On Saturday, June 10, from 12 noon-3 p.m., people from across Maine will gather at the Bangor Waterfront to celebrate the Penobscot River and support the Penobscot Nation’s ongoing struggle to protect and enhance the water quality of the Penobscot River and its watershed for the benefit of all.
The event will include a rally focused on the vital importance of clean, accessible water for sustaining life, and a flotilla of kayaks and canoes on the river.
In May, the Penobscot Nation defended its jurisdiction over the waters of the Penobscot Reservation before the US Court of Appeals in Boston; a decision is pending. Currently the health of the River must meet federal standards that protect Native sustenance fishing rights. A “taking” of the river waters by the State of Maine threatens water quality standards and Native sovereignty, according to a press release sent out announcing the rally.
“The Penobscot River is the life-blood of our tribe. It has sustained the Penobscot Nation for thousands of years and continues to provide food, medicines, and cultural enrichment today,” said John Banks, the Director of the Department of Natural Resources for the Penobscot Nation. “Any threat to the ecological integrity of the Penobscot River is a threat to the spiritual, cultural, economic, and social fabric of the Penobscot Nation.”
The rally will also highlight other current challenges to the watershed of the Penobscot River: a proposed expansion of the Juniper Ridge Landfill in Old Town, changes to Maine’s mining regulations, proposed water mining in Penobscot County, and a continuing debate over an East-West Corridor across the state.