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Anna Mae Pictou Aquash a Micmac Indian rights activist was born on March 27 1945 in Shubenacadie Nova Scotia the third daughter of Mary Ellen Pictou and Francis Thomas Levi In 1949 her mother married Noel Sapier the son and brother of traditional Micmac chiefs and the family moved to Pictous Landing where the family was raised in poverty Anna lived in a house with no heat water or electricity and subsisted largely on the wild turnips and potatoes harvested by her family Although Annas stepfather was unable to improve his daughters financial lot he provided them with other resources that Anna would treasure for the rest of her life He taught the girls to value discipline and most important instructed them about the traditional ways of their people In 1962 Anna married fellow tribesman Jake Maloney and moved to Boston She found work in a factory and gave birth to two daughters Denise and Deborah Pictou began to volunteer her time at the Boston Indian Council and organization that provided support and services to Indians living in the city Some of these new city dwellers had difficulty coping especially when they were unable to find jobs or fell victim to drug and alcohol abuse She counseled these troubled youths and placed them in jobs or treatment programs In the early 1970s she taught at the Teaching and Research in Bicultural Education TRIBE in Maine This program provided Indian dropouts with a second chance at an education Pictou helped develop a curriculum that aimed to instill confidence and cultural pride in the students by teaching them about Indian traditions and history Anna enrolled in the New Careers Program at Wheelock College in Boston and worked at the Ruggles Street Day Care Center in Roxbury It was then that she was offered a scholarship to Brandeis University because of her commitment to both her classroom and community but she turned it down in order to care
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