Houlton Pioneer Times

Houlton Band of Maliseets to hold annual Recognition Day this Saturday

HOULTON, Maine – Nestled about six miles from the center of Houlton sits the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians reservation.

It is a testament to the area’s original settlers, but many may not even know it exists. 

For those who have ever wondered about the Native American way of life, the tribe will provide a glimpse into its impressive culture when it holds its 42nd annual Recognition Day celebration this Saturday. 

Recognition Day is held each year to commemorate the anniversary of the band becoming a federally recognized tribe on Oct. 10, 1980.

The event typically draws more than 500 individuals to the tribal lands, located on the Foxcroft Road. 

Registration will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday, with opening activities following at 10 a.m. with a smudging and pipe ceremony. Smudging is a purification ritual that is traditionally performed before all Native American events.

This event is open to the public and is drug and alcohol free. 

A ceremonial grand entry will take place around 11 a.m., featuring tribal drumming and dance. From noon to 4 p.m., a variety of food vendors will be on hand, bingo will be played and a collection of children’s games are slated, along with pony rides.

The day will conclude in the newly expanded Maliseet Community Center with a community feast at around 5 p.m.

On Friday evening, a sweat lodge event will be held at the Fasting Grounds for tribal members.

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