Land Acknowledgement

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is located on the homeland of the Wabanaki, The People of the First Light, including the Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Maliseet, Abenaki, and Mi’kmaq Nations. The Gardens’ land is part of the broader territory Waponahkik, now known as Maine, that was never ceded.  

Throughout history, this region has been the homeland of the Abenaki Tribe and other tribal peoples of the Midcoast. Generations of Indigenous relationships with the land and waterways have been woven into this landscape and continue to this day.  

Despite this deep connection, Wabanaki dispossession from their lands also continues into our present time. The health of our planet will only be improved when Wabanaki people have access to the plants, lands, and lifeways integral to Indigenous sovereignty. At the Gardens, we are forging pathways to support this work, and we invite our guests and partners to join us as we continue to learn from these relationships. 

Frequently Asked Questions

A land acknowledgement expresses respect and gratitude to both this land and the people for whom this land is home. Further, an acknowledgement supports the larger work of truth-telling and reconciliation, a first step toward healing and change. It is one piece of creating greater public awareness of the history that has led us to this moment. 

While a land acknowledgement itself is a small step, it represents a commitment to an ongoing relationship with Wabanaki nations that seeks to address past harm and support a new path forward.   

You can read more about land acknowledgements in this Guide and Call to Acknowledgement, which helped shape and inform our efforts. 

There are many reasons a land acknowledgement is particularly important at this moment in our history on this land. Wabanaki nations continue to experience fewer rights than other federally recognized tribes across the US, and access to many traditional lands and waters remains contested.  

The ongoing reclamation of cultural lifeways is indivisible from this work toward greater sovereignty in the lands now known as Maine.  Land acknowledgements can inspire reflection and action by their reminder that colonization is ongoing – and call attention to the many counterefforts for change. 

You can learn more about the inseparable connections of sovereignty, culture, and land by watching a recording of Wabanaki Homeland and Land Relations, a panel discussion of Wabanaki conservation leaders from May 2023, or check out our additional links on this page.

The Gardens is actively working to build relationships and collaborate with Wabanaki communities. Some of our projects are a new Three Sisters Garden in collaboration with Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness, our support of collaborative Ash protection efforts with Ash Protection Collection Across Wabanakik, and selling the work of Wabanaki makers and artists in our Gardenshop 

We are also working to bring Wabanaki instructors to our public programs, and are continually learning from Wabanaki partners about how to support Indigenous priorities and values in our work. The Gardens are always free of charge during the regular season to members of Wabanaki Nations.

We would love to hear from you. Send us a note to and we will share your thoughts with our team.

There are lots of resources to support continual learning about Wabanaki Nations and Wabanaki-led organizations. Below is a partial sampling. 

Learn About Wabanaki Nations 

Abbe Museum 

Passamaquoddy Peoples’ Knowledge Portal 

Holding Up the Sky: Wabanaki people, culture, history & art 

Midcoast Indigenous Awareness Group 

Support Wabanaki Led Organizations 

Wabanaki Alliance 

Wabanaki Public Health & Wellness 

Wabanaki REACH 

Wabanaki Self Determination Fund 

Would you like to see your organization added to this list? Please let us know! 

Learn More about Land Acknowledgements