Jared Lank (Mi’kmaq, Acadia First Nation) is an interdisciplinary artist and advocate living in Portland, Maine. He holds advanced degrees in anthropology, human geography, and public policy from the University of Southern Maine. Jared began his work in tribal advocacy during his time as a student at USM, working alongside other Native students and staff members to advance Native inclusion across the University system and to reinvigorate the system’s Native American student tuition waiver program. He was then hired as a staff member at the Catherine Cutler Insitute, where he continued to bolster efforts to promote Native representation on campus through strategic planning groups and faculty/staff committees.
After leaving the Institute in 2021, Jared pursued documentary filmmaking and continued his work in education through independent consultation and advocacy work. He worked with Upstander Project, the team behind the Emmy award-winning documentary Dawnland, to develop educational material for teachers surrounding the Phips bounty proclamations and the genocidal practices used against the Wabanaki tribes during the 16th-18th centuries. During his time with Upstander, Jared also worked with Nia Tero, a US-based non-profit working in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples and movements worldwide to support Indigenous documentary filmmaking. He worked specifically on the Reciprocity Project TV Series, documenting Indigenous community practices of reciprocity.
His Independent documentary and art practice explores identity and belonging, focusing on the nuances of 20th and 21st-century cultural loss, erasure, and assimilation. He aims to expose the colonial underpinnings of Maine’s systemic race and equity problems through metaphor and an Indigenous cultural lens, emphasizing the ill effects of tourism and globalization on his people’s traditional homelands. Many prominent State Institutions, including the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, the Portland Museum of Art, and the Camden International Film Festival, have featured Jared’s films and photographs. He has also had the opportunity to have his work featured by several notable companies, including Apple and Instagram.
As an independent advocate for the Wabanaki tribes, Jared has had the opportunity to work with the Portland Public School’s system to create their inaugural Wabanaki curriculum. This multi-year effort has developed the first comprehensive K-12 Wabanaki curriculum that fulfills Maine’s LD 291 bill, a legislative requirement that all public schools in the state must have Wabanaki history and cultural representation in their curriculum. Jared is teaching for the Geography-Anthropology department at to help them build their Native American Studies course offerings. Jared will also be rejoining the Catherine Cutler Institute this Fall as a research associate on the Capacity Building Center for Tribes team.