Obituary of Allen Sockabasin
Md-doc-mig-goog (Peter Dana Point) - Allen J. Sockabasin, passed away in Bangor, Maine, surrounded by his loving family, with music and prayer easing the journey on April 29, 2018.
A Native Nul-lem-kehw, he was born at Md-doc-mig-goog on November 14, 1944, the son of William (Lola) and Josephine (Sacoby) Sockabasin and raised in the wealth of Passamaquoddy language, traditions, values and beliefs. He saw and experienced disenfranchisement through the generations and worked diligently to rebuild spirituality and strong Native communities that would reflect the traditional values of helping those in need and practicing inclusion, not exclusion. A strong work ethic, passion for the language and protection of ancestral homelands guided his life. He was a tireless advocate for those in need and was quick to offer a meal, help with shelter, support on the path to sobriety, caring, kindness and respect. He dedicated many years of service to Wabanaki Health and Wellness, directly serving Native people in the Bangor area and Native communities statewide.
Allen was a master musician, singer, songwriter, storyteller, teacher and advocate who shared the teachings, spiritual guidance, and cultural heritage of the traditional Passamaquoddy language through his music. He devoted countless hours to restoring and revitalizing the language, using traditional and contemporary art forms including music, art and theatre, and volunteering to teach anyone who wanted to learn. He developed a phonetic language system to facilitate language learning and teaching. He shared his language, traditions and culture with diverse groups of people performing and presenting in classrooms and jam sessions throughout the region. Allen’s published works include a children’s book, Thanks to the Animals and an autobiography, An Upriver Passamaquoddy. He developed, performed and produced six albums of Passamaquoddy music.
His community activism took shape in the late 60’s and early 70’s, when he stood up to defend tribal territory from further encroachment and advocate for the needs of his people. Breaking from dependency and re-building Native self- sufficiency was his driving force. He served both as Tribal Governor and Council member at Indian Township, before turning to focus more fully on his language efforts.
Allen founded Nee-loon, (All of us together), to carry out our collective responsibility to support the restoration of the Passamaquoddy language through immersion, art, music and education. He was frequently called upon to sing for Native elders and their families who found solace in his music and to remember loved ones with Passamaquoddy songs. He believed that our language has good medicine and holds the key to survival and healing in our communities.
Surviving are his five children, Brenda Sockabasin Sullivan, Nancy Sockabasin Jones and husband, Joel, Lisa Sockabasin and husband, Thomas, Kendra Dana Sockabasin and Allen Zoo-zap Sockabasin; several other children he considered his own, including Johnny, Lauren, Charles, Noah, Adrienne, and Jonathan; his grandchildren Joseph, Paige, Cole, Caroline, Kennedy, Lola and Anthony; one sister, Alice Marie Lola; and psee-de-when ala-gomug (everyone he’s related to). He was predeceased by a son, Joseph Wiseman; a sister, Mary Socoby Devoe; and brothers Simon, Edward, Samuel, Herbert, William Jr, Henry and George Sockabasin. Special people in his life include Sharon Tomah, The Perrin Family, Madonna Arsenault, Jeff Jordan, and Joyce Sullivan.
A service honoring and celebrating Allen’s life will be held 11 AM Friday, May 4, 2018 at Hammond St. Congregational Church, Hammond St., Bangor. A private viewing will be held for close friends and family at 10AM prior to the service. Burial will be at a later date at Peter Dana Point. In lieu of flowers, donations to carry on his work may be made to Nee-loon, P.O. Box 349 Princeton, Maine 04468. Arrangements trusted to Kiley & Foley Funeral Service, Bangor and Brewer. Messages and memories may be shared with his family at kileyandfoley.com.
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