Image by Ronnie Farley

WATIE AKINS

 

TRIBE: Penobscot

MEDIUM: Music

LOCATION: Brewer, Maine

 

2013 COMMUNITY SPIRIT AWARD HONOREE

 

Born and raised on Indian Island on the Penobscot Reservation in Maine, Watie is proud to pass on his music, Penobscot music that was performed by his tribe's grandfathers. Authenticity is very important to Watie who says, "my art has helped strengthen me to realize and focus on the fact that if you are giong to be Penobscot, you must do Penobscot things...only by bringing back the traditional ways can we strengthen our communities."

Watie's apprenticeship programs teach not only traditional songs but also various drum beats and use of the rattle. These programs have gone a long way in bringing back the tribe's traditional music into regular use by teaching it in schools and youth groups.

Watie has devoted his life researching, collecting and teaching,  traditional music and instruments of the Abenaki people. He has produced two CD's which are used by local schools and music teachers. His music books with transcriptions, serve as a record of music that had been forgotten or lost.

 

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A PASSIONATE PURSUIT: A PROFILE ON WATIE AKINS, JULY 2013