Sunlight Media Collective Releases Documentary on the Battle Over Contested Penobscot River Territory

Indian Island, ME: On Friday, Sunlight Media Collective released

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The Penobscot: Ancestral River, Contested Territory,

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a documentary film that explores the conflict between the state of Maine and the Penobscot Nation over contested river territory. Spanning from the 1700’s to the present-day legal battle of Penobscot Nation v. Mills, the film illustrates the Penobscots’ centuries-long fight to retain their territory and their inherent, treaty-reserved sustenance fishing rights for future generations. Featuring first-person accounts, the film tells the urgent, inspiring story of a struggle for justice and cultural survival in the face of an astonishingly open abuse of state power.

The documentary release closely follows a meeting between Penobscot Chief Kirk Francis and President Obama, where they discussed the Penobscot Nation v. Mills case. The Penobscot Nation is suing the state of Maine in response to a decision by former Attorney General William Schneider that the Penobscot Indian reservation, which includes more than 200 islands in the Penobscot River, does not include any portion of the water— a decision that amounts to territorial theft by the state. Oral arguments for the case are scheduled for October 14th at the US District Court in Portland, ME.

 

The case is taking place in the context of a larger state battle over river jurisdiction and water quality standards. In February, the federal EPA ruled that Maine must improve its water quality standards to protect Penobscot sustenance fishing rights. Governor Paul LePage has called the ruling “outrageous” and threatened to relinquish state regulatory responsibilities to the federal EPA if they did not reverse the ruling.

 

The Penobscot: Ancestral River, Contested Territory chronicles the Penobscot’s struggle to maintain their centuries-long stewardship to ensure a healthy ecosystem for all of Maine, a struggle exemplified by these contemporary legal battles. According to Penobscot Chief Kirk Francis, the Penobscot v. Mills case “is really not about controlling the river system, or controlling individuals within the system. It’s really about our ability to manage a subsistence resource that we have a responsibility for, for multiple generations.”

 

Funded by Broad Reach Fund of the Maine Community Foundation, The Penobscot: Ancestral River, Contested Territory is available for free on the Sunlight Media Collective website (www.sunlightmediacollective.org), and DVDs are available by order. To schedule a screening, please email sunlightmediacollective@gmail.com.

 

The Sunlight Media Collective is a collaboration between Penobscot and non-native filmmakers. The film is just one example of an up-swell of activism and work on issues affecting the Wabanaki tribes. In October, Upstander Productions will also release a short documentary entitled First Light, on the recently completed Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

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Screenings of The Penobscot: Ancestral River, Contested Territory currently scheduled:

October 21st, Belfast Free Library, Belfast, 6:00PM

October 24th, Gates Auditorium, College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, 1:30PM

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For more information, contact sunlightmediacollective@gmail.com.

 

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Flotilla on Penobscot River to Support Tribal Territory and Rights

flotilla 5-23-15

On May 23, 2015, people converged on the Penobscot River in Bangor to show their support of the Penobscot Nation’s rights over its ancestral territory- the waters of the Penobscot River.  The State of Maine issued a letter to the tribe in 2012, redefining the Penobscot’s territory to NOT include the River itself, a direct departure from historical treaties and previous interpretation of treaties and the Land Claims Settlement Act of 1980 by the State of Maine.

Around 150 people were present in boats or on shore to demonstrate their support.  Following is a video, news coverage, and photos of the event:

WABI-TV 5

BDN

3 minute video by Sass Linneken

photos by the Maine Paparazzi (including photo above)

Alliance for Common Good hosts 3rd Annual Rally of Unity

A tremendous showing for community and tribal sovereignty, and water protection

Augusta – Over a hundred Maine citizens and representatives from dozens of organizations joined forces at the State House’s Hall of Flags for the third annual Rally of Unity. The overarching theme for this year’s rally was protection of our water resources and respect for community and tribal sovereignty. Featured speakers included Shenna Bellows, former candidate for U.S. Senate and former Maine Senator Troy Jackson.

Other speakers shared the podium addressing concerns around the critical need to protect water in Maine. With many potentially destructive plans looming in Maine, such as extreme water extraction/privatization, mountain-top mining and the exorbitant waste it produces, the East-West Industrial Corridor and pipeline, industrial wind, and more, organizations came together to speak in a unified voice informing Maine legislators what Mainers expect from their service. A current critical issue between the Penobscot Nation and the State of Maine government was one of the topics at this year’s rally.

“Sadly, Penobscot people are anxiously awaiting the fate of our river,” said Maria Girouard, Penobscot tribal member and founder of Dawnland Environmental Defense. In Augusta 2012, state government asserted its opinion to Penobscot Chief and Council that the Penobscot Indian reservation did not include the water. The Penobscot Indian reservation consists of over 200 islands in the Penobscot River. “Frankly, this redefining of our territory feels outright hostile. Maine government is supposed to be working for all Maine people, yet most people have no idea that this is happening. This current legal battle has the potential to last years and cost millions of tax payer dollars. What I would like to know is why Maine government is asserting its claim to the water? And on whose behalf?”

Larry Dansinger of Resources for Organizing Social Change and an organizer for this year’s rally said, “The Maine legislature has been passing too many bills that benefit the one percent and hurt 99 percent of Mainers. The public needs to demand laws that benefit the vast majority of Maine people, not just a select and powerful few.”

All individuals and groups participating in this third annual event are unified under the principles of: Reserving Maine money for Maine people; keeping money out of politics; respecting community and tribal sovereignty; and promoting an economy that protects, rather than compromises, our environment. In addition to speakers and songs, the rally hosted organization tabling and provided opportunity for networking and alliance building.

Alliance for the Common Good Members include: 350 Maine, 350 Waldo County, Ability Maine, Alliance for Democracy, American Friends Service Committee Wabanaki Program, Americans Who Tell the Truth, Artists Rapid Response Team, Bring our War $$ Home, CodePink, Community Water Justice, Dawnland Environmental Defense/ Justice for the River, Defending Water for Life, Don’t Waste ME, Food AND Medicine, Food and Water Watch, Food for Maine’s Future, Forest Ecology Network, Friends of Merrymeeting Bay, Friends of Penobscot Bay, Friends of the Piscataquis Valley, Global Network, Green Initiatives, anti-Industrial wind activists, Maine EarthFirst!, Maine Fair Trade Campaign, Maine Greens, Maine Peace Action Committee, Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition, Maine Students for Climate Justice, Maine Veterans for Peace, Midcoast Peace and Justice, Occupy groups statewide, Pax Christi Maine, Peace Action Maine, Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine, Peace and Justice Group of Waldo County, PeaceWorks of Greater Brunswick/ Waging Peace, Peninsula Peace and Justice, Pine Tree Youth Organizing, Power in Community Alliances (PICA)/ U.S. El Salvador Sister Cities Committee, Resources for Organizing Social Change, Riverbilly Coalition for Natural Resources Preservation, SEEDS for Justice, Southern Maine Workers Center, Stop the East-West Corridor, TWAC (Trans and/or Women’s Action Camp), We the People Maine.

Here is WABI-5 news coverage of the event.

Here is a video of the full event.

Here are pictures from the event by the Maine Paparazzi, Roger Leisner.

Lastly, here is an independent article published in The Cryer by Lew Kingsbury:

The Most Successful Statehouse Event You Never Heard Of

End Violence Together event draws crowd in Bangor

One week after hundreds of thousands took part in the People’s Climate Change demonstration in New York City, Mainers came together for a rally and march to connect the dots between climate destruction, poverty and war.

Defending Water for Life in Maine was one of 38 Maine cosponsors for the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine’s “End Violence Together” event that was held on Saturday, September 27 on the Bangor waterfront as part of the national Campaign Nonviolence.

Chris and others marching with DWFL banner made by ARRT!

Chris and others marching with DWFL banner made by ARRT!

This public action featuring drumming, speakers, music and a march was one of more than 170 being held across the country. It was designed to raise awareness of the interrelationship of war, poverty and environmental destruction. Participants demonstrated a commitment to work collaboratively to build a culture of peace and nonviolence. 

Speakers included Mary Ellen Quinn, social worker and co-chair of Pax Christi Maine; Marc Cryer, Veterans for Peace, Jim Harney Chapter  and Chris Buchanan of Defending Water for Life.   Doug Allen of the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine emceed.

A short performance by Voices for Peace set the tone for the event.  
To view Chris’s speech, click here.
Visit http://www.CampaignNonviolence.org to make a national connection.

 

East/West ME film by Mathias Deming

Mathias Deming is a highschool student who sought to learn more about the East-West Corridor and produce a film about it.  Mathias describes the film as, “A short documentary about the proposed east/west corridor in the state of Maine. East/west ME highlights major hopes and concerns that surround this very controversial topic . The film follows me as I learned about the corridor, interviewing various people with a variety of viewpoints and ideas. The hope is that this film will educate and raise awareness about the east/west corridor.”

View the film.

In Democratic primaries, Jackson staunchly opposed to East-West Corridor

Start viewing at 4 minutes in to see Jackson and Cain share their opinions about the EWC.  Click here for video.

Att the Democratic Convention in Bangor, Jackson gave a speech about why he wants to go to Washington.  The article and video of Jackson’s speech are available at this Portland Press Herald blog.

Advocates for Sustainable Futures Downeast present info about EWC

A group of dedicated Hancock County residents put together a panel presentation to inform residents of Downeast Maine about the East-West Corridor.  Here is the video of their presentation, and the question and answer session that was moderated by Chris Buchanan of Defending Water for Life and Stop the East-West Corridor.

Federal report gauges U.S. impacts of global warming

Doyle Rice, USA TODAY 12:06 p.m. EDT May 6, 2014

Link to original article and video

Global warming is affecting where and how Americans live and work, and evidence is mounting that burning fossil fuels has made extreme weather such as heat waves and heavy precipitation much more likely in the USA, according to a massive federal report released Tuesday at the White House.

 

“Climate change is here and now, and not in some distant time or place,” said Texas Tech University climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe, one of the authors of the 1,100-page National Climate Assessment (NCA), the largest, most comprehensive U.S.-focused climate change report ever produced.

 

“The choices we’re making today will have a significant impact on our future,” Hayhoe said.

 

The assessment was prepared by hundreds of the USA’s top scientists. It agreed with a recent report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that the planet is warming, mostly because of human activity.

 

The assessment provides “the loudest and clearest alarm bell to date” for immediate and aggressive climate action, said John P. Holdren, President Obama’s science adviser, at a press conference in Washington on Tuesday.

 

“All Americans will find things that matter to them in this report,” added Jerry Melillo, chair of the National Climate Assessment Development Advisory Committee.

 

“Corn producers in Iowa, oyster growers in Washington state and maple syrup producers in Vermont are all observing climate-related changes that are outside of recent experience,” the U.S. report stated. “So, too, are coastal planners in Florida, water managers in the arid Southwest, city dwellers from Phoenix to New York and native peoples on tribal lands from Louisiana to Alaska.”

 

MORE: Stories on weathering the change

 

SPECIAL REPORT: Why you should sweat climate change

 

While scientists continue to refine projections of the future climate, observations unequivocally show that the climate is changing and that the warming of the past 50 years is primarily due to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. These emissions come mainly from the burning of coal, oil and gas, the report states.

 

“If people took the time to read the report, they would see that it is not necessarily about polar bears, whales or butterflies,” said meteorologist Marshall Shepherd of the University of Georgia. “I care about all of those, but the NCA is about our kids, dinner table issues, and our well being.”

 

 

The colors on the map show temperature changes over the past 22 years (1991-2012) compared with the 1901-1960 average for the contiguous U.S.(Photo: NOAA)

“We’re already seeing extreme weather and it’s happening now,” said study co-author Donald Wuebbles, a climate scientist at the University of Illinois. “We’re seeing more heat waves, particularly in the West and in the South.”

 

Specifically, the three most significant threats from climate change in the USA are sea level rise along the coasts, droughts and fires in the Southwest and extreme precipitation events across the country.

 

The assessment was written by 300 scientists and other experts from academia; local, state and federal governments; the private sector; private citizens; and the non-profit sector. Representatives from oil companies such as ConocoPhillips and Chevron and environmental groups such as the Nature Conservancy endorsed the assessment’s findings.

 

“The National Climate Assessment brings to light new and stronger evidence of how climate change is already having widespread impacts across the United States,” according to Kevin Kennedy of the World Resources Institute, a Washington, D.C.- based environmental group.

 

“Chevron recognizes and shares the concerns of governments and the public about climate change,” said Chevron spokesperson Justin Higgs. “Chevron’s Arthur Lee was one of 60 committee members and 240 authors to assist in the compilation of this report. We recognize the importance of this issue and are committed to continued research and understanding.”

 

A vast majority of climate scientists — generally pegged at 97% — concur with the basics of the science behind climate change, though some still find flaws in the details. A report last week, for instance, in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change found that the impacts of extreme heat are often exaggerated.

 

The assessment is a federally mandated report prepared by the nation’s top scientists every four years for the president and Congress to review. This is the third report produced.

 

ORIGINAL SOURCE: National Climate Assessment

 

The United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) coordinated the development of the NCA, which is exclusively focused on climate impacts to the United States, according to the requirements of the Global Change Research Act of 1990.

 

Contributing: Associated Press

 

 

Ten indicators of a warming world: These are just some of the indicators measured globally over many decades that show that the Earth’s climate is warming. White arrows indicate increasing trends; black arrows indicate decreasing trends.(Photo: NOAA)