Who owns the earth: Maine’s Diverse Populations & Environments

“Who Owns the Earth?” explores the question from the perspective of Maine populations — from traditions of indigenous peoples, to legal claims of descendants from European colonists, to the experience of more recent immigrants, such as the Somali communities in Portland and Lewiston.  Who owns the land, access to fisheries, to clean water?  Strife over these resources has often sparked conflicts along racial, ethnic and cultural divides in the region.  Three speakers address facets of this immensely complex question, considering the concept of ownership itself.

Susan Wegner is Director of the Division of Art History in the Art Department at Bowdoin College.  As part of the international initiative, Project Passenger Pigeon, she created an exhibition,
and produced articles and talks on the extinction of the wild North American passenger pigeon as recorded in art and literature.   Current research focuses on the dialogue between
art and science from the Renaissance to the 19th century in Europe and the Americas.
Anne Hayden is Program Manager, Sustainable Economies Program at Manomet and an adjunct lecturer in Environmental Studies at Bowdoin College.  Anne holds a B.A. in American History and Literature from Harvard, an M.S. in Environmental Studies from Duke and is working towards a 
Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Maine.  Her recent projects include assessment of the potential impacts of climate change on Maine’s lobster fishery and analysis of the  mismatch between ecological and management boundaries in federal fisheries management programs. 
Anne Hayden’s presentation will be
Maine fisheries: Allocation of the  benefits of a valuable public trust resource.  The history of fisheries in Maine (and elsewhere) has been one of open access fisheries leading to declines in stock abundance.   Limiting access to fisheries is a wide spread response to conditions of scarcity. The allocation and, in some cases, monetization of access rights has skewed the flow of benefits from Maine’s fisheries.  She will use Maine’s groundfishery and lobster fishery as examples, and describe the Passamaquoddy proposal to allow every tribal member the right to fish.
David Gordon is Professor of History at Bowdoin College. He received Ph.D from Princeton University and writes on a range of subjects relating to southern and central African history, including Atlantic and Indian Ocean trading networks, British and Belgian colonialism, environmental cultures, and contested secular and spiritual sovereignty. He is currently developing an interactive web documentary on immigrant life in Maine entitled Global Maine.

Michelle Vazquez Jacobus is a new Associate Director of the McKeen Center, coming from USM’s Lewiston campus where she was an Associate Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences, as well as USM LAC’s Community Engagement Scholar. Working from backgrounds in both social work and law, Michelle’s work focused on community-engaged learning and community capacity building, particularly through promoting diversity and multiculturalism. Michelle has co-authored several articles and organized multiple events and collaborative projects with diverse communities in Lewiston, including pieces focusing on local immigrant populations; policy implications of food access; collaborative multi-disciplinary community engagement projects; and the importance of community engagement on pedagogy and social justice.  Recently her work has focused on promoting diversity and access to education, particularly for marginalized communities.