Choosing Survival: Wabanaki Documents at the Maine State Archives




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Maine State Archives

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After decades of American settlers building fish weirs and dams in the Penobscot River, anadromous fish such as Atlantic salmon, shad, and alewives could no longer ascend the river to spawn. In this 1821 petition, Penobscot leaders recalled that the formerly rich fishery no longer sustained their livelihood. The petitioners proposed a law that would prohibit additional weirs and limit Indian and non-Indian fishing to two days each week for five years to allow fish stocks to recover. Other Mainers also expressed concerns about the low fish numbers, but the Maine Legislature did not adopt the Penobscots’ specific proposal to restore this valuable ecosystem. [Description Text by Micah A. Pawling, Ph.D]

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Petition of the Chiefs of the Penobscot tribe of Indians praying a law may be passed to prevent the destruction of fish in the Penobscot River



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