First Light’s Learning Journey is a year-long program for the Conservation Community in Maine, including NGOs and government agencies that own or manage lands and/or work with private landowners, funders, advocacy organizations. Its purpose is to build awareness and understanding about Wabanaki land loss in Maine, to develop and practice equitable principles for Native engagement, and to create new tools to share land and resources. Through awareness building First Light seeks to broaden and increase the number of groups who might be willing and able to facilitate or convey access rights, to organize the rematriation of land, and to work alongside Wabanaki Tribal communities when they acquire new priority lands.
Per request of our Wabanaki colleagues, the 50 participating organizations have provided documented commitment to the Learning Journey and named two people to attend all events over the course of a year of programming. These two people will be critical to the process of organizational change that is necessary to meet our goals of repairing and returning land at the speed of trust.
The Learning Journey is one of 3 interconnected efforts of First Light to build relationships and capacity to coordinate land returns to Wabanaki Tribes. First Light is also supporting the formation of the Wabanaki Commission on Land and Stewardship (Nil yut ktahkomiq nik) which will direct the work of the Conservation Community Delegation. We hope these two entities will become the ongoing effort that help to expand Wabanaki access and relationship to land for prosperity.