Loon Echo Land Trust protects land in the northern Sebago Lake region of Maine in the towns of Bridgton, Casco, Denmark, Naples, Harrison, Sebago, and Raymond.
Loon Echo Land Trust recognizes that our conservation lands are unceded lands of the Abenaki people, specifically the Pigwacket and Ammoncongan, who are members of the Wabanaki Confederacy. The Wabanaki Confederacy - the Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Maliseet, Abenaki, and Mi’kmaq peoples - have stewarded these lands for centuries.
We acknowledge and respect the values of the Wabanaki people and affirm their sovereignty in this territory. We intend to support their efforts for natural resource protection and a restoration of their sovereign rights, including rematriation of land to the Tribes. The Wabanaki are the first peoples of Maine and northern New England, and have lived on this land for over 10,000 years. Wabanaki means People of the First Light, and Maine is the first place in the United States that experiences the sun rising in the east.
It is estimated that prior to European colonization there were between 10,000 and 20,000 Wabanaki people in southern Maine. The nearest known Wabanaki settlement to Loon Echo Land Trust’s service area was in the fertile flood plain of the Saco River Valley in what is now called Fryeburg.
Since European colonization, Wabanaki people have suffered a 96% population loss due to genocide, disease, land dispossession and forced removal, erasure of traditions through forced conversion to Christianity, warfare between Europeans, and scalp bounties. There are at least 8,000 tribal members alive today who live in communities in Maine and Quebec, the Canadian Maritimes, and in diaspora.
Sources: Abbe Museum
, Wabanaki REACH
, First Light Learning Journey