Hiring: Tribal Land Recovery Manager – First Light
Job Description: Tribal Land Recovery Manager
First Light, Mentored by The Nature Conservancy in Maine and Maine Coast Heritage Trust
Summary: The Tribal Land Recovery Manager will serve as a resource to Wabanaki communities, Tribal
governments, and organizations to facilitate and accomplish priority land acquisitions for all
Wabanaki communities in Maine. This newly created position calls for a person who is innovative
and able to work independently, an excellent communicator, has a solid familiarity with real estate,
and a strong interest in Tribal land return.
The position will involve establishing and maintaining communication lines and relationships with Wabanaki communities to ensure Tribal priorities and Tribal processes are followed for any acquisition. It will also involve learning or having a solid understanding of the different Tribal considerations and process steps for real estate acquisitions, some understanding of tax law and real estate law, and an ability to work with multiple contractors and experts to accomplish multiple real estate acquisitions by Tribal governments and entities.
This position is part of First Light, an effort that has been underway for over five years. First Light
is a collaboration in Maine between hundreds of leaders, 65 land-focused organizations (including
The Nature Conservancy and Maine Coast Heritage Trust), and five Wabanaki Tribal
communities: Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians; Mi’kmaq Nation; Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian
Township; Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayik; and Penobscot Nation. Together, the First Light
community works to re-learn history, recenter Indigenous voice, and return land, resources and
power to Wabanaki Tribes. We take direction and guidance from the Wabanaki Commission on
Land and Stewardship Nil yut ktahkomiq nik (the whole earth is our home). This position offers
an opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to an important body of work as the Wabanaki
Commission seeks to regain access to culturally important lands, while the conservation
community in Maine learns to work in partnership with Wabanaki Tribes. As such, the role also
represents a learning opportunity, and mentorship from conservation leaders within the First Light
community will be provided.
The Land Recovery Manager will be employed by New Learning Journey, the 501c3 that
manages First Light. The full-time position is funded for two years.
The Land Recovery Manager must be able to reside within a reasonable proximity of the
Wabanaki Communities in Maine (e.g., ideally in Washington, Aroostook, or Penobscot
Counties), and will be expected to be able to travel among these Wabanaki communities
regularly and throughout the state as land projects are underway. The Manager must be capable
of remote work, may work from a home or remote office, and may also use office space that will
be made available by The Nature Conservancy, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, and First Light.
Essential Job Functions
1. Work within the space of the Wabanaki Commission and Wabanaki communities to
develop a clear understanding of each Tribal community’s land acquisition process steps
and acquisition priorities;
2. Facilitate and carry out land transactions by gift or purchase throughout the land area we
now call Maine. This includes successfully negotiating and closing multiple real-estate
acquisitions and transactions ranging from simple to complex in nature;
3. Have a willing ability to work autonomously while also collaborating and staying in
communication with multiple entities including Tribal governments, landowners and
various nonprofit organizations;
4. Serve as a point person and knowledgeable and respected acquisition specialist for all
Tribal communities, as well as for landowners and organizations facilitating and/or funding
5. Oversee multiple contractors and maintain professional relationships with surveyors,
attorneys, and other contractors who perform various duties in relation to land projects;
6. Communicate with landholders of all types, their attorneys, and other advisors around land
projects, including clarifying when to help landholders obtain financial and other advice to
ensure clear and sound transactions;
7. Work extensively with departments within Wabanaki Tribal communities to take a project
from the early planning stages to completion. This may include support for Tribal
communities in: developing their vision for a property; developing short and long-term
budgets to cover acquisition-related and ongoing expenses; coordinating and updating
Wabanaki partners on transaction steps like appraisals, surveys and negotiations; and
developing project summaries to support fundraising and communications;
8. Regularly develop and present written descriptions and updates on projects to the
Wabanaki Commission on Land and Stewardship and appropriate Tribal Councils, and
obtain guidance and authorizations as appropriate for each land project;
9. Perform due diligence, keep careful records and develop a transferable digital and paper
filing system for every and all transactions as well as processes developed among the
Tribal communities for project prioritization and completion.
Education and Experience: Education and/or experience in a field such as natural resources, business, law, real estate, or communications is required. Specific experience in land use and conservation work, project management and related fields is preferred. Experience or education in Wabanaki or Tribal
culture/studies or international relations also preferred.
• Energetic desire to develop relationships that help Tribal communities recover lands;
• Experience in land acquisition preferred. This could include individual or team experience
in identifying, negotiating, and closing land transactions;
• Cultural humility, and respect and experience in working with a variety of diverse partners
• Ability to manage a large and diverse project load (including a portfolio of 8 – 10 land
projects at different stages), complete assignments, update partners, and work within
• Strong organizational, planning, and multi-tasking skills with attention to detail and
• Interest in learning Tribal government functions and decision-making steps within each
Tribal community, and developing relationships with Tribal natural resource departments
or other designated point people;
• Patience and persistence to accomplish projects while navigating delays and challenges
with grace, particularly when working with diverse timelines;
• Ability to transition between the small details of land transactions and the big picture of
communicating with partners about this work;
• Demonstrated capacity and willingness to learn new skills;
• Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to communicate in writing or speaking;
• Experience with remote work preferred;
• Working knowledge of Maine geography, culture, flora, and fauna preferred;
• Proficiency in word processing, email, and basic databases.
Working Conditions and Physical Demands: Office work is performed in a normal office environment not subject to extremes of noise, temperature, odor, etc. The ideal candidate will have regular access to a car and be capable of walking lands and boundaries and occasionally paddling or riding in a boat. Field work may be performed outside in all weather conditions. Occasional evening or weekend meetings will be necessary.
Compensation: $60,000 – $65,000 annual salary, plus paid time off. We will provide financial support for
healthcare and retirement savings up to 10% of the salary.
How to Apply: To apply, please send us your responses to the following questions:
1. What is land recovery (or land back, land return) and why does it matter?
2. How does your previous work and personal experience prepare you to help the First Light
community pursue land recovery work?
Please take as much space as you need to respond to these questions— you may feel you need
anywhere from a paragraph to a page to convey your response. We are interested in hearing your
big-picture perspective as well as specific contributions that relate to this role.
To submit your application, please send your question responses and a 1-page resume to
email@example.com by Friday, August 19, 2022.
The Hiring Committee will review applications and set up first-round Zoom interviews to begin
in early September. Second-round interviews will ideally occur in person in mid to late
September. During second-round interviews, applicants will have a chance to meet with
representatives from the Wabanaki Commission, as well as staff at TNC Maine, Maine Coast
Heritage Trust, and First Light. We intend to complete the hiring process in late September.
Contacts for Questions About this Position
Peter Forbes, First Light Catalyst: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ellie Oldach, First Light Program Manager: email@example.com
Alex Mas, Associate State Director/Director of Conservation for TNC Maine: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ciona Ulbrich, Senior Project Manager for Maine Coast Heritage Trust: email@example.com
Inclusivity Statement: Much of our work seeks to reshape the legacy of conservation. As part of that, we hope to recruit, mentor, and support employees in this work who bring different backgrounds, stories and
experiences to this field. We encourage applicants from all cultures, races, colors, religions,
sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity,
military, protected veteran status or other status protected by law.
We offer accommodations for individual needs in our job application process. Please send a note
to firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how we can meet your needs to apply for this position.
You can also view, download, and share this posting at https://firstlightlearningjourney.net/hiring/ .