Growing up in Millinocket and spending most of my life here, the word culture wasnít a word that was heard much, but we did have culture.
We had movie theatres and before movies, we had vaudeville shows come to town on the train.
As far as I know, none of the theatres got any money from the town and there werenít any federal or state grants at that time. All the theatres were run as a business and to make a profit.
Since the word culture means different things to people, it is a word that should not be used as it is being used in Millinocket. It is being used as a buzz word, making some people lose sight of what is important to the people of Millinocket. What Millinocket needs more than anything else right now are jobs, as they have culture.
For me, culture means the woods of North America, since hunting and fishing are part of my heritage. That is something that we are losing, thanks to The Nature Conservancy and all their friends.
The Wilderness Society doesnít like roads, nor hunting. If there is no road, how will the fishermen get to the ponds to fish? If there is no hunting, will the hunters have to go to the cultural center to see stuffed animals displayed there that they have hunted for years?
Also part of my culture, our heritage was logging and saw mills, and they are gone now, and going. Working in the paper room at the mill was also part of my heritage and that is almost gone.
Camps on the lakes will also be something of the past for my family unless they have the money to keep their camps.
Yes, we are losing both our culture and our heritage, and a million dollar building will not replace anything that we will lose. The Nature Conservancy and their many friends claim they want to preserve our culture, but it will be in a building not in the woods of Northern Maine.
My family history is mine and to be shared with other family members. Maybe someday I will give it to the town but only if it is part of the Historical Society and never if the Historical Society is taken over by the Cultural Center.
Much time and money has already been spent. I didnít receive any grant money from the state nor from the government, and I don't plan to go before the town council asking for money.
I did receive help from many people who wrote books about their family genealogy, and to them I owe a lot. From them, I learned about my Acadian Ancestors and the early history of the French Canadians, my ancestors who settled in Old Town, Maine. To all of them, it was a labor of love, pride in their ancestors, and we all are proud of our heritage in the woods of North America.
Any cultural center that will be built in Millinocket will not represent my culture. Last year it was supposed to be a for-profit community center, and that is what it should be, not a non-profit cultural center that will have little culture in it.
The Nature Conservancy, the Wilderness Society, RESTORE, and all the other organizations that are part of them, are not friends of mine. They will destroy my heritage so that future generations of my family will not know the woods of North America as their ancestors have.
That is the new reality.