Native American leaders to discuss relationship between land, culture

Members of three Native American tribes will discuss the hopes that Maine Indians have for their lands at 4:15 p.m. Monday, Sept. 21, in Chase Hall Lounge, 56 Campus Ave.

Titled Wabanaki Hopes for Their Lands: A Conversation, the panel discussion will explore the relationship between the lands of the Wabanaki (a term that refers to Maine’s four Native American tribes) and their cultures.

Open to the public at no cost, the panel is made possible by the Philip J. Otis Endowment at Bates. For more information, please 207-786-6237.

The college’s annual Otis Lecture follows the discussion at 7:30 p.m. in the Olin Arts Center Concert Hall, 75 Russell St. The Otis lecturer is N. Scott Momaday, whose novel “House Made of Dawn” earned him the first Pulitzer Prize awarded to a Native American.

The event is open to the public at no cost, but tickets are required and can be reserved by e-mailing A reception and book signing follow the lecture. For more information, please call 207-786-6135.

The speakers in the 4:15 panel are Brenda Commander, chief of the Houlton Band of Maliseets; David Soctomah, Passamaquoddy tribal representative and historian; and James Francis, Penobscot Nation tribal historian. The panel, says organizer and Bates history professor Joseph Hall, “is a way for us all to learn how we might collaborate more closely as inhabitants of the same state.”

The annual Otis Lecture at Bates is funded by the Philip J. Otis Endowment, established in 1996 by a gift from Margaret V.B. and C. Angus Wurtele in memory of their son, Philip, a member of the class of 1995 who died attempting to rescue injured climbers on Mount Rainier.

In recognition of Otis’ appreciation for nature, the endowment helps support Bates programs with an environmental focus, in particular those exploring the spiritual and moral dimensions of humanity’s relationship with the environment.