Meet Maine here.


Meet Maine here.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Maine

The State of Maine now celebrates Indigenous Peoples’ Day each October. We are part of a growing national movement that is rethinking how we teach and honor this country’s history.

Why did the holiday need to change from Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day? Students (and adults!) across the state have plenty of questions, so here are some educational resources to help guide discussions in and out of the classroom:

Canoe backrest made of birchbark. Created by a Wabanaki artist in the 1890s. Maine State Museum 79.114.1

  • Teaching Tolerance—Reconsider Columbus Day article with lots of lesson ideas and resources for different grade levels.
  • The National Museum of the American Indian—Native Knowledge 360°provides educational materials and teacher training that incorporate Native narratives, more comprehensive histories, and accurate information to enlighten and inform teaching and learning about Native America.
  • Zinn Education Project, Indigenous Peoples Day Resources. Lessons, books, and films for teaching the truth about Columbus and Indigenous Peoples history.
  • We Are Teachers— Honoring Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the Classroom. A wide range of books, websites, and activities for different ages.


A few Maine-based resources

Penobscot Governor John Neptune

Penobscot Lt. Gov. John Neptune, 1836. Maine State Museum, 79.40.283

  • Passamaquoddy Peoples’ Knowledge Portal offers photographs, audio recordings, artwork, books, and more. Passamaquoddy tribal members are using this archive to share parts of their history and culture.
  • Maine-Wabanaki REACH advances Wabanaki self-determination by strengthening the cultural, spiritual and physical well-being of Native people in Maine. They provide educational workshops and presentations to native and non-native audiences.
  • Maine State Museum’s Defining Maine takes students on an interactive digital adventure through Maine woods and waters in 1820, following the journey of Joseph Treat and Penobscot Lieutenant Governor John Neptune. 
  • Statehood and the Wabanaki – this Maine State Museum teacher packet uses primary sources to introduce students to the complicated impact of Maine’s statehood on Wabanaki peoples.
  • Abbe Museum’s Educator Hub offers educators a wide variety of resources to bring Wabanaki history and culture into their classrooms and meet the goals of LD291.
    • The Abbe Museum’s Online Resources for teaching Wabanaki/Native American content, including tribal websites, films, and more.
    • The Abbe Museum’s Useful Resources list with books and websites, including grade-specific content.

Ideas for Maine-based activities

  • Younger students
  • Older students
    • Ask students to research news articles on the Skowhegan school district’s controversial 2019 decision to change their mascot. Encourage students to seek voices from tribal members who are affected by the decision. Who was being harmed by the mascot name? What made the school board change its mind? Why is this decision important for Maine?
    • Encourage students to create a project after looking through the Passamaquoddy Peoples’ Knowledge Portal and picking a topic that interests them. This would be ideal for a student-made website, exhibit, or research paper.



Maine State Museum