FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019
Contact: Kristen Schulze Muszynski
207-626-8404

Secretary Dunlap announces results of 2018 Native American Essay Contest

AUGUSTA – Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap is announcing the winning entries in the 2018 Maine Native American History and Culture Essay Contest today and congratulates all the participating students on their accomplishments.

“The story of the State of Maine cannot be told without the stories of the Wabanaki peoples,” said Secretary Dunlap. “When students learn about these cultures and traditions, they are able to develop a real understanding of our past that engenders respect for others, as well as a sense of place that will serve to deepen their connection to this land."

“We are grateful to the teachers who encourage their students to participate in this program and we look forward to engaging them further upon their visit to the Maine State Archives, where they will see original documents from early interactions between settlers and natives.”

Open to students statewide, the annual contest requires participants to explore at least one aspect of Maine Native American history and to write an essay describing what they have learned.

This year’s top contestant in the high school division is Samantha Siemerling, a freshman at Maine Virtual Academy in Augusta, for her essay entitled, “Indigenous Arts of Maine Native Americans.”

At the middle school level, top honors go to Jeremy Parker, a seventh-grade student at Windsor Elementary School, for his entry, “The Passamaquoddy Native American of Maine.” Second-place is awarded to Caleb Gay, a seventh-grade student at Windsor Elementary School, for his essay, “Weapons of the Dawnsmen.”

Secretary Dunlap invites the first-place essayists in each category to be his guests for a day in Augusta. Students will tour the State House complex, including the Maine State Archives, where they will be able to view Maine’s original treaties with native peoples and original field books of early Maine land surveyors.

Maine law Title 20-A   4706 requires schools to teach Maine Native American history. This contest provides Maine students with a unique opportunity to share what they have learned in their studies. The public can view the essays online at www.maine.gov/sos/kids/nativeamerican/winners.htm. To learn more about this contest and other student programs offered by the Office of the Secretary of State, visit www.maine.gov/sos/kids/index.htm.