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Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Posted by Hazel Onsrud on September 28th, 2017


Columbus Day is a State Holiday in Maine, but after an 8-1 vote, in the jurisdiction of Brunswick, the second Monday of October will also be recognized as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Like Brunswick, many cities have chosen to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the second Monday in October.


The juxtaposition to Columbus Day was a deliberate act to shift the focus of the holiday to the exploring the myths associated with Columbus Day, the realities of colonization, and each area’s Native American history, modern resilience, and stories worth celebrating.


While the holiday is often called “Indigenous Peoples’ Day,” different American Indian Tribes and individuals are likely to use unique descriptions to note their identity. These will vary across the region and the world. The first recognition of an alternative to Columbus Day was believed to be officially sanctioned and celebrated in Berkeley, California in 1992.   While the United Nations declared August 6th World Indigenous Day, and the Federal Holiday Calendar recognizes the month of November as Native American Heritage Month, Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a common title used by many municipalities. According to the Museum of the American Indian, what is considered “correct terminology” varies widely.


Indigenous Peoples’ Day has been celebrated with activities that range from pow-wows to book and film discussions. At Curtis we’re proud to host programming by Native Americans. Please join us, at We’re Still Here: Contemporary Indigenous Lifeways, sponsored by Gedakina and the MidCoast Indigenous Awareness Group. We hope you join us.


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The Equifax Data Breach – What to Do?

Posted by sarah brown on September 20th, 2017

If you have a credit report, there’s a good chance that you’re one of the 143 million American consumers whose sensitive personal information was exposed in a data breach at Equifax, one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies. Here’s the latest from the Federal Trade Commission:

The Equifax breach lasted from mid-May through July. The hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people.

There are steps to take to help protect your information from being misused.

  • Find out if your information was exposed. Visit Equifax’s website, Click on the “Potential Impact” tab and enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number. Your Social Security number is sensitive information, so make sure you’re on a secure computer and an encrypted network connection any time you enter it. The site will tell you if you’ve been affected by this breach.
  • Whether or not your information was exposed, U.S. consumers can get a year of free credit monitoring and other services. The site will give you a date when you can come back to enroll.

Here are some other steps to take to help protect yourself after a data breach:

  • Check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — FOR FREE — by visiting Accounts or activity that you don’t recognize could indicate identity theft. Visit to find out what to do.
  • Consider placing a credit freeze on your files. A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. Maine’s file freeze law permits FREE freezing and unfreezing of credit reports.
  • Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely for charges you don’t recognize.
  • File your taxes early — as soon as you have the tax information you need, before a scammer can. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job.

File Freeze Information

Maine’s file freeze law permits FREE freezing and unfreezing of credit reports.

Maine consumers have the right to place a free file freeze on their credit reports with each of the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and Trans Union.  The simplest (and most highly recommended) way to place a file freeze is by telephone. You can also freeze your files by visiting the credit reporting agencies’ secure websites, or by making your request(s) in writing to each agency.

Here is the specific file freeze contact information for each agency:

Equifax: 1-800-349-9960

PO Box 105069
Atlanta, GA  30348


Experian: 1-888-397-3742

PO Box 4500
Allen, TX  75013


Trans Union: 1-888-909-8872

Trans Union
PO Box 2000
Chester, PA  19016

Check with the Maine Consumer Credit Protection for more information.

National Preparedness Month

Posted by Hazel Onsrud on September 13th, 2017

It is easy to turn on the news and become more worried. Yes, there are wonderful people accomplishing great deeds every single day, but we also hear about severe weather events, serious disagreements, and real suffering. What can we do?

The short-answer is “a lot”. Yes, the world’s problems can seem overwhelming, but there is a lot that individuals and groups can do to improve our resilience to challenges, help others and, together, do our part to make the world a “better” place (where, of course, “better” is a highly subjective term). Nationally, this September is National Preparedness Month (NPM) and organizations all over the country are spending some extra time examining their ability to overcome unexpected disasters. The tagline of this campaign is “Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can.”

Learn more at the following links: suggests tackling your to do list with the following schedule:

  • Week 1:  September 1-9                        Make a Plan for Yourself, Family and Friends
  • Week 2:  September 10-16                    Plan to Help Your Neighbor and Community
  • Week 3:  September 17-23                    Practice and Build Out Your Plans
  • Week 4:  September 24-30                    Get Involved! Be a Part of Something Larger

Find support for these actions at the above websites or come to the library and check out some of our relevant titles:

Of course, the focus in this U.S. Government campaign is on natural disasters rather than social issues, conflict resolution, environmental concerns, economic equity, or any number of other thematic areas, but what would happen if we extended this concept of awareness, needs assessment, planning, action, and community engagement into other realms? Many people do; perhaps we all may want to consider joining a team that is working on a challenge close to our interests.

In the meantime, if you’re already behind on September’s schedule, consider joining us at Sustainable ME on October 25th  to learn how to prepare an emergency kit for yourself, your family and your workplace.


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