JUNE 10, 1941

PENOBSCOT-MOHAWK POET, ARTIST, ACTIVIST SSIPSIS (EUGENIA T. THOMAS) BORN

Thomas, whose mother was Mohawk and her father Penobscot, was raised on Indian Island, Maine, by Eugenia Mary Thomas. Eugenia’s Penobscot name meant “Little Bird.” Graduating from Colby College, Eugenia became a social worker and earned a Ford Foundation fellowship. Thomas led a protest in 1970 in Old Town, Maine, regarding a Penobscot treaty agreement. Also known for her birch-bark etchings, her art often reflected her dedication to tribal rights. Eugenia was also editor of the Maine Indian Newsletter during the 1960s and 1970s. Her poetry and stories, her artwork, her lectures and books all contributed to the advancement of Indigenous Peoples. Later on, she demonstrated true Native lifestyle in the woods of Northern Maine for twenty years, with her Passamaquoddy esteemed best friend Georgia “Tuffy” Mitchell, (whom she referred to as Molly Molasses). She never ceased to create art and literature. ssipsis died on October 27, 2015, on Indian Island.

Sources:
  “ssipsis,” Bangor Daily News, 10/30/2015.  Retrieved 11/20/2021, ssipsis (bangordailynews.com)
Wikipedia
Photo: Chumler, 1/14/2019. Permissive Use. 

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