To dismantle racism within all aspects of ourselves, our organization, and our Town and support the people already doing the work of racial justice & equity in Maine.
We are residents and stakeholders of Yarmouth, Maine, a town built on land taken from the Wabanaki, the Indigenous people of the Dawnland. We are compelled to examine and take action against the multifaceted nature of racism in our community and beyond. We came together initially to view two films about inequities in the criminal justice system and to participate in two panels with speakers who are on the ground doing anti-racist work in our state. Following these events, we intend to continue learning together and working toward racial justice and equity in our criminal justice, education, and healthcare systems, among others.
As Yarmouth residents and stakeholders, we resolve to develop the awareness to discern injustice and the skills to respond to injustice in our community. We work to dismantle racism within all aspects of ourselves, our organization, and in Yarmouth.
Injustice impacting Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Color (BIPOC) impacts all of us. A just and equitable world for BIPOC individuals and communities enriches us all.
Systemic and institutional inequities, especially in matters of race, remain significant barriers for people and communities working to reach their full potential.
Honest dialogue, active listening, and trust are keys to challenging our assumptions and understanding of each other.
Restorative justice with community accountability is an approach we embrace.
Centering BIPOC leadership is essential.
Our Land Acknowledgement is a living document, researched and written during the Summer and Fall of 2021 by YCARE members and first read aloud on the Winter Solstice, December 21, 2021 by Ron Siviski in the Royal River Park. Listen to it being read BELOW.
“We, the members of the Yarmouth Community Alliance for Racial Equity, and occupiers of the town in Maine known today as Yarmouth, express our recognition that we are on indigenous land. The area that we live in, originally known as Westcustago, was named by the original Abenaki dwellers here. The Abenaki are one of the five remaining tribes that today make up the Ckuwaponahkiyik, the people of the land where the sun first looks our way, now known as Maine. Our locale is part of a larger one referred to as The Dawnland.
For thousands of years, and hundreds of generations, the ancestral, as well as contemporary Wabanaki people have lived in this territory, a land that has always been sacred, with the tallest of trees and oldest of rivers. We give thanks to the indigenous people past and present for their stewardship and resilience.
We also recognize that we occupy, and continue to benefit from the use and occupation of the land here in our town. This land includes locations such as Westcustago, an original Abenaki term for the mouth of what is called in the present day the Royall River, the Shusquisacke, or Cousins River, as well as many scenic natural vistas, marshlands, waterways and falls, such as Pumgustuck.
As our YCARE group learns of the real history of this territory, our curiosity has been raised. Uncovering the true narrative of this history, not taught to us in our colonial upbringing, can provide part of the foundation needed to transform our worldview.
We acknowledge the ongoing injustices of settler colonialism that continue in the Dawnland to this day. We recognize the need to address the harm from the attempted physical and cultural genocide, and slavery that has happened here and beyond. The harm is still felt by our Wabanaki neighbors.
We seek to act in solidarity with our indigenous friends and neighbors who are still here, supporting the inherent sovereignty that, along with hundreds of other indigenous nations, is rightfully theirs.
There is much to be learned about what really happened here. Our curiosity and awareness grow as we envision an inclusive and rich destiny for all peoples.”