Mitchell Center hosts talk about restoring Penobscot language use, learning from traditional stories

The Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions at the University of Maine will host a talk about restoring Penobscot language use and how traditional stories can provide vital knowledge to help meet today’s challenges 3–4 p.m. on Monday, April 5. 

When Margo Lukens began the project of publishing a book of traditional stories from the Penobscot Nation, she worked with Penobscot language keeper Carol Dana, who sought to restore Penobscot language use and to make bilingual text versions readily available to young people in her community. Their book, “‘Still They Remember Me’: Penobscot Transformer Tales, Volume 1,” a bilingual collection of traditional Penobscot stories also co-authored by Conor Quinn, is due out in June 2021 from the University of Massachusetts Press.

Reading the narratives as literature, Lukens saw that they contain deep knowledge about how human beings have understood life in this place, teaching ecological knowledge, and community values and relationships from a Penobscot perspective. She realized that reading traditional stories like these offers invaluable insights as we work to solve complex 21st-century problems. 

Lukens is a professor of English at UMaine whose work has included producing and directing plays by Indigenous playwrights on campus and in the region. Her research interests also include Wabanaki literary and storytelling history and antiracism work.  

The talk is free and available via Zoom; registration is required. 

Register online to receive connection information. To request a reasonable accommodation, contact Ruth Hallsworth, 207.581.3196;