Why are Shell Middens Culturally Sensitive?
Shell middens represent a link to the past for the Wabanki, Maine’s indigenous people. As a result of colonization, disease, and violence, Native populations in Maine and the rest of New England decreased rapidly in the 18th century. Displaced and marginalized in the new State of Maine, the Penobscot Nation, Passamaquoddy Tribes, Maliseets, and Micmacs, largely lost their physical connection to the coast. Shell middens represent the cultural heritage of these peoples, and millennia of coastal interaction.
Some shell middens contain evidence of dwellings. Others may contain burials, making these culturally sensitive locations.
Additionally, shell middens represent the shared human experience of coastal populations through time, and represent a link to the coast through use of rich resources, appreciation of natural beauty, and spiritual connection for all people.