BAR HARBOR — The Second Annual Abbe Museum Indian Market held downtown last weekend was a success despite some uncooperative weather, according to event organizers.
The two-day market on the Village Green featured over 50 Native artists, from more than 40 Native communities. Twenty of the featured artists were from the Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot communities of the Wabanaki Nation. Native musicians, drummers, storytellers and singers performed on the Village Green as well.
Other events included a Preview Party Friday evening, and a four-day Indigenous Film Festival at Reel Pizza Cinerama. The film festival featured “Dawnland,” a documentary about the devastating impact of the state’s child welfare practices on families in Wabanaki communities, and a truth and reconciliation commission working to heal that.
A Fashion Show on Saturday evening featuring Native designers such as Mi’kmaq artist Ingrid Brooks (Mi’kmaq and Micmac are regional variations on the same word. Mi’kmaq is the common spelling north of the border, in Canada) rounded out the weekend’s events.
Stephanie Muscat, director of advancement for the Abbe Museum, said she is still calculating numbers, but estimates at least 5,000 people attended the Indian Market “despite the unusually cold and wet May weather.”
Elissa Laplant, secretary of the museum’s Board of Trustees, said, “The energy level was very high and my hope was that every attendee — new or returning — left with a better sense of the rich culture that thrives within Maine’s Indigenous Communities.
“It was a tremendous honor for me to represent the Abbe and my own Maliseet Community at this event,” Laplant continued. “The singing and drumming at the close of the day was extremely powerful, moving, and immediately transported me back to my youth. I am confident that the market will continue to grow and AMIM 2020 will be an even bigger success than was this year.”
The dates for next year’s Indian Market have already been set, Muscat said, for May 15-17, 2020.
“As artists, designers, and performers packed up they all asked about dates for 2020 — and we can’t wait to welcome them back,” she said.
“Finally, we could not have had this success without our sponsors and funders,” Muscat added. “Their support allowed us to create a welcoming space for all involved, and economic benefit to both the Native artists and Bar Harbor community.”