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Home > News > Native American Essay Contest Winners

December 18, 2009
Contact: Nicole Ladner

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap Congratulates Winners of Native American Essay Contest 

Augusta-Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap announced the names of the winners in the 2009-10 Maine Native American History and Culture Essay Contest today and offered his congratulations to all of the students who took part.

"This contest offers a great tool for teachers and students to explore the rich culture of the Native American nations that have thrived in Maine for thousands of years," said Dunlap. "While most Maine people are aware of their Micmac, Passamaquoddy, Maliseet and Penobscot neighbors, they may not be aware that Androscoggin isn't just a county and river, it was a thriving nation of people, like the Norridgewocks and many other unique cultures. I think the students showed a great deal of new learning in their essays."

This year's winner in the high school division is Brett Davisson of Wells High School for his essay entitled The Abenaki and the European Settlement of Maine. Cape Elizabeth Middle School claims both first and second place titles in the middle school division. Top honors go to Deven Roberts for his essay, Native American History in Maine and Heather Chase placed second with her submission entitled The Wabanaki Culture .

Open to students statewide, the contest called on students to explore at least one aspect of Maine Native American history, and to write an essay of between 500-1000 words detailing what they had learned. Entries detailed topics including the history of Native American diplomacy, relations with European settlers, aspects of Native American economics, and the migrations of Native American peoples.

Each winner and his or her class is invited to be the Secretary of State's guest for a day in Augusta. Students tour the State House, the State Museum, and the State Archives--where they will be able to view Maine's original treaties with Native peoples and original field books of the early European explorers.

Secretary of State Dunlap noted the importance of studying the history of the State's Native peoples for all Maine students, and pointed to Maine law MRSA 20-A, Section 4706, providing for the inclusion of this significant area of study. (The law can be viewed on line at To learn more about this contest and other student programs offered by the Office of the Secretary of State, visit