Molly Molasses or
Molly Ockett was a well known figure to the early settlers of this area in
Maine. She was a healer and often helped the first settlers with herbs and
knowledge of how to survive in the cold harsh area of Maine. The area she lived
in most was located near Fryburg Maine and Snow Falls Maine other wise known as
Jocky Cap Mountain. There are many stories about her that have a great deal of
truth in them. I thought you would enjoy this picture and story.
by Jason K. Brown
Molasses was a Wabanaki Indian from the Northern Woods of Maine. She
was said to be a powerful medicine woman of her time and there have
been many stories written about her. She was born in a Penobscot
camp where the old water tower now stands in present day Bangor,
Maine. She grew up in the 1800's, living the Wabanaki way and
traveling up and down our river that shares our name. Molly Molasses
was what the white people of the Bangor area called her because they
said she was so sweet. Molasses was the sweetest thing the people
could get at that time.
Much was written about her as an elder with the powers that she
possessed. These gifts were handed down through her family and
aren't anything that I can really describe properly in words. The
white people of the area knew of her powers. Some respected her
abilities but others mocked her. They soon found out that this old
Indian woman was not fooling around. She was said to be able to hex
a person who wronged her with a mere glance. She was also known as a
great healer who helped many people in a time when there was no
modern medicine. I like to believe that the powers she possessed
would still stun the modern medical community.
This drawing is based on a historical black and white photograph of
Molly Molasses. It is done in mixed media, utilizing colored pencils
and chalk pastels. It represents Molly Molasses and the "Little
People," known in the Penobscot language as Mikum-wasus (mee-kgum-waz-zus).
I have been told by my elders that the Little People were all
powerful medicine people or Medowlinu(meh-dow-len-oo). We learned a
lot of what we know about medicine from these magic people and they
helped us when we needed their power. As a medicine woman, Molly
Molasses may have gone to the little people to help her and give her
The Mikumwasus on Molly's knee is teaching her the sacred and
ancient songs and dances that control the elements and her
environment. This gift allows her to look inside a person and see
their ailment and remove it, taking it into her own body. The
Mikumwasus must also teach Molly the songs to get rid of the ailment
from her own body for if she doesn't, she may be stuck with it for a
long time and become ill herself. The Mikumwasus on Molly's shoulder
is whispering things to her that you and I will never know or
The birch bark medicine lodge at Molly's feet represents the
strength and importance of the element fire as it warms and protects
our homes. It lights our nights and cooks our foods and is always
given the proper respect and treated as sacred.
lake that Molly sits near is at the base of the Penobscot's sacred
mountain. It is called Mt. Katahdin (ka-tah-dun) and is located in
what is now Baxter State Park, just outside of Millinocket, Maine.
This is the tallest mountain in Maine and has the honor of being the
first thing the sun's rays hit in the morning when rising over the
United States. This is the reason why the indigenous peoples of the
Maine area are called "Children of the Dawn." We welcome the sun
every morning and send it on its long journey to bring warmth and
life to the other people of this country. If you look closely, you
can see that the mountain merges through Molly's face, thus
representing her connection to the earth. In our oral history, Mt.
Katahdin is the place where Klouscap, the first man, built his lodge
and where he has retired until we need him to help us again.
In the sky above Molly is the representation of an eagle with a
salmon in it's clutches. This shows the life of the river we live on
and our connection to it and to the Creator. We fished the waters
for salmon just as the eagle did, and the eagle is considered the
most sacred animal. By acting like the eagle, we, too, become
In the other part of the sky you will see a representation of the
caribou which were once very abundant in Maine. With the
introduction of Anglo people to the area, the caribou were all
killed off in Maine and are now extinct. In the same way, my people
have stood on the cliff of extinction, looking with fear in their
eyes over the edge. We made the conscious choice to fight our way
back from the edge of that cliff and to never look back at it again.
The caribou represent a time gone by, just as many aspects of our
culture have vanished. The only thing that is important to remember
is that we still know who we are and we still exist. We live so that
our children will not forget, and in that way, we will never die.
I thank you for taking the time to look at this picture and to hear
my thoughts and feelings about it. We all become richer by sharing
our cultures and knowledge with each other. I hope my image and
thoughts have enriched you in some way.