Handmade embroidery, salsa recipes, and lotería (a Mexican bingo game) are just some of the traditions that community members shared at the Milbridge Elementary School on Friday, February 16th. As part of an event open to the entire community, students and families gathered in the school’s gymnasium to share something from their cultural background or heritage. It was an opportunity for all students to celebrate and learn from one another.
The evening featured a Mi’kmaq song and drumming led by a grandfather in the community. The song grounded the event in affirming the presence of Native communities in Downeast Maine. Members of the Latinx and immigrant community presented their own traditions as well, including food, games, and clothing.
In a parallel event, three community members organized a cultural exchange at the Peninsula School in Prospect Harbor on March 12th. There, students made papel picado and learned about the significance of this craft in Day of the Dead celebrations. They also learned a traditional dance and enjoyed a meal of homemade tacos. Creating these spaces for cross-cultural exchange and celebration is a valuable way to facilitate important conversations about inclusion and representation in the places where we live, learn, and work.
Have a look at some more photos from the events on flickr: