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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: RSVP to to receive the link or watch live at

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.

Speakers: Commission co-chairs, Maulian Dana, Penobscot Nation Tribal Ambassador, and Rachel Talbot Ross, State Representative and Assistant Majority Leader of the Maine House of Representatives.  

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.

Loring was also Penobscot Tribal Representative to the Maine State Legislature. Among her legislative accomplishments, Loring authored and sponsored LD 291 “An Act to Require Teaching Maine Native American History and Culture in Maine’s Schools.” Governor Angus King signed the Act into law on June 14th 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.