The Abbe Museum, the first and only Smithsonian Affiliate in the state of Maine, has announced the opening of the “Kikehtahsuwiw: It Heals” exhibit, the first exhibit curated by Abbe Museum Educator George Neptune, Passamaquoddy. A special blessing for “Kikehtahsuwiw” will be given at 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 5, 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, residing at both Motahkomikuk (Indian Township) and Sipayik (Pleasant Point). Each of these women shares a common goal: healing their communities.
As 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, in a museum press release. “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 Abbe is closed until Feb. 5. Winter hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Admission is free through April thanks to the generosity of Machias Savings Bank.