First Light Community

First Light is a collaboration across land trusts, state and federal agencies, funders, advocacy organizations, botanical gardens, timber companies, and other non-native, land-focused organizations across this land now called Maine. This community began developing through our first meetings in 2017; since that time, more than sixty-five organizations have been involved. First Light is made possible by commitment of time, energy, and heart from folks across these organizations.

Today, we ask organizations in our community to articulate their commitment to this work through First Light Community statements of intention. In these statement, organizations describe how they will work towards Wabanaki access to land and waters through organizational change, resource sharing, and constant and continued learning. Each organization decides their own path and pace, and makes commitments that match their capacity and resources. First Light staff and partners work to provide support in any way they need. 

In 2024, we'll begin posting First Light Community statements on this page. We will post once we've received a critical mass of statements that reflects the collective movement of this community. Read on to learn more about making your own organizational commitment. Reach out to see existing statements and learn how we can support your organization in this process. 

Our Process of Collective Commitment

We invite you to commit to this collective work of transformation. To be part of the First Light community, organizations will need to state how they intend to work in solidarity with Wabanaki people and in community with other non-native organizations who together make up First Light. Every organization will make different commitments appropriate to each one's unique attributes; each path will include different stepping stones towards deepened solidarity with Wabanaki people. 

Paths for committing to collective work:

  • Learning together and holding each other accountable through continued engagement and connection with each other. 
  • Using the name First Light (rather than our individual organization names) on shared projects, in recognition that we all have a stake in making every Wabanaki land access project a success.
  • Contributing annually to the Wabanaki Self-Determination Fund.
  • Revising organizational mission/purpose statements to recognize the denial of Wabanaki land relationship, and committing at a core mission level to restoring Wabanaki relationships with land.
  • Seeking additional organizational education through Wabanaki REACH trainings and First Light Courses.
  • Changing the organization’s Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws so that, should the organization dissolve, decisions around how to distribute its assets would occur in consultation with the Wabanaki Commission or other Wabanaki entity.
  • Establishing 2 staff members within the organization to serve as liaisons for accountability to these commitments and help continue and grow the internal learning. 
  • Developing a land acquisition consultation process so that Wabanaki needs can proactively shape land acquisition outcomes.
  • Pursuing your own processes to develop and institute creative changes unique to your organization which truly share decision-making, resources, programs, facilities, and land with Wabanaki communities.
  • Creating, discussing, and submitting a letter of commitment to the First Light Community.

Read the full First Light Community program description.

Considering your Committment?

As your organization considers its commitment, please reach out for support to Community Catalyst, Kara Wooldrik.