Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Contact: Kristen Schulze Muszynski

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap Congratulates Winners of Native American Essay Contest

AUGUSTA – Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap has announced the names of the winning authors in the 2014 Maine Native American History and Culture Essay Contest today, and congratulated them on their accomplishments.

The essays reflect a tremendous amount of knowledge and research, which is what we were aiming for in this project, said Dunlap. The Wabanaki peoples of Maine have a rich history, which has only recently been a point of emphasis in our educational curricula. The teachers and students in this contest have done a terrific job.

Open to students statewide, the annual contest requires students to explore at least one aspect of Maine Native American History and to write an essay describing what they have learned. 

This year’s top entry in the high school division is that of Dominick Frank, a 10th-grade, home-schooled student from Farmington, whose essay is entitled, “Reliable Transportation in Pre-colonial Maine.” Second place is awarded to Chelsey Frank, also a home-schooled student from Farmington, for her entry, “The Passamaquoddy Land Claim Case:  A Legal Battle for Land.”  Chelsey is in 11th grade.

Middle school top honors go to Carolyn Frank, a home-schooled student from Farmington, for her entry titled, “Ash-Splint Basketry:  A Native Craft.”  In a tie for second place, honors go to both Ethan Brown of Auburn Middle School and Haleigh Chambers of Windsor Elementary School.  Both students are in 8th grade.  Ethan’s essay focuses on Native American stereotypes and Haleigh’s essay, entitled “Molly Ockett” is about a Native American healer. 

The first place winners in each category have been invited to be Secretary Dunlap’s guest for a day in Augusta. Students will tour the State House complex, including the Maine State Archives, where they will be able to view Maine’s original treaties with native peoples and original field books of the early European explorers.

In addition, first place winners will receive a free Abbe Museum experience, either at the museum in downtown Bar Harbor, or an Abbe educator will travel to the winning classroom.  The Abbe offers hands-on, objects based learning experiences for all ages.  Teachers can choose from one of seven pre-designed programs, or work with an Abbe educator to custom-design an experience. For more information about the Abbe Museum and its programs, visit www.abbemuseum.orgor call 288-3519.

Maine law Title 20-A §4706 requires that students be taught Maine Native American history.  This contest provides Maine students with a unique opportunity to share what they have learned in their studies.  Winning essays can be viewed online at To learn more about this contest and other student programs offered by the Office of the Secretary of State, visit