Abbe exhibit on women healers to tell story of strength and love

BAR HARBOR — Women healers are the focus of a new exhibit opening at the Abbe Museum in February.

“Kikehtahsuwiw: It Heals” is the first exhibit curated by Abbe Museum Educator George Neptune, Passamaquoddy. A special blessing for the exhibit will be given on Thursday, Feb. 5, at 5 p.m. as part of the grand opening for the Abbe’s 2015 feature exhibit, Coming Home.

Kikehtahsuwiw: It Heals is a story about several women in the Passamaquoddy Tribe. The women, residing at both Motahkomikuk (Indian Township) and Sipayik (Pleasant Point), share a common goal: healing their communities.

In a matriarchal society, women are more than just the heads of the family. As the providers and protectors of life itself, women are sacred. Capable of enduring so much pain on behalf of their children in infinite ways, they represent the healing strength of love itself. As the carriers of life, they are also carriers of culture and responsible for carrying on healing traditions.

“By sharing this story, I hope to show the strength of our people,” said Neptune. “These women are just a few of many who work every day to heal within our communities. It is my hope that when you read their stories, you also are, in some way, healed.”

Storytelling is a crucial practice in countless Native American cultures. Many tribes did not use a written language system, so storytellers were the keepers of history, knowledge and tradition. Stories were meant to teach, whether about creation, survival, respect or even magic.

The portraits in the Kikehtahsuwiw: It Heals exhibit were photographed by Thom Willey.

The Abbe is currently closed until Feb 5. Winter hours once they reopen are Thursday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission will be free through April thanks to the generosity of Machias Savings Bank.

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