Passamaquoddy Youth Leader in South Africa
A 25 year old Passamaquoddy man is in South Africa this week to take part in a gathering of young leaders.
George Soctomah Neptune of Indian Township is one of more than 100 young people from 20 nations attending the World Summit of Nobel Laureates' Global Youth Indaba in Cape Town.
The term indaba is from a Zulu word meaning 'business'.
"I guess I want to bring back inspiration for the youth in my community, " says Neptune. "To tell them that being proud of your culture and keeping our traditions alive is a good thing."
Neptune is known in Maine as a weaver of traditional ash baskets, and is an educator at the Abbe Museum.
Neptune was nominated by the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization, to attend the 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, but that event was put on hold when nominees refused to attend after the South African government denied the Dalai Lama an entry visa.
But Neptune says he's choosing to take part in this week's youth indaba to learn new peace and bridge-building skills, and find new ways to inspire Wabanaki youth, who he says sometimes struggle to be heard in society.
"We can teach youth within our communities that they have a voice and that they're allowed to use it." says Neptune.
As a condition of nomination, each delegate must launch a project upon returning from the conference. Neptune, who has a degree in theatre from Dartmouth College, is planning to develop a series of dramatic monologues with Passamaquoddy youth, which will be performed throughout Maine's Wabanaki communities.