Aroostook County is home to two federally recognized Native American tribes, the Micmac and Maliseet bands have their tribal governments located in Presque Isle and Houlton respectively. A wonderful way to experience these two native cultures is by attending the Wesget Sipu Pow Wow. Each year on the last weekend in June a traditional festival or Pow Wow is hosted by the Wesget Sipu, a Native American group of Micmac and Maliseets from the town of Fort Kent and surrounding area. This event features traditional Native American drumming, crafts, and dance. The event is a great opportunity to experience these native cultures and the public is invited. For more information call: (207)834-3088 and (207)444-6359.
The Micmac Indians were among the first native North Americans encountered by European explorers to the New World. Their initial contact with Europeans in the early years of the 16th century gradually changed their way of life forever. The chief basis for early Micmac relations with Europeans was trade. During the second half of the 16th century, the fur trade appears to have changed from a subsidiary activity of fishermen to the major occupation of many European sailors. The fur trade had an immediate, and ultimately negative, impact on the Micmacs. The demand for furs dramatically expanded the traditional fur hunting season and thus altered the intricate seasonal cycles of the Micmacs. By reducing the annual periods traditionally spent along the seashore, the Micmacs increased their dependence on European trade goods and food, and therefore were left more susceptible to sudden famines. This also caused a radical wild game depletion in their usual hunting areas and ultimately became a motivating factor in acts of warfare among the tribes in the region. Learn More >>
Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians
The Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians (HBMI) is a small band of the larger Maliseet Nation, a Native American Indian tribe of North America. The aboriginal ancestors of the 590 present (1996) Band members traditionally lived and hunted off the land in the Saint John Valley watershed and throughout Aroostook County. By the 1870's non-Indians had completely settled Aroostook County. Their arrival had created tremendous disruption in the Maliseet's traditional hunting and gathering economy. Houlton, an area frequently visited by migratory Maliseet families, eventually became a focus for Maliseet settlement. Learn More >>