We’ve all had deep discussions with our friends while we’re out at night—why not add a couple of experts to the mix and really take it up a notch? That’s the idea behind Think & Drink, a happy-hour series in Bangor that sparks provocative conversations about big ideas. The series invites you to participate in a facilitated public conversation with panelists who have expertise in the subject at hand. The idea isn’t to create consensus but, rather, to foster an open interplay of viewpoints and perspectives.
University of Maine prof Darren Ranco will be our Bangor Think & Drink host, and the theme is “redefinition;” how do we redefine ourselves as individuals and as a community?
The sessions are free and do not require registration.
Session 2: Redefining Environmentalism
Sherri L. Mitchell, Executive Director, The Land Peace Foundation
Sherri L. Mitchell was born and raised on the Penobscot Indian Reservation, at Indian Island in Maine. Sherri received her J.D. and a certificate in Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy from the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law. While at the University of Arizona, Sherri served as President of the University of Arizona’s Native American Law Student Association and as Treasurer of the National Native Law Student Association. She also served as President of the UA -ACLU and Vice President of the University of Arizona’s Human Rights Organization. Sherri received her BS from the University of Maine, magna cum laude, where she received the Outstanding Student Achievement award from her Department.
Over the past ten years, Sherri has worked as an Educator for the Maine Attorney General’s Civil Rights Division; a law clerk at the United States Department of the Interior, Office of the Solicitor, in Washington DC; an associate with Fredericks, Peebles and Morgan, LLC. in Boulder, Colorado; and, as a legal analyst/advisor to Indigenous and Aboriginal groups across the United States and Canada, from her office in Tucson, Arizona. In 2009, Sherri’s work on nation-state complicity with Indigenous human rights violations won her the Maloney-Dunn International Human Rights and Humanitarian Award.
Prior to law school, Sherri worked as a Business Counselor and Development Coordinator for Four Directions Development Corporation and as the Development and Communications Director for the Maine Women’s Lobby. In addition, Sherri worked as a Community Development and Cultural Awareness Consultant from 1996-2008, which provided her with the opportunity to work with Tribal groups across the United States. She was appointed to the Maine Commission for Community Service in 2004; served on the board of the Maine Council for Adolescent Health from 1999-2000; and, served on the Board of Trustees for Maine Initiatives and their Major Grants Committee. Sherri was an advisor to the Maine Youth Voices Underage Drinking Program and she was a recipient of the Maine Governor’s Community Service Award in 1996, 1997 and 1998.
Sherri has served as a program coordinator to the American Indian Institute’s ‘Healing the Future Program and has been a participant of the Institute’s Traditional Circle of Indian Elders and Youth since 1995. She is an alumni member of two prestigious American Indian Leadership Programs: The American Indian Ambassador Program and the Udall Native American Congressional Internship program.
She is also a published poet, scholar and philosopher.
Nickie Sekera, Assistant Director, SOLO Wilderness Medical School; Fryeburg Water District Trustee
Nickie Sekera is the assistant director of SOLO, the founding school of wilderness medicine in the United States. Nickie came to that position after working in medical clinics in conflict zones of Eastern Burma in a mutual aid capacity. Her work with ethnic minority populations of that region, whose oppression for their natural resources continues to this day, lead her to ongoing commitments in human rights advocacy. After spending eight years in a leadership capacity on the Board of Directors of the US Campaign for Burma in shaping foreign policy through building a grassroots movement, she decided to take her experiences and act locally.
Inspired by her young son’s inquiry process, Nickie switched gears from Capitol Hill-based work to activism within the climate justice movement, focusing on water privatization issues in rural Maine. She was the founder of the Community Water Justice network and most recently elected as a Trustee to the Fryeburg Water District. She is a mentor and adviser to several youth leadership projects and works closely with her son on leadership skills to meet the demands of the next generation.