News Release

Cultural Connects Program Returns to Acadia

A group of Wabanaki men sit around a drum singing and striking the instrument.
The Burnurwurbskek Singers,a Penobscot male drum group, performs at Cadillac Mountain Summit.

Photo Courtesy of Will Newton, Friends of Acadia

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News Release Date: June 6, 2023

BAR HARBOR, MAINE – The Cultural Connections program returns to Acadia National Park after a year long hiatus. A full season of programming will kick off on June 14 at Cadillac Mountain Summit, where the Burnurwurbskek Singers,a Penobscot male drum group, will perform traditional Wabanaki songs. 

This programming provides visitors to Acadia with the opportunity to learn from Maine Native artists, musicians, and scholars via bi-weekly summer demonstrations. Not only does the Cultural Connections program provide an important platform to support Wabanaki artists and educators, but it also fills a crucial role in communicating Acadia’s diverse cultural history to park visitors. 

“The Wabanaki people have a deep connection to and understanding of the lands that now make up Acadia National Park.” says Acadia National Park Superintendent Kevin Schneider. “This program not only centers that knowledge and helps others facilitate connections with this place we love – but reminds visitors that the Wabanaki Nations are still here, and Wabanaki people have an enduring connection to this land.” 

All Cultural Connections programs are sponsored by Dawnland, LLC, are offered in partnership with the Abbe Museum, and are free and open to the public. In order to attend the June 14th kick off event, in addition to a park pass, vehicle reservations are needed to access the Cadillac Summit Road. Vehicle reservations can be made at

The Cultural Connections Programs taking place at Acadia National Park this summer are: 

The Burnurwurbskek Singers 

Time: Wednesday, June 14, 2023, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm 

Location: Cadillac Mountain Summit, Acadia National Park   

The Burnurwurbskek singers are a men’s drum group from the Penobscot Indian Nation at Indian Island, Maine. This group has been performing traditional Wabanaki songs for audiences across Maine and other states for many years. This performance on top of Wapuwoc, or the “white mountain of the first light,” is a cultural demonstration that will captivate audience members of all ages.   

In addition to a park pass, vehicle reservations are needed to access the Cadillac Summit Road for this program. You can make a vehicle reservation  

Fancy Basket Demonstration with Sarah Sockbeson, Penobscot     

Time: Wednesday, July 12, 2023, 11:00 am –3:00 pm  

Location: Jordan Pond House Lawn, Acadia National Park  

Sarah Sockbeson is one of several basketmakers who take Wabanaki traditions to a new level with their contemporary styles. A citizen of the Penobscot Indian Nation, Sarah apprenticed with basketmaker Jennifer Neptune and combines contemporary elements such as painting and bone carving into her work. Known for her vivid color combinations and beautiful landscape paintings, Sarah will demonstrate the various steps within her artistic process.   

Market Basket Demonstration with Gabriel Frey, Passamaquoddy 

Time: Wednesday, August 16, 2023, 11:00 am – 3:00 pm  

Location: Jordan Pond House Lawn, Acadia National Park  

Gabriel Frey, Passamaquoddy, comes from a long line of fancy and utility basketmakers. He uses his family's traditional knowledge and style to create beautifully woven, sturdily built utility baskets that can be used for a variety of purposes. Join Gabriel as he demonstrates the labor-intensive process of preparing ash and see firsthand how his beautiful and functional art is created.  

Talk and Storytelling with Dwayne Tomah, Passamaquoddy 

Time: Wednesday, August 30, 2023, 11:00 am – 1:00 p.m. 

Location: Sieur de Mont Nature Center Patio, Acadia National Park  

Dwayne Tomah, Passamaquoddy, will be hosting a talk and storytelling program regarding his work with the Passamaquoddy wax cylinders, which are the earliest known field recordings of Native Americans. These recordings, preserved on wax cylinders in 1890, include Passamaquoddy narratives, vocabulary, number lists, and songs. The Passamaquoddy Tribe and the Library of Congress have worked on restoring, digitizing, and revitalizing these recordings as digital repatriation.  

Flintknapping Demonstration with Chris Sockalexis, Penobscot  

Time: Wednesday, September 6, 2023, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm  

Location: Jordan Pond House Lawn, Acadia National Park  

Chris Sockalexis, Penobscot, is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Penobscot Nation.  Chris has a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Maine with his primary focus being on Maine Archaeology. A flintknapper with knowledge of the ancient art and technique of stone and bone tool production, Chris is currently conducting research for his Masters of Science degree at the University of Maine Climate Change Institute. An Abbe Museum board member, he is also an avid canoe/kayak paddler who loves being out in the Maine woods and on the waterways that his ancestors have traveled for thousands of years.

Last updated: June 6, 2023

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