On September 4, 2007, we launched a collaboration that brings together Indigenous Culture, Permaculture, and Digital Culture.
Just south of the UMaine campus, at 5 Chapel Rd, the children of Wassokeag HomeSchool met for the first time to learn and practice sustainable living. They met at the home of Wabanaki Elders Miigam’agan (Mi’kmaq) and gkisedtanamoogk (Wampanoag) and greeted a University of Maine course in Permaculture during which they took a soil sample, shook it up in a jar of water and watched it for a week to see the various layers sediment. The following week they reported their findings to the Permaculture class, along with their drawings, diagrams and stories related to the soil sample.
During that week they met with gkisedtanamoogk to learn about petroglyphs anh Wabanaki calendars. “He wasn’t teaching us,” one of the students recounted, “He was just showing us how he used his calendar.”
Meanwhile Permaculture students surveyed the grounds—a small wetlands, a new succession forest of birch, a scantic soil yard with a huge split red maple, and a corridor toward campus. Within a few weeks they would be designing plans for these grounds and implementing them with the assitance of the Wassookeag children.
A ten minute walk away, in downtown Orono, Claudia Lowd’s permaculture house was launching their workshop series, while at the other end of the stillwater on Free Street, Emily Markides was organizing a weekend permaculture series designed to turn her neighborhood into an ‘eco-hood’.