By artist Arla Patch
Given that MollyOckett (Abenaki woman 1740-1816) lived before photography, I wanted to attempt to depict what she might have looked like. This portrait also seeks to honor her, as she has never been forgotten in our community. The MollyOckett Day Festival, started 58 years ago, carries her name to acknowledge the contribution she made to the health and wellbeing of the early settlers of this area. MollyOckett was a midwife, herbalist and healer who never took money for her services. She never lost her connection to her own culture, traditions and way of life and yet also established lasting relationships with the non-native community.
MollyOckett was said to be a handsome woman, who was tall and stood very straight. She is wearing a “peaked cap” characteristic of the Abanaki at that time. She is surrounded by some of the medicinal plants that are still used today by the Wabanaki. Starting in the upper left corner are black berries and at the top center, Cow Parsnip. Wild strawberries are in the right hand corner with cedar below them. Fiddleheads are on the middle right hand side with white pine underneath. Red clover is in the bottom right hand corner. Blueberries are on the bottom left with Balsam Fir in the left corner. Above that Chaga is growing on the white birch with Flag Root above that.