The Penobscot Nation is celebrating the historic return of 735 acres by the Elliotsville Foundation.
The parcel, which is part of the Penobscots’ ancestral territory, is home to native brook trout, Atlantic salmon, deer and moose. It’s located to the west of the Pleasant River and the town of Brownville.
In a written statement, the tribe’s Natural Resources Director John Banks called it “sacred ground” because of its role in providing sustenance for many tribal families.
“It’s surrounded by Penobscot land and so it made a lot of sense for continuity and also for larger reasons to give land back to the tribe,” says Lucas St. Clair of the Elliotsville Foundation. “The Wabanaki Confederacy has done an incredible job managing their land, being incredible stewards of Maine’s natural resources and I think that this could potentially inspire others to give land back to the Wabanaki Confederacy and my hope is it’s really just the beginning.”
In a written statement, Chief Kirk Francis said the Penobscot Nation is extremely grateful, and that the gesture shows the foundation’s commitment to strengthen its relationship with the Wabanaki tribes.
“Through this gesture, Elliotsville Foundation has shown its commitment to strengthen and honor their relationship with the Wabanaki Tribes and recognize our long-standing cultural connection with the land and water,” Chief Francis said.
The Elliotsville Foundation was established by Burt’s Bees co-founder Roxanne Quimby. Elliotsville Foundation, along with the Quimby Family and 50 land trusts, have joined together in First Light, an effort to learn the history of Wabanaki land dispossession and to work to expand Wabanaki presence in their ancestral territory.
Currently, the Penobscot Nation and other Wabanaki tribes have access to less than 1 percent of the land that once supported their cultures.
For disclosure, Lucas St. Clair is a member of Maine Public's Board of Trustees.