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Donna M. Loring Lecture Series

The Maine Women Writers Collection sponsors the Donna M. Loring Lecture Series, which addresses current or historic Native American or aboriginal issues, indigenous rights, as well as women’s issues, civil rights, and issues of fairness and equality as they overlap with the concerns of tribal peoples.

Upcoming Lectures

Racial Justice in Maine State Policy: Understanding the Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous, and Tribal Populations

October 6, 2021 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Online on Zoom: https://une.zoom.us/j/94186117046 Meeting ID: 941 8611 7046 or watch live at: www.une.edu/live

The Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous, and Tribal Populations was established in 2019 to examine systemic racial disparities in Maine and advise all three branches of Maine government on public policy changes that would make racial equity a central consideration in Maine lawmaking. Why is the Commission needed? What has it accomplished thus far, and what urgent matters is it taking up this fall? Through informal conversation with Donna Loring and audience Q&A, the guest speakers will address these and other important questions.

Speakers:

  • Rachel Talbot Ross, Assistant House Majority Leader, Maine House of Representatives
  • Maulian Dana, Penobscot Nation Tribal Ambassador
  • Donna M. Loring, Penobscot Nation Elder and former Representative, Maine State Legislature

Rachel Talbot Ross, Assistant House Majority Leader, Maine House of Representatives

Rep. Rachel Talbot Ross is a ninth-generation Mainer who has dedicated her career to public service and social justice. In addition to serving as the City of Portland’s Director of Equal Opportunity and Multicultural Affairs for more than two decades, she led the NAACP in aine and founded several nonprofit organizations, including Maine Black Community Development, Maine Freedom Trails and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Fellows. Talbot Ross chaired the Maine State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights as well as the African American Collection of Maine, housed at the University of Southern Maine. Talbot Ross is currently serving her third term in the Maine House, representing the Portland neighborhoods of Parkside, Bayside, East Bayside, Oakdale and the University of Southern Maine campus. She serves the Democratic caucus as assistant House majority leader and is the first and only Black woman elected to the Maine Legislature and to legislative leadership.

Maulian Dana, Penobscot Nation Tribal Ambassador

Ambassador Maulian Dana was appointed by Penobscot Nation Chief Kirk Francis in September 2017. As Ambassador, Dana is responsible to act as a representative of the Penobscot Nation and to serve as a liaison for the Nation at the local, state and federal levels of government to educate and advocate for policy and laws that impact and protect the Penobscot Nation’s sovereignty, culture, natural resources and the general welfare of the Penobscot people. Prior to serving as Ambassador, Dana served as an elected member of the Penobscot Tribal Council. Ambassador Dana grew up on Indian Island within the Penobscot Nation’s Reservation. She graduated from the University of Maine in Orono with a degree in political science.

Donna M. Loring, Penobscot Nation Elder and former Representative, Maine State Legislature

Honorable Donna M. Loring is an elder and former council member of the Penobscot Indian Nation and has held the position of the Nation’s Representative to the Maine State Legislature for over a decade. She recently served as the Senior Advisor of Tribal Affairs to Maine Governor Janet Mills. She holds an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Maine-Orono and ‘The Alumni Career Recognition’ Award from the University of Maine Alumni Association. She was recently recognized with the Annual “Courage is Contagious” Award from the Maine School of Law.

About Donna Loring

close-up black and white headshot of Donna Loring.
Donna Loring

Author and legislator Donna Loring grew up on Indian Island and graduated from the University of Maine at Orono with a B.A. in political science. Loring is a Vietnam veteran, her professional background is in law enforcement, and she is a graduate of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy. She was the first woman police academy graduate to become police chief in the state of Maine and served as the police chief for the Penobscot Nation during the 1980s. Loring was appointed aide de camp to then-governor Angus King and was advisor to the governor on women veterans’ affairs.

Donna Loring served as the Penobscot Nations Representative to the Maine State Legislature from 1998-2003, and again from 2007-2008. During her legislative career, Loring authored and sponsored LD 291 An Act to Require Teaching Maine Native American History and Culture in Maines Schools, which was signed into law in 2001.The law is changing the way Maine views its history.

Loring’s book, In the Shadow of the Eagle (Tilbury House, 2008) chronicles her experiences as the tribal representative to the State Legislature. In 2011, Donna M. Loring received the Deborah Morton Award from the University of New England, which is awarded to women whose leadership in civic, cultural or social causes has been exceptional. Loring received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Maine in 2017. In 2019, Governor Janet Mills appointed Loring as Senior Advisor on Tribal Affairs to the Governor. In addition to her work in law enforcement and public service, Donna M. Loring is a widely published author who continues to explore new ways to share Wabanaki culture and history with diverse audiences.

The Maine Women Writers Collection acquired Loring’s personal and literary papers in 2009. This acquisition is the first given by a Native American woman to the University’s collections. Loring’s papers enrich the research potential of the MWWC and broaden our collections to represent the varied life experiences of women authors from significant yet traditionally underrepresented groups.

The Donna M. Loring Lecture will be endowed by a generous planned gift by Joanne Murphy, who was Donna Loring’s Commanding Officer during her service in the Vietnam War. If you are interested in making a gift to fund the Donna M. Loring Lecture, please contact Michael Manning in Institutional Advancement.