Department or Program

Environmental Studies


The Penobscot Indian Territory, which once spanned across the entire Penobscot River watershed of nearly ten-million acres, has dwindled to just the islands in a sixty mile portion of the river called the Main Stem. This latest definition of the Penobscot Indian Reservation that came about as a result of the 2015 case, Penobscot Nation v. Janet Mills, a case filed by the Penobscot Nation because of conflicting definitions of the Penobscots’ territory between the tribe and the state. Specifically, the territory in question was the actual water in of the Penobscot River; the tribe believed it to be within their territory and thus jurisdiction, while the state saw it as their own. The understandings of the river that will be discussed throughout the thesis shed light on the fact that the differences between them --such as the meaning of ownership, land use practices and lifestyle-- contributed to loss of territory for the Penobscots over the past few centuries, and continue to do so today.

Level of Access

Restricted: Campus/Bates Community Only Access

First Advisor

Joe Hall

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Available to Bates community via local IP address or Bates login.