Donald Soctomah, Passamaquoddy, resides on the Passamaquoddy reservation at Indian Township. He serves as the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Passamaquoddy Tribe, where he works with both the U.S. and Canadian governments on the protection of culturally significant sites, artifacts and knowledge.
Donald received his Doctorate in Humanities, from the University of Maine at Machias in 2006; a degree in the Professional and Advanced Study of Silviculture from Michigan Tech/Suny College in 1998 and a BS in Forestry from the University of Maine at Orono in 1984. He worked for the United States Forest Service from 1985-1988 and for the Passamaquoddy Tribal Forestry Department from 1988-1996, having served as the Director of that department for several years. He worked as a Forest Silviculturist from 1996-1999, where he administered a program that inventoried 150,000 acres and updated the Passamaquoddy Tribal Mapping System.
In 1999 Donald was elected to the Maine State Legislature, where he was successful in passing legislature on the protection of Native American Grave sites; the protection of Native American Archaeological sites; the requirement to teach Wabanaki History for all Maine k-12 schools and; the removal of Offensive Place Names from geographical landmarks in Maine. Donald served four non-consecutive terms in the Maine Legislature between 1999 and 2011. He is viewed as being one of the most influential and well liked legislators in Passamaquoddy history, having created alliances with individuals and groups from across the globe during his tenure.
Donald Soctomah is an accomplished writer and filmmaker. He has authored seven books on Passamaquoddy History and Culture, co-authored three children’s books and written dozens of articles, opinion pieces and position papers on subjects ranging from the cultural significance of the land and water to the decline and mortality of the Red Spruce tree in West Virginia. Donald has served as the tribal historian on films for the Discovery Channel, History Channel, Animal Planet and NPBS. In addition, he Produced or Associate Produced several local films, including: Healing Woods: Native relations with nature; N’Tolompemk: the Story of Passamaquoddy, and; the “History of the PassTribe.” Donald has served on the board of the following organizations: the Library of Early Maine Literature; the Downeast Heritage Center; the Abbe Museum; the Maine Rural Development council; the UN’s Commission for Environmental Cooperation, Gulf of Maine; St. Croix International Waterway Commission; the National Inter-Tribal Timber Commission and; the Maine Tribal State Commission, Fish and Wildlife Committee.