Donna M Loring, D.H.L, BA
Donna is an elder and former council member of the Penobscot Indian Nation she held the position of the Nation’s Representative to the Maine State Legislature for twelve years. Her legislative service ended on October 1st, 2008.
She is presently The Senior Advisor on Tribal Affairs to Governor Janet Mills.
She hosts her own radio show, Wabanaki Windows at WERU Community Radio in Orland.
She is a graduate of the University of Maine at Orono was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Maine Orono. Her professional background is in law enforcement. Donna served as the Police Chief for the Penobscot Nation from 1984-1990. She was the first woman police academy graduate to become police chief in the State of Maine. In 1992 she became the first woman Director of Security at Bowdoin College, a position she held until March of 1997.
Donna is a Vietnam Veteran.
She served in in Vietnam from November of 1967 to November of 1968. She served during the TET Offensive.
Donna authored and sponsored LD 291 “An Act to Require Teaching Maine Native American History and Culture in Maine’s Schools” Governor Angus King signed the Act into law on June 14th 2001. The law is changing the way Maine views it’s history.
Donna conceptualized and advocated for the first “State of the Tribes Address” in Maine History. Tribal Chiefs addressed a Joint Session of the Legislature on March 11, 2002. The event was carried live on Maine Public Television and Radio.
In May of 2008 Donna’s book titled “In The Shadow of the Eagle A Tribal Representative in Maine” was published. The book is a journal of her experiences in the Maine State Legislature as a Non-voting Tribal Representative.
In March of 2009, Donna donated her legislative and personal papers to the Maine Women Writers Collection at the University of New England where they have been categorized and made available to the public and to scholars for research.
On October 1, 2009 the Women Writers Collection established an annual lecture series in the name of Donna M Loring. The Donna M Loring lecture series is held annually featuring a keynote speaker on Native, Civil Rights, Environmental or equal justice issues.
On September 20th 2011 Donna was inducted into the University of New England’s prestigious Deborah Morton Society on its fiftieth Anniversary when she joined the ranks of such women as Senators Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, author Mary Sarton, internationally known artist Dahlov Ipcar, federal attorney Paula Silsby, Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Court Leigh Saufley and former first lady Mary Hermon to name a few.
On May 13th 2017 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Humane Letters (D.H.L) by the University of Maine Orono.
In The Shadow Of The Eagle A Tribal Representative in Maine
A journal covering two years of my legislative experience as a Tribal Representative in the Maine House. The Penobscot Nation and the Passamaquoddy tribe were given seats without voting rights. We have been seated since 1820 when Maine became a state. Maine is the only state in the nation that allows tribal representation in their legislative bodies. It is a story of my struggles to make the tribes relevant and to protect their sovereignty without a vote.