The Cost of Free Land with Rebecca Clarren: JCA Author Engagement Series

Nov 16, 2023 6:00PM—7:30PM


JCA 1342 Congress St Portland, ME 04102

Cost $9.00

Event Contact Ilana Gilg | Email

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Please join us for a special, inaugural JCA Author Engagement Series talk and panel discussion. Author Rebecca Clarren will be joined by panelists Michael-Corey F. Hinton, and Donna Loring for a discussion moderated by Rabbi Andy Bachman around the question "What does it mean to survive oppression only to perpetuate and benefit from the oppression of others?" Clarren's book will be available to purchase from our friends at Longfellow Books and there will be a book signing following the event.

Growing up, Rebecca Clarren only knew the major plot points of her tenacious immigrant family’s origins. Her great-great-grandparents, the Sinykins, and their six children fled antisemitism in Russia and arrived in the United States at the turn of the 20th century, ultimately settling on a 160-acre homestead in South Dakota. Over the next few decades, despite tough years on a merciless prairie and multiple setbacks, the Sinykins became an American immigrant success story.

What none of Clarren’s ancestors ever mentioned was that their land, the foundation for much of their wealth, had been cruelly taken from the Lakota by the United States government. By the time the Sinykins moved to South Dakota, America had broken hundreds of treaties with hundreds of Indigenous nations across the continent, and the land that had once been reserved for the seven bands of the Lakota had been diminished, splintered, and handed for free, or practically free, to white settlers. In The Cost of Free Land: Jews, Lakota, and an American Inheritance, Clarren melds investigative reporting with personal family history to reveal the intertwined stories of her family and the Lakota, and the devastating cycle of loss of Indigenous land, culture, and resources that continues today. With deep empathy and clarity of purpose, Clarren grapples with the personal and national consequences of this legacy of violence and dispossession. By shining a light on the people and families tangled up in this country’s difficult history, The Cost of Free Land invites readers to consider their own culpability and what, now, can be done.


Michael-Corey Hinton is a citizen of the Passamaquoddy Tribe (Sipayik), and an attorney at Drummond Woodsum, where he has represented clients before a variety of federal administrative agencies including Indian Health Service, Environmental Protection Agency, and Department of the Interior, including National Indian Gaming Commission, Office of Indian Gaming, Bureau of Indian Education, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Reclamation. Corey represents clients in government-building, ethics and employment policies, negotiation and administration of Public Law 93-638 programs, and real estate transactions. He advises Tribal Nations, Tribe-owned entities, and entities that interface with Tribes on federal Indian law and policy, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, employment matters, economic development, environmental and natural resource issues, and the fee-to-trust process. Corey has substantial experience with the commercial, transactional, and resource management issues related to natural resources – including Tribal and non-Tribal owned Improved Forest Management (IFM) carbon offset projects. In 2016, he assisted the Passamaquoddy Tribe to establish an IFM that was recognized in California for removing 3.8 million tons of greenhouse gases in furtherance of California’s “cap-and-trade” program. A separate focus of Corey’s work is with non-profit entities that serve indigenous, socially-disadvantaged, and under privileged communities. Corey also serves on the Executive Committee for the Thompson Brothers’ 4 the Future Foundation, which inspires youth by creating community-based opportunities at the intersection of culture and healthy lifestyles ( He is the former president of the Native American Bar Association of Washington, D.C. and also a former Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse team member.

Donna Loring D.H.L, D.H.L, BA, is an elder/ former Council member of the Penobscot Indian Nation. She was the Nation’s Representative to the Maine State Legislature for twelve years. Donna authored “An Act to Require Teaching Maine Native American History and Culture in Maine’s Schools”, which Governor Angus King signed into law on June 14th, 2001, and it changed the way Maine views its history. She hosts her own radio show, Wabanaki Windows at WERU Community Radio in Orland. Donna’s book titled In The Shadow of the Eagle A Tribal Representative in Maine was published in 2008 and her first play, The Glooskape Chronicles: Creation and the Venetian Basket was published in 2010. Her play on racial issues titled Mary and Molly was read at the University of New England and the University of Southern Maine and was produced as a digital short by Speedwell in the Spring of 2023. Donna has an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from the University of Maine Orono, an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Thomas College Waterville Maine, and in 2021 she was given the Courage is Contagious Award by the University of Maine Law School. She was appointed to the University of Maine System Board of Trustees to fill the first Wabanaki Permanent Seat by Wabanaki Chiefs and Governor Janet Mills.

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