Five Chosen for Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Tuesday marked a major milestone for a commission designed to acknowledge what happened to Wabanaki children involved with the Maine Child Welfare system.A selection panel announced the five people who will serve on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Those five are Matt Dunlap, Old Town: gkisedtanamoogk, Otter Clan, Mashpee Wampanoag, Orono: Gail Werrbach, Bangor: Sandy White Hawk, Sicangu Lakota of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, St. Paul, Minnesota: and Carol Wishcamper, Freeport.The panel is the first of its kind. It was formed through an agreement between tribal governments and the state.In the past many Wabanaki kids were taken by the state and put into foster care, forcing kids to leave their families and culture. The commissioners hope their work will be part of the healing process for those involved.”There’s been so much of an attempt to eradicate native families and kids. Over 400 years in Maine the community survived and survived with incredible resiliency and incredible strength, and I think they deserve to be able to tell their stories,” said Werrbach of Bangor, one of the five commissioners.The commission will talk to state workers and the tribal community about their experiences. After that, they’ll write a report on how to move forward.