being part of our community!
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.
Prisoners perform hard labor at the Angola State Prison in Lousiana
CURRENTS is a visual art exhibit featuring works by F. Geoffrey Johnson and Kerly Suffren.
Screening of the film “Land of the Free” about the Angola 3’s three generations in solitary confinement, followed by a discussion moderated by Dianne Mathiowetz and featuring Akinyele Umoja, African american Studies department head at Georgia State University and Dominique Stevens from the AFSC Baltimore Healing Justice program focusing on the case of Marshall Eddie Conway and the over incarceration of African-American males.
CURRENTS: Black Men's Cultural Activism - A Visual Arts Exhibit, with poetry, music and film is a visual art exhibit featuring artworks by F. Geoffrey Johnson and Kerly Suffren. The exhibit features works by two men from two very different generations. Geoffrey is in his 60’s grew up influenced by “Jim Crow” laws and the Civil Rights Movement; while Kerly in his thirties sites the influence of Hip-Hop culture as a major factor in shaping his sense of identity and politics.
I used to teach second grade at an inner city elementary school in Vallejo, California. I was teaching there when the riots occurred in Los Angeles in response to the initial verdict acquitting four police officers who had beaten Rodney King. That morning, I interrupted the usual routine to invite the students to discuss what was happening. Many of my students, who were mostly of African, Filipino, Mexican, and East Indian descent, told story after story of their own experiences of racism.
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.