Nibezun Earth Project

18 Nipisikwit Drive, Passadumkeag, Maine

The Wabanaki Cultural Preservation Coalition is raising funds to acquire, protect, and steward an endangered parcel of culturally significant, sacred land on the Penobscot River in Passadumkeag, Maine. This 85 acre parcel provides the only available land access to the Penobscot Nation’s treasured Olamon Island and is an historic ceremonial ground and cultural gathering place. In addition to the land’s palpable heritage, natural beauty and abundant wildlife, existing facilities on site will provide an ideal home for the Coalition’s diverse programming, supporting its mission of preservation, cultural exchange and educational outreach. The site is to be sold.

Purchase price: $670,000

Funds needed for closing: $345,000

Total capital to be raised: $800,000

Urgency: Critical

Nibezun translates to Medicine from the Penobscot language, with its root word nibi, meaning water—the first medicine. The Nibezun Site was an ancient camp used by Wabanaki people and their ancestors, the Red Paint People, for gathering red ochre. This ochre has been used in sacred customs dating back to the time of Gluskabeh and the Wabanaki creation stories. Today, this location also provides critical access to Olamon Island, which is tribal land, and offers a support base for those using the Island for traditional activities, including gathering medicines, fasting and vision quest. Preservation of the Nibezun Site is critical to Wabanaki culture and its ongoing revitalization.

The site was developed as a therapeutic horseback riding center in 2004, operated briefly and then donated to the current owner, who has maintained the facilities and allowed continued cultural and ceremonial use. Upon acquisition, the Coalition will produce immediate revenue through diverse but culturally-related activities, such as leasing facilities to tribal social service organizations. The Coalition will also develop its own programming and, by the fall of 2018, expects to derive almost all revenue from a robust slate of programs, including: language and cultural immersion programming, overnight cultural awareness and educational programs for public and private school children, fieldwork, and ongoing workshops relating to traditional Wabanaki material and ceremonial culture.

By saving this sacred site and implementing cultural programming at existing facilities, the Coalition will support healing within the Wabanaki community and beyond. The Nibezun Project will be a catalyst to reestablish the symbiotic relationship with Mother Earth which is at the heart of Wabanaki wisdom and culture.  This is our Earth Project.