Maine Historical Society

MAINE HISTORICAL SOCIETY

PRESERVING HISTORY
ENGAGING MINDS
CONNECTING MAINE

On-Demand Programs

Voices from the Barrens - a film discussion

Recorded on November 4, 2020

The film Voices from the Barrens documents the wild blueberry harvest of the Wabanaki People from the USA and Canada. The film focuses on the Passamaquoddy tribe's challenge to balance blueberry hand raking traditions with the economic realities of the world market, which favor mechanical harvesting. Each August, First People of the Canadian Wabanaki, the Mi'kmaq and Maliseet tribes, cross the US/Canada border into Maine to take part in the tradition of hand raking blueberries with their Passamaquoddy brothers and sisters. This crossing to Maine's blueberry barrens is not considered "agricultural labor," but is a part of the traditional harvest from the earth. In this video, some of the documentary's directors, producers, and participants discuss the film and the importance of the story it tells.