Dwayne Tomah Named a 2024 Lunder Institute Fellow

The Colby College Museum of Art’s Lunder Institute for American Art is pleased to announce that it has selected Dwayne Tomah, a Passamaquoddy language teacher and keeper of culture, for a year-long fellowship to support his community-based practice.

As the youngest fluent speaker of the Passamaquoddy language, his life has been dedicated to language and culture preservation. Tomah has edited the Passamaquoddy dictionary and worked to help create his tribe’s Passamaquoddy language app for iOS. He is currently working with the Library of Congress on translating the Passamaquoddy Wax Cylinders. These recordings are the first recordings in the world of Native languages. They were recorded in 1890 by Jesse Walter Fewkes, who borrowed the device from the inventor Thomas Edison.

Tomah has served on the Passamaquoddy Tribal Council and has been involved in repatriation and Land Back issues. He shares historical truth regarding the Doctrine of Discovery from an Indigenous perspective, as well as Native legends through song and dance. In collaboration with Colby Arts, the Lunder Institute will organize multiple points of engagement with him over the course of his fellowship.