BANGOR, Maine- Under sunny skies on Saturday afternoon, more than 100 people gathered once again on the banks of the Penobscot River in Bangor, to speak out for clean water, renewable energy, and better environmental stewardship. Participants came together at the Bangor Waterfront, holding signs that read "Water Is Life" and "Protect The Water" with some paddling out onto the river in canoes and kayaks, in a sort of environmental flotilla.
"I'm here because I was born on the banks of the Penobscot River," said Lisa Savage of Solon "and I believe in the indigenous wisdom of protecting the commons like water and the land and the air from corporate government, and corporate profiteering. It is absolutely essential to life continuing."
Penobscot Nation member Elizabeth Mitchell said that the Penobscot River means 'home' to a whole nation of people, and the tribe will never stop fighting for sovereignty and stewardship over the waters that surround the Indian Island reservation. "My people are river people. We thrive on the waterways, and a lot of our culture and traditions really rely on having access to water," said Mitchell. "the water, nəpi, is also a being and she needs our protection."
Guest speakers included members of the Penobscot Nation and representatives from the solar industry, as well as citizens who have been fighting controversial landfill and large-scale water extraction projects.
It was the third such event in recent months, following actions taken by the Penobscot Nation to support the Standing Rock Sioux in their fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Saturday's action precedes a larger, Wabanaki ceremonial event planned for next month. Organizers of Healing the Wounds of Turtle Island, say the event is meant to fulfill Wabanki prophecy by starting to heal wounds left by violent acts. Organizer Sherri Mitchell says the ceremony isn't just about or for the Wabanki, and is open to people from across the globe, from those wounded by slavery and the Holocaust, to the descendants of America's colonial settlers.
The ceremony is set for July 14-17 in Passadumkeag.