University of New England - Innovation for a Healthier Planet

Donna M. Loring Lecture Series

An annual lecture series addressing 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. Endowed by Joanne Murphy, Donna Loring’s Commanding Officer during her service in the Vietnam War.

Upcoming Lectures

A Salute to Cpt. Joanne Murphy and the Women Who Served in Vietnam.

Speaker: Donna M. Loring. To be held in October; date TBA.

Past Lectures

October 5, 2023
A Reading by Morgan Talty, author of Night of the Living Rez
October 12, 2022
One Nation, Under Fraud: A Remonstrance
OCTOBER 6, 2021
Racial Justice in Maine State Policy: Understanding the Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous, and Tribal Populations
OCTOBER 27, 2020
Racial Health Disparities and COVID-19 in Maine: Shining a Light on Systemic Inequality
OCTOBER 8, 2019
Teaching Wabanaki History and Culture in Maine: Challenges and Opportunities
OCTOBER 1, 2018
Wabanaki Basketmaking Traditions Under Threat? Art, Culture, and the Future of Maine Indian Basketmaking
MARCH 19, 2018
Penobscot Nation v. Janet Mills: A Case of Cultural Identity and Tribal Stewardship
April 6, 2017
“Mary and Molly: In the Spirit of the Ancestors” a play by Donna M. Loring
NOVEMBER 12, 2015
Racism in Maine: Beyond Black and White
OCTOBER 28, 2014
The Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission: New Opportunities for Understanding Post-Colonialism
NOVEMBER 7, 2013
Listening with Fifteen Hearts: Life Stories of Women across Cultures
NOVEMBER 8, 2012
Winona LaDuke: Environmental Justice from a Native Perspective
OCTOBER 11, 2011
Truth and Reconciliation in Maine: a Model of Collaboration and Process of Decolonization
OCTOBER 12, 2010
Out of the Depths: A personal account of a residential school experience and the effects of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s apology many years later
OCTOBER 1, 2009
Weaving Waponahki Policy toward Decolonization

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 2008 book, In the Shadow of the Eagle (DownEast Books, 2023) 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 is endowed by a generous gift from Joanne Murphy. If you are interested in helping to build this endowment by making a gift to fund the Donna M. Loring Lecture, please contact Michael Manning in Institutional Advancement.