INDIAN ISLAND, ME (News Center) --The five commissioners who will conduct Maine's Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission have been named. Former and now incoming Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, Gkisedtanamoogk, a member of the Wampanoag Nation, Gail Werrbach, Diector of UMaine's School of Social Work, Sandy White Hawk, a member of the Lakota-Sioux Nation and Carol Wishcamper of Freeport will lead the process.
The Commission is the first in the nation to address generations of forced assilmilation of native children into white society - often without permission of parents or tribes.
Over the next two years, Commissioners will conduct a fact-finding phase, will hold hearings where both native victims and state workers who were doing as they were told to will testify and then finally, the Commission will release findings and recommendations to improve the native child welfare system.
Kathy has been following this story and was at Indian Island for the announcement of Commissioners and talked with Commissioner Gail Werrbach, Penobscot Chief Kirk Francis and Esther Attean, who helped organize the Commission.