Spirits Alive: First Lecture of 2010 Series – Capacity Crowd Listens to Talk on Local Indians


"Tad" Baker} By Carol McCracken (Post # 381)

“North American Indians had a sense of property ownership,” said Emerson W. Baker, former history professor at Salem State College and now a dean at the Masssachusetts College. Baker cited several examples of Indians who sold their property to the white man, and according to property deeds reserved the right to fish on the property and reside there for the duration of their lives. Baker said this and much more in a fascinating lecture at the Maine Historical Society, Saturday. January 30 at 10:00 am. The event was hosted by Spirits Alive.

While there is little known about the Indians in the Casco Bay area, they have become a symbol for the environmental movement. They adapted to their environment by the use of “wood, bark, stone and other natural materials.” The introduction of agricultural products such as corn was a major lifestyle change for the Indians. But the much more significant lifestyle change came from the arrival of Europeans to the area. One example of that impact was that the Indians had no immunity to the diseases that Europeans brought with them. Between 1616-1619, 70 – 90% of local Indians died due to European illnesses.

The Indians around Casco Bay was the topic of the first in a three part series of lectures sponsored by Spirits Alive and held at the Maine Historical Society on Congress Street. The second lecture is to be held on Saturday, February 27 at 10:00 am. Author James L. Nelson, will talk about privateers-armed private ships licensed to attack enemy shiping – in New England.

The third and final lecture in the series will be held on Saturday, March 27, at 10:00 am. Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr., Director of the Maine Historic Preservation Commission will present a slide lecture on the history of Munjoy Hill. The lecture is called – “The Historical Developoment of Munjoy Hill.”

Mr. Baker is the author of “The Devil of Great Island, Withcraft & Conflict in Early New England.” He also wrote the first chapter in Joseph A. Comforti’s book – “Creating Portland.” Both books can be purchased at Border’s in South Portland for $24.95 each.

Admission to the