June 21, 2024

      “This River is Our Relative” is an upcoming Sunlight Media Collective documentary about the Penobscot Nation’s intrinsic connection to and tireless environmental stewardship of the Penobscot River. The story is told through the voices of 24 Penobscots, who share a story of historical, physical, and spiritual connection to place; of cultural identity and survival. Their narratives are interwoven with a traditional Wabanaki story about how The People and Glouskap defeated a greedy monster frog, Aklebemu, who was hoarding all the water. This story parallels both historical and present day environmental concerns, and is also the Clan origin story for Penobscots. “You can point to any aspect of our culture from a riverine perspective,” says Penobscot Cultural Dept. Director James E. Francis, Sr.
      “It is our responsibility to care for that River, for all of us,” explains Penobscot activist and filmmaker Dawn Neptune Adams. Despite many obstacles including ongoing territorial theft and a rapidly increasing number of pollutants, the Penobscot Nation and its people continue to demonstrate their commitment to protecting the health of their beloved Relative, the Penobscot River. “I always come back to the water because that’s where I belong. It’s my Relative,” explains Penobscot Elder Kathy Paul, “and I want to stay and support that Relative.”