This month, Passamaquoddy Tribal Historian Donald Soctomah will receive the 2015 Constance H. Carlson Public Humanities Prize from the Maine Humanities Council.
William ‘Bro’ Adams, Chairman of the National Endowment for Humanities and former president of Colby College, will be on hand to honor Soctomah at the prize luncheon in Bangor on March 30th. The luncheon will also feature recorded comments from Senator Angus King and a letter from Senator Susan Collins in appreciation of Soctomah’s contributions to the state of Maine. Those contributions are vast.
Soctomah, a 59-year-old Passamaquoddy historian, has worked tirelessly to preserve and share native culture and lands through resource management, policy-making, teaching, and the promotion and dissemination of history and language. Thanks to his efforts during eight years in the Maine State Legislature, Maine K-12 students learn about Maine Native American history in school, and Maine place names now show cultural awareness and sensitivity toward the state’s native populations.
“The prize is given in recognition and appreciation of individuals or organizations who have made extraordinary contributions to the state through the humanities,” MHC Executive Director Hayden Anderson said. He credits Soctomah’s work with a change in Maine, a state where Native presence is often unrecognized or ignored. “A lot of the work Donald has done raises the profile and introduces people to this important part of history. The state of Maine is richer and more historically aware because of the work he’s been doing for years.”
Soctomah is the sixth person to receive the Constance H. Carlson Prize since its creation in 1998. Previous honorees are Joseph Conforti, Neil Rolde, Northeast Historic Film, Billie Gammon, and Tabitha King. For more information and to register for the prize luncheon, visit http://mainehumanities.org/program/constance-h-carlson-prize/