Gloria S. Duclos Convocation

Three pairs of hands holding sage bound in rawhide and a feather with a handle covered in beadwork and ribbons from a Native Student Orientation event. Photo credit: Angie Bordeaux.

Indigenous Peoples: Recognizing and Repairing Harms of Colonized Systems

In October 2020, we began our Convocation, Indigenous Peoples: Recognizing and Repairing Harms of Colonized Systems. The Convocation will focus on decolonizing education through:

  • Uncovering the truth about history and present-day realities for Indigenous communities
  • Identifying how to build authentic and accountable relationships across cultures
  • Work to support individual and collective healing,
  • Take actions within our institution, systems, and society to support equality and justice

These Convocation activities allow the University to carry out its mission and build upon its four pillars of academic excellence by engaging Maine’s Indigenous communities, academics, museums, artists, researchers, and social workers to collectively work together in healing the wounds of colonialism and promoting decolonization as a legitimate way of acknowledging Indigenous communities in modern American society.


Panel Discussion

Please note: This version of the panel discussion recording includes closed captions but does not yet include ASL interpretation. We are in the process of completing important accessibility updates with the help of a third-party service and plan to post the finalized video ASAP.


From the Convocation panelists:

“The land acknowledgment is an opportunity to acknowledge and recognize how much high-quality work there is still waiting for us to do in universities to address social and political change for Indigenous peoples. What more can happen beyond a land acknowledgment?”
Rebecca Sockbeson, PhD, University of Alberta, former USM staff, member of Penobscot Indian Nation

“Having staff normalize Native culture is huge and understanding the importance of representation in conversations around Native issues on campus is extremely important. It can be isolating to be the subject of assistance when no one from your community is involved in those decisions being made. Stop normalizing our disenfranchisement. If you’re going to commit to doing the work, stay true to it — and if things are working don’t remove them.”
Jared Lank, USM staff and alumni, member of the Acadia First Nation band of Mi'kmaq

“Jared and I were Native USM students at the same time, but neither of us knew that both of us were Native students. As a Native student coming into USM — how can we support them? Connection to other Native students, to Native staff and faculty mentors. Providing access to jobs or internships that have some kind of tribal connection and reciprocal relationship that support their education as well as the Tribes. There also could be an option for a Native, one-credit core class that all on-campus students need to take. There was a Native student orientation. That would be great if that could continue for Native students.”
Katie Tomer, USM Academic Advisor and alumni, from Penobscot and Maliseet communities


From a Convocation participant:

“I strongly agree with the directives brought up by the panelists. Among them, bringing back the full funding of the Native American scholarship, linking native students, and hiring more native scholars! Very important work!”
– Adinah Barnett, Digital Imaging Specialist, Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education