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Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness celebrates achievements 1-year post-merger

Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness celebrates achievements 1-year post-merger

WPHW continues to expand Healing and Wellness services in the Katahdin region

MILLINOCKET, ME. 3/1/2022- One year after Wabanaki Public Health merged with Wabanaki Health and Wellness to form Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness (WPHW), the organization has had several notable achievements. As they move into 2022, WPHW has prioritized healing and recovery services for its communities, along with their continued work surrounding water quality, sovereignty, and cultural events. WPHW will be hosting various weekly community events and programs including:

  • Mindfulness Mondays – Breathwork, yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and long-lasting health and wellness practices.
  • Wellbriety Meetings – White Bison 12-Step/Medicine Wheel recovery meeting which focuses on healing through a talking circle. This is an open meeting, and all are welcome to join and heal.
  • Project Venture– An adventure-based, experiential education curriculum for middle school-aged youth that integrates culture, adventure sports, and service-learning through in-school and out-of-school sessions.
  • Art Lab – A program for all ages focused on cultivating the next generation of Passamaquoddy artists.
  • Passamaquoddy-Maliseet Language Class – Come learn the Passamaquoddy-Maliseet language in an immersion-style learning classroom.
  • Penobscot Nation, Indian Township, Sipayik and Maliseet Youth Meetings and Game Night.

See the WPHW Community Events Calendar for more information and registration links: https://wabanakiphw.org/calendar/

Below is a list of some of the major highlights from WPHW’s 2021 year in review:

2021 Achievements

January – Merger of Wabanaki Public Health and Wabanaki Health and Wellness to form Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness (WPHW), expanding public health and recovery services in Maine’s Indigenous communities.

February – Began offering Wabanaki language classes and carried out community smudging in all five tribal communities.

March – Art Lab for all ages, a program focused on cultivating the next generation of Passamaquoddy artists.

April – Hosted the first-ever Wabanaki Youth and Sciences (WaYS) virtual minicamp centered on maple sugaring. The 23rd annual Wabanaki Spring Social was also hosted via Zoom.

May – Ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of the Opportunity House, a new recovery and healing center for Indigenous men with substance use disorder in Bangor.

June – Co-presented a Strengthening Families Workshop Series with the Maine Youth Action Network (MYAN) that examined the neuroscience behind social and emotional learning (SEL).

July – Ribbon cutting ceremony for the WPHW mobile food pantry, an initiative to address food insecurity in Maine’s tribal communities. Wabanaki community members also gathered in Millinocket for the unveiling of the Gathering Place, a lodge to support those in recovery.

August – WPHW received a portion of the $1 Million US Department of Health and Human Services grant to increase vaccine access in five Maine community organizations.

September – WPHW received $1.38 Million, awarded through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s office to improve public health and wellness services and treatment programs.

October – WPHW featured on Maine Life Media’s season 6, episode 23 The North Maine Woods, ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Healing and Recovery Center, and a Wabanaki-youth led suicide prevention PSA video. Lisa Sockabasin (Passamaquoddy), co-CEO of WPHW awarded the Dr. Wendy J. Wolf Health and Leadership Award and Plansowes Dana (Passamaquoddy) was awarded the National Indian Health Board’s 2021 Local Impact Award.

November – Lisa Sockabasin (Passamaquoddy) featured on MaineBiz’s 2021 Next List, WPHW received the Maine Children’s Alliance Giraffe Award, Geo Neptune (Passamaquoddy) featured on the 26th Annual Out100 List, Paige Sullivan (Passamaquoddy) selected as a participant in the Virtual White House Tribal Nation Summit. The Wabanaki Women’s Economic Mobility Hub launched in partnership with the Maine Women’s Fund, an initiative serving as a safe cultural place for a women’s talking circle and sharing traditional skills like regalia making.

December – WPHW was involved in the Millinocket Marathon & Half events that provided economic support to the region. Wabanaki community members also showed support to men in recovery by making traditional foods, crafting necklaces, culturally created ornaments, and lighting a sacred medicinal cedar tree.

“Looking back, I am amazed at all the achievements we accomplished in just one year at Wabanaki Public Health & Wellness,” says Lisa Sockabasin, Co-CEO of Wabanaki Public Health & Wellness. “We worked hard, moved quickly, and centered culture, love and service. We look forward to a bright and abundant 2022, where we will be opening our first women’s recovery home and a Detox and Healing Center in the Bangor area. We also plan to expand our presence in the Millinocket region by participating in this year’s Millinocket Marathon again, as well as opening our new Family and Friends Connection Center in downtown Millinocket by the end of 2022.”

About Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness

Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness (WPHW) provides community-driven, culturally centered public health, social services, and recovery and healing opportunities to all Wabanaki communities and people while honoring Wabanaki cultural knowledge, cultivating innovation, and fostering collaboration. Our values include inclusivity, balance, and cultural centeredness. Wabanaki traditions, language, and culture guide our approach and describe the ways we live in harmony with each other and the land we collectively share.  To learn more, please visit www.wabanakiphw.org

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