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Nolan Altvater

Special Projects Cultural Coordinator

Department: Stewardship
Region: Downeast
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Nolan Altvater, Passamaquoddy from Sipayik, currently resides near Panuwapskek (Penobscot Nation Reservation). After growing up in  Sipayik and what is now Aroostook County, they attended the University of Maine studying education where they helped in research revolving around the Wabanaki Studies Law. Following their undergraduate studies, they spent a few years in what is now known as Cambridge at the Harvard Graduate School of Education where they received a master’s degree in education policy. Upon returning to Maine, they spent a year in Bar Harbor as the Curator of Education at the Abbe Museum prior to transitioning to working for the Passamaquoddy Tribe and Maine Coast Heritage Trust. Additionally, they are on the Board for Wabanaki REACH and a member of Sunlight Media Collective.

Through their work, they are interested in visual and curricular storytelling and its role in reconfiguring relationships between people and the land that supports Wabanaki agency, history, and the resurgence of their present-day cultures. Outside of work, they enjoy backpacking, spending much needed time with their cat, and learning birchbark canoe making.

Nolan has been with MCHT since 2023.

On land conservation: “To me, I see conservation as an ongoing practice that has built itself on the dispossession of Indigenous lands and peoples while dismissing our knowledge systems and economies despite the evidence that our presence is critical for being in sustainable relationships in environments. Therefore, any movement that values building a culture that can live sustainably with the Land in what is now Maine must not only include Wabanaki people’s perspectives but give us the agency and infrastructure to do so through supporting the resurgence of our lifeways and cultures.”

On the job: As the Special Projects Cultural Coordinator, I assist the Passamaquoddy tribe’s Cultural Heritage Museum in Motahkomikuk in numerous projects revolving around cultural preservation, which coincides with building a relationship with Maine Coast Heritage Trust through their values of protecting our homelands in what is now Maine.

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