Seventh-grade BRES student wins Native American essay contest

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Secretary of State Shenna Bellows congratulates three students who won the 2021 Maine Native American History and Culture Essay Contest.

Ronan Drage, a seventh-grade student at Boothbay-area elementary school, won first place in middle school for his essay, “The Wabanaki Dawn Versus The First Light.”

Jasai Marable, a seventh grader at Windsor Elementary School, won second place in middle school for his essay “The Maliseet Tribe of Maine”.

Shylah Woodford, an eleventh grader at Maranacook Community High School, won first place in high school for her essay “The People of Dawnland.”

“Connecting with students about the full story of their home — especially the parts of the story that are often distorted or overlooked — is an essential part of their education,” Secretary Bellows said. “Learning about Wabanaki history helps build non-Wabanaki students in Maine into conscientious and thoughtful citizens, while providing some of the tools to assess how we as a community and state are correcting or perpetuating the wrongdoings of the pass. For Wabanaki and other Indigenous students, the inclusion of Maine’s Native American history is an important validation of their communities, cultures, and traditions as important parts of our shared narrative.

Open to middle and high school students across the state, the annual contest asks participants to explore at least one aspect of Maine’s Native American history and write an essay describing what they learned.

Bellows encourages students and all Maine residents to explore the holdings of the Maine State Archives, where they can view Maine’s original treaties with the native peoples and the original field books of Maine’s first land surveyors. Many of these documents have been digitized for online access.

Title 20-A 4706 of Maine law requires schools to teach Native American history in Maine. This competition provides Maine students with a unique opportunity to share what they have learned during their studies. To learn more about this competition and other student programs offered by the Office of the Secretary of State, visit https://www.maine.gov/sos/kids/programs.

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