Penobscot River

Petition of the Chiefs of the Penoscot Tribe of Indians praying a law may be passed to prevent the destruction of fish in the Penobscot River, January 1821

"To the Whole Legislature of the State of Maine

We the undersigned Chiefs & others of the Penobscot Tribe of Indians ask you to hear us in our petition in which we mean to speak nothing but truth and first we would say that in the days of our forefathers the great plenty of fish which yearly came into the waters of our Penobscot River was one of the greatest sources by which they obtained their living and has so continued within the remembrance of many of us who are now living which plenty we always considered as sent us by the Great God who provides means for all his Children --

But when our white brethren came amongst us they settled on our lands at and near the tide waters of our River and there was plenty of fish for us all -- but within a few years our brethren the white men who live near the tide waters of our River have every year built so many weares that they have caught and killed so many of the fish that there is hardly any comes up the River where we live so that we cannot catch enough for the use of our families even in the season of the year when Fish used to be most plenty.

We have asked the general Court at Boston to make laws to stop the white people from building weares and they have made Laws but they have done us no good for the Fish grow more scarce every year. Besides the weares they use a great many long nets. We can only use very small nets and spears -- now we ask you to make a Law to stop the white folks from building any more weares forever so that Fish may again become plenty and also stop the white people from using any seines above Kenduskeag on the main river.

And we ask you to make the Law so as to stop the white people and Indians from catching fish more than two days in the week in the season of Salmon, Shad and Alewives at least for five years. We think that Fish will then be plenty again.

We are your Brothers.

John Neptune (his mark)
Lorey (his mark)
Peal Moley (his mark)
Peal Tomer (his mark)
Joseph (his mark)
Solomon (his mark)

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