About First Light

a large room with high ceilings filled with people in chairs who are singing with a man standing in the center whose arms and face are raised in a work song.

Our Work is Community Work

We're a collective of non-Wabanaki land-oriented organizations across Wabanaki homelands. We’re working to transform the conservation movement to center and expand Wabanaki land access, stewardship, and relationship. Together, we work to relearn the history of these lands, recenter Wabanaki voices, and return land, money, and decision-making authority to Wabanaki communities. 

We are all tied together. One organization’s success is all of our success, and one organization's obstacle is all of our chance to learn.

We use the name First Light to reflect that our collective values are more important than individual organizational names or brands. We hope you'll join this web of collaboration.

First Light organization chart: Wabanaki Commission in the center, then First Light Community in next outer layer, followed by First Light Delegation, and with other organizations preparing for this work in the outermost ring

First Light, as a non-native collective, works at the direction of our partner organization, the Wabanaki Commission on Land and Stewardship which represents four nations in five tribal communities: Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians; Mi’kmaq Nation; Passamaquoddy Tribe at Motahkomikuk; Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayik; and Penobscot Nation. The First Light Delegation and staff team work directly with the Commission to identify new work and to share feedback regularly along the way. First Light also acts to support projects that the Commission has undertaken whenever requested.

The First Light Delegation is a group of leaders from across the non-native conservation movement in Maine. Collectively they are liaisons between the conservation community and the Tribes, and they lead First Light in our collaboration with the Commission to develop processes and tools for sharing or returning land. By concentrating these roles, we aim to minimize the administrative and communication burden on Tribal representatives.

The First Light Community is made up of organizations who have participated in shared learning over the years and have made concrete commitments to use their skills and resources to effect change in their own way in support of returning land, money, and decision-making to Wabanaki people.

First Light is also composed of Working Groups, Staff, and Catalysts who have specific roles to play in sustaining the work of First Light. And we are thankful for a broad array of organizations who have participated in First Light programs and contributed to First Light projects.