Chris Newell is the executive director and senior partner to Wabanaki Nations for the Abbe Museum. PHOTO COURTESY OF ABBE MUSEUM

Online presentation maps Abbe’s future

BAR HARBOR The motto of 200 years of Maine statehood is “Dirigo,” or “I lead.” But where does this desire to lead the nation come from? Chris Newell, executive director and senior partner to Wabanaki Nations for the Abbe Museum, will discuss the history of Maine’s Wabanaki peoples cultural and historical ties to turtle island (the land we now call North America) from Wabanaki homelands in the land of the dawn.   

It’s from this historical and cultural perspective that Newell envisions the future of the Abbe and its role in leading museums across the nation in decolonizing museum work, building equitable relationships with living Native communities and changing the museum experience to grow beyond its colonial beginnings to an interpretive learning experience centered around Wabanaki voices.   

Newell is a multi-award-winning museum professional born and raised in Motahkmikuhk (Indian Township) and a proud citizen of the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township. He also serves on the board of trustees for the New England Museum Association and is a current member of the Maine Arts Commission. Newell is a co-founder of Akomawt Educational Initiative, an educational consultancy working with schools, universities, museums and all areas of education to incorporate Native perspectives in a culturally competent manner.   

This free virtual presentation is part of Acadia Senior College’s monthly Food for Thought lecture series and takes place on Friday, Jan. 22 at noon. To register for this event, email [email protected] or contact Acadia Senior College at (207) 288-9500.  


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