Gifts From Gluskabe: Maine Indian Art Forms

Text by Gretchen Faulkner and John Mayer

Images from Hudson Museum and Maine Historical Society

Gluskabe, a hero of the Wabanaki people, created the Indians and taught them how to make tools and how to create all they needed, while respecting the land and resources and using them wisely.

Featuring items from the collections of the Hudson Museum at the University of Maine, this exhibit demonstrates how the artistry used to create these objects was deeply connected to the natural world.

Klose-kur-be (Gluskabe), the Man from Nothing . . .
He was their Teacher!
He taught them how they must live

-- Joseph Nicolar, 1893

Gluskabe's lessons about respecting nature and using its resources wisely are reflected in Maine Indian arts.

Gluskabe taught Indians how to use and respect the land and the resources around them. The traditions are passed down from generation to generation of Wabanakis -- Micmac, Maliseets, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot Indians of Maine.

Those teaching back up Maine Indian artists' use of materials as well as forms and designs on tools, baskets, beadwork, and other items they created for personal use or for sale.

The skills and art forms that arose from Gluskabe have continued through many generations, with innovations added by each artist.

This three-part online exhibit is based on a gallery exhibit at the Maine Historical Society from February 15 to June 1, 2008. The BHA Foundation Fund and the Elsie A. Brown Fund sponsored it. Gretchen Faulkner is Director of the Hudson Museum at the University of Maine. John Mayer is Curator at the Maine Historical Society.

Click on the links below the images to view Part I: Early Indian Objects and Baskets; Part II: Tools and Woodworking; and Part III: Birchbark, Beads and Continuing Traditions.