Honorary degree recipient Molly Neptune Parker gave a talk on campus during commencement weekend on Passamaquoddy basket making traditions. A native of Indian Township, Maine, Neptune Parker is a master Passamaquoddy basketweaver. An artist, educator, and community leader, she has earned national and international recognition for the proud tradition of Pasamaquoddy basketmaking. The matriarch of four generations of artists, she shares generously of her legacy and expertise.
A true tradition-bearer, she has taught generations of tribal members across the country to weave, ensuring the continuance of this once-endangered Native art form. She has served as president of the Maine Indian Basketmakers’ Alliance and as a master teacher in the Maine Arts Commission’s traditional arts apprenticeship program.
She has demonstrated her craft at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and is a recipient of a 2012 National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellowship, the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts; the Fellowship recognizes artists for both artistic excellence and efforts to conserve America’s traditional arts heritage for future generations. Mrs. Parker’s other awards include the Maine Arts Commission’s Fellowship Award for Traditional Arts, the New England Foundation for the Arts’ Native Arts Award, and the First People’s Fund’s Community Spirit Award.