Oct 10th 6pm: Online Film Screening and Panelist Discussion- Blue Hill Heritage Trust is delivering a film screening of “Voices from the Barrens, Native People, Blueberries and Sovereignty” in celebration of Indigenous People’s Day. This film documents the wild blueberry harvest of the Wabanaki People from the USA and Canada. The film focuses on the Passamaquoddy tribe’s challenge to balance blueberry hand raking traditions with the economic realities of the world market, which favor mechanical harvesting. Each August, First People of the Canadian Wabanaki, the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet (Wolastoqiyik) tribes, cross the US/Canada border into Maine to take part in the tradition of hand raking blueberries with their Passamaquoddy brothers and sisters. This crossing to Maine’s blueberry barrens isn’t considered “agricultural labor,” but is a part of the traditional harvest from the earth.
We will have Nancy Ghertner, Film Director and Hubert Francis, Musician and Indigenous Advocate, join us for the panel discussion. Read their bios below!
Plansowez Dana, “Blunny” lives in the Passamaquoddy community of Sipayik, which is on Passamaquoddy Bay at the USA/Canadian border. She is the mother of 3 children, one in college and 2 in junior high school. At this time, Blunsowez (P is a B) is working at the Wabanaki Public Health as a Water specialist. The right to clean water is a huge concern at Sipayik, so that clean sanitized water and other related health supplies are delivered to families. In October of 2021, the National Indian health Board awarded her an Outstanding Service Award for her “work that affected change on the local/Tribal level.” This harvest season, 2022, there were 4 generations of Blunny’s family raking blueberries!
Hubert Francis, from Elsipogtog First Nation, New Brunswick, Canada. Hubert is an international singer and artist. For the documentary, he contributed as a member of a blueberry raking family, as a musician and performer and he helped organize the film’s sound track. He is an advocate for Indigenous Rights across Canada and the world. He and his brother Brian introduced Nancy to the First Nation communities in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. He remembers going to Blue Hill to rake as a child. Recently Hubert has been presented with the Helen Creighton Award at the East Coast Music Awards. This is an award that recognizes individuals who have had a profound and lasting effect on the Atlantic Canadian Music Industry.
Nancy Ghertner is a visual artist and filmmaker, and the director of “Voices from the Barrens.” She is a former faculty member of Rochester Institute of Technology’s School of Film and Animation. She has directed and produced numerous documentaries, including the award-winning “After I Pick the Fruit: The Lives of Migrant Women,” and “In Our Own Backyard: The Hidden Realities of Women Farmworkers.” She is an active member of human rights organizations in New York State where she lives and advocates for the rights of immigrants, farm workers, and women. She met the Passamaquoddy people at Sipayik in 1970 when she was studying at Colby College. “Voices from the Barrens,” was started from her research into agriculture labor across international borders. And for her, most importantly she is totally committed to her six grandchildren.
To sign up use this zoom link:
If you have questions email: firstname.lastname@example.org