Donna is a tribal member of the Penobscot Indian Nation and held the position of the Nation’s Representative to the Maine State Legislature through the last half of the 118th, (which began in January 1998.) She served full terms in119th, 120th, 121st, she stepped down to run for State Senate in 2003. She served the first three months of the 122nd, (She was appointed temporary Tribal Representative when the elected Representative became ill). She was re-elected to represent the Penobscot Nation in the 123rd 2007 and 2008. She served on the Legislatures Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary. Her legislative service ended on October 1st, 2008.
She presently works at Four Directions Development Corporations, a Native Non-Profit Financial Development Institute serving the Maine Tribes. She holds the position of Wabanaki Tourism Coordinator. (FDDC’s Tourism program will develop a Wabanaki Tourism Center while working with the tribes to create the Centers design. The Center will be the hub for training programs, job creation and the development of tribal economic infrastructures)
She served as the Penobscot Nation’s Coordinator of Tribal, State and International Relations through the 121st. She is a lecturer and consultant.
Donna was elected to serve as a select person for the Town of Richmond. She served for almost a year until she moved to the Town of Bradley in 2006.
She is a graduate of the University of Maine at Orono and has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Her professional background is in law enforcement and she is a graduate of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy. 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. She was a member of the Maine Chiefs of Police for eleven years.
Donna is a Vietnam Veteran. She served in the communications center at Long Binh Army Base located approximately thirty miles north of Siagon. It was her job to process all the casualty reports for Southeast Asia. She was stationed in Vietnam from November of 1967 to November of 1968. She served during the TET Offensive.
She was appointed Aide de Camp to former Governor Angus King on March 17, 1999 and was commissioned with the rank of Colonel by the Governor. She was advisor to former Governor King on women veteran’s affairs.
On November 4,1999, Donna received the Mary Ann Hartman Award from the University of Maine’s Women in Curriculum and Women’s Studies Program. The award recognizes outstanding Maine women for their accomplishments in the arts, politics, business, education and community services.
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.
On June 20th 2004 Donna was featured in the Maine Sunday Telegram as one of ten women “Making a Difference in Maine” and making Maine a better place to live.
In the March/April 2006 edition of UMAINE TODAY she was named one of the most important women in Maine History in an on-line Women’s Studies course poll.
In the November of 2007 edition of Portland Magazine Donna was named one of the ten most intriguing people in Maine
She is a graduate of the Flemming Fellows Leadership Institute Class of 2001. The Flemming Fellows program is a value based leadership program under the auspices of the Center for Policy Alternatives. CPA is a nationally respected and recognized organization of progressive, innovative and creative political leaders.
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 is a recent graduate of the Eleanor Roosevelt Global Leadership Institute. This is a unique leadership program that helps state legislators address the state and local impacts of globalization. She was one of 14 state legislators, selected from among more than 7,000 eligible state legislators from across the nation. They were sent to Chile to learn about the Chilean development process in the areas of economic development, social development, and foreign trade. They attended meetings with various local and regional government leaders, two Indigenous Mapuchi Villages and with American Embassy office in Santiago.
Donna's last act as Tribal Representative was to submit a Joint Resolution to the House and Senate Supporting the UN Resolution recognizing Indigenous Rights. The Joint Resolution was passed unanimously in Maine’s House and Senate.
Donna is the author of "In the Shadow of the Eagle," a biographical look at her struggles and triumphs representing the Penobscot Nation in the Maine State Legislature.
Donna host a monthly radio show Wabanaki Windows featured on WERU focusing on Native American Topics and Issues.
She is presently a member of the following Boards and committees:
Chancellor’s Diversity Task Force
Maine Community Foundation Board of Directors
Northeast Historic Film Board of Directors
Maine Advisory Committee to the United States Commission On Civil Rights
Coastal Enterprises Incorporated Board of Directors
Margaret Chase Smith Center Policy Advisory Committee
To contact Donna Loring please visit our Cultural Resource Directory.