Donna M. Loring

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Donna M. Loring
Donna M. Loring speaking at Maine Women in Media, Lincolnville, Maine, April 28, 2012.
Donna M. Loring speaking at Maine Women in Media, Lincolnville, Maine, April 28, 2012.
Born (1948-10-01) October 1, 1948 (age 70)
Indian Island, Maine
OccupationAuthor, broadcaster, and tribal representative of the Penobscot nation in the American state of Maine
EducationUniversity of Maine
Alma materMaine Criminal Justice Academy
Notable worksIn the Shadow of the Eagle, The Glooskape Chronicles: Creation and the Venetian Basket
Notable awardsMary Ann Hartman Award
SpouseDeborah Bouchard

Donna M. Loring is an author, broadcaster, and Senior Advisor on Tribal Affairs to the Janet Mills, the governor of Maine[1].

Early life[edit]

Loring grew up on Indian Island, Maine, where she was raised by her grandmother.[2] She received a bachelor's degree of Arts in Political Science from the University of Maine in Orono.[3] She graduated from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy and, in 1984, and became the police chief for the Penobscot nation, making her the Academy's first female graduate to become a police chief. From 1992 to 1997, Loring was the first female director of security at Bowdoin College.[3] During her service in Vietnam, she was stationed at the communications center at Long Binh Army base[3] fifty miles north of Saigon where she processed all casualty reports of Southeast Asia. Former Maine State Governor Angus King commissioned her to honorary Colonel rank, and appointed her as Aide de Camp to advise him on women veteran's affairs.[3] In 1999, she was given the Mary Ann Hartman Award, which recognizes Maine women for accomplishments in the arts, politics, business, education, and community services, from the Women in Curriculum and Women's Studies Program at the University of Maine.[3]

Political career[edit]

Maine is unique in having tribal representatives sit (in a non-voting capacity) in its state legislature.[4] Following this tradition, which dates back to the 1800s, Loring served several terms on behalf of the Penobscots. She supported a bill in 2000 to remove word "squaw" from public site names.[5][6] One of Loring's major accomplishments was her writing and sponsorship of LD 291, "An Act to Require Teaching Maine Native American History and Culture in Maine’s Schools" which passed as a law in 2001.[7] Among her other achievements in the legislature, she created the first "State of the Tribes Address" in the history of Maine. Held in March 2002 and attended by tribal chiefs, the event was broadcast live on Maine Public Television and Radio.[8] Loring also worked on a bill that proposed to extend the time period in which the tribe could purchase land for the Calais Casino.[9] Finally, in April 2008, Loring put before the legislature HP 1681, "Joint Resolution in the Support of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples."[10] This passed unanimously, making Maine the only state in the country to pass such a resolution in favor of the UN Declaration of Indigenous Rights.

Loring is a former member of the Penobscot tribal council.[11] In 2006, she served as a select person for the town of Richmond for almost a year before moving to Bradley.

Writing and public speaking[edit]

Loring hosts a monthly radio show called "Wabanaki Windows" for WERU in Blue Hill, Maine. She has long written about policy and Maine Indian history; but in recent years, she has turned to creative writing. She published a memoir about her years in the Maine Legislature called In the Shadow of the Eagle (2008), which was favorably reviewed in a leading Native American Studies journal, among other sources.[12][13] After studying with the playwright William S. Yellow Robe, Jr., Loring also wrote a musical drama called "The Glooskape Chronicles: Creation and the Venetian Basket," which received national coverage in the newspaper Indian Country Today.[14]


  1. ^
  2. ^ University of New England. "Donna M. Loring: A Penobscot Voice in Politics and Community". University of New England. Archived from the original on 2013-03-22.
  3. ^ a b c d e Dolloff, Aimee (21 April 2008). ""The Eagle" has landed: the Legislature's Tribal Representative, Donna M. Loring, hopes her memoir provides a guide for those who follow in her footsteps". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
  4. ^ Starbird, Glenn (1983). "A Brief History of Indian Legislative Representatives". Maine State Law and Legislative Reference Library. Archived from the original on 26 April 2013. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
  5. ^ "Maine to Decide if "Squaw" is Offensive". Los Angeles Times. 5 Mar 2000. p. 16.
  6. ^ Owings, Alison (2011). Indian Voices: Listening to Native Americans. New Jersey: Rutgers UP. p. 7.
  7. ^ Loring, Donna (Summer 2009). "The Dark Ages of Education and a New Hope". New England Journal of Higher Education: 16–17.
  8. ^ Penobscot Nation. "Penobscot Indian Nation State Representative: Donna Loring". Penobscot Nation. Penobscot Nation. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
  9. ^ Higgins, A.J. "Calais casino land purchase veto sustained; Effect on tribal gaming site proposed for Kittery unclear". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  10. ^ Toensing, Gale Courey (8 May 2008). "Mixed Reviews on United Nations' Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples' Progress". Indian Country Today. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  11. ^ Penobscot Tribal Nation. "Tribal Facts". Penobscot Culture. Penobscot Tribal Nation. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  12. ^ Woods, Cedric (2008). ""In the Shadow of the Eagle" (review)". American Indian Culture and Research Journal. 32 (4): 193–195.
  13. ^ Dowd, William (16 Mar 2010). "Maine Legislature through Eyes of Another Nation". Maine Sunday Telegram. Archived from the original on 30 June 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  14. ^ Toensing, Gale Courey (1 March 2013). ""The Gluskape Chronicles": First Musical Drama Based on Ancient Stories". Indian Country Today. Retrieved 29 April 2013.

External links[edit]