Newsom awarded AAUW American Fellowship

Archaeological research focused on the World War II German prisoner of war (POW) camp that was located on Passamaquoddy land in eastern Maine has been recognized with a 2019–20 American Fellowship from the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

The fellowship provides a $6,000 grant to support the work of UMaine assistant professor of anthropology Bonnie Newsom with Passamaquoddy Tribal Historic Preservation Officer Donald Soctomah, leading to the publication of the results of their archaeological study of the former site of the POW camp — one of seven established in Maine. In 2013, Newsom collaborated with Soctomah and supervised an archaeological study of the site as part of a U.S. Department of Defense munitions clean-up effort. 

Newsom will use the technical report from that study as the basis for a broader manuscript focused on the history of the POW camp in Passamaquoddy homeland, including results of the site excavations. The current community-based research expands on the social aspects of a World War II POW camp on Passamaquoddy land. 

Ultimately, the publication will shed light on an undocumented aspect of Maine and tribal history, and offer a Native American perspective on the German POW camps in the state. The project also highlights a model for building tribal capacity through archaeological skills development and training in the Passamaquoddy community, Newsom says.

UMaine has a strong reputation in Northeast archaeology, with emphasis on indigenous archaeologies, shell midden preservation and community engagement, she notes.   

“I am honored to be a recipient of this award and I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to work with the Passamaquoddy Tribal Historic Preservation Office on this publication,” says Newsom. “It will help ensure that the archaeology of the World War II POW camp at Indian Township, Maine becomes accessible to the public and integrates a Passamaquoddy perspective.”

AAUW is one of the world’s leading supporters of graduate women’s education. In the past 130 years, it has provided more than $115 million in fellowships, grants and awards to 13,000 women from more than 145 countries.

For the 2019–20 academic year, AAUW is awarding a total of $4 million through seven fellowships and grants programs to 259 scholars, research projects and programs promoting education and equity for women and girls.

American Fellowships, AAUW’s largest funding program, began 1888, making them one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious fellowship programs exclusively for women. These fellowships support women scholars who are completing doctoral dissertations, conducting postdoctoral research or finishing research for publication.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745