“On the alternative spring break trip to Pleasant Point, Bowdoin students are given the amazing opportunity to connect with the children and community of the Passamaquoddy of Pleasant Point, one of two Passamaquoddy reservations in Maine. Along with four other tribes and first nations, the Passamaquoddy are members of the Wabanaki Confederacy, the indigenous people who originally settled much of the land we now call Maine.
As the students help out at the Beatrice Rafferty School, they learn much from the students and teachers. The displays of the rich Passamaquoddy culture and history open the students’ eyes to the strong ties that the community has with their past, and working closely with the children they can see the next generation being immersed in their culture and preparing to carry it into the future. As these people are an integral part of Maine and its history, the students who go on this trip see an important part of Maine that many of their peers never get to see, a part that extends further back than many history books.
On a deeper level, the students come to know this community as a people and not a myth or statistic. They learn the challenges faced by the school are not things inherently Native, but something faced by schools in similar rural conditions across America. At the same time, they see the strengths of the community, such as the nights when everyone is at the school to cheer the students on in basketball games. Overall, the students get to see just how far resilience, pride, and culture can take a people.”
Destiny Guerrero ’13