MITSC Tributaries

Tributaries Episode 1: Introducing SEA RUN, a MITSC Special Report

Listen to this episode on the Tributaries Podcast:

MITSC Tributaries is excited to announce the release of a series of short videos that aim to highlight content and promote discussion related to our newest report, Sea Run. The report addresses the impact of Maine policies and activity on the quality and quantity of traditional tribal fish stocks and sustenance lifeways practices, spanning from the time of first contact between Europeans and the Wabanaki Nations to the present day.

  • In the introductory video (above) we provide a brief overview of the report's important subject matter.
  • The next video features the first part of an interview with co-authors of the report. Hear what surprised them the most as they researched this report.
  • Stay tuned for the next video, to be released soon, which continues the conversation with co-authors of the Sea Run report.

Read the Transcript Below:

This is a MITSC Tributaries production brought to you by the Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission. MITSC Tributaries is our vehicle for narrative journalism and storytelling in support of the commission's work to improve tribal state relations. We work to secure a future where all value Wabanaki self determination.

Wabanaki cultures are preserved and lands protected and the mutual well being of tribal and non tribal communities is promoted through education and relationship building. You can visit us on the web at, where you can find more information and episodes of our videos and podcasts.

The Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission recently announced publication of a special report, SEA RUN, which analyzes the impact of Maine policies and activity on the quality and quantity of traditional tribal fish stocks and Wabanaki sustenance lifeways practices, spanning the time from first contact between Europeans and the Wabanaki nations to the present.

The report describes how the Wabanaki were systematically separated from the fisheries by colonial governments targeting their fishing villages, and later by Maine as it appropriated Wabanaki lands and waters for the development of the waterways for industrial use.

The effect on Wabanaki fishing heritage has been profound in restricting available species, access to fisheries, and a role in fisheries management.

The 1980 Maine Implementing Act, which confirmed settlement of the land claims case between the state and the Wabanaki nations, provided that members of the Passamaquoddy Tribe and the Penobscot Nation may take fish within the boundaries of their respective Indian reservations for their individual sustenance.

As SEA RUN notes when the MIA was passed, this promise was largely illusory because of the decline in the quantity of sea run fish and the level of pollutants that rendered any remaining fish, a hazard to health if eaten in quantity.

​A constant thread throughout Maine's history has been Wabanaki persistence in revitalizing riverways and fisheries, not just for indigenous people, but for all Mainers. SEA RUN describes how current projects on the Penobscot, St. Croix, and Meduxnekeag Rivers create spaces where state, federal, and Wabanaki governments can work on revitalization side by side.

The report emphasizes progress in the restoration of sea run fish migrations, including a clear state policy favoring restoration, the removal of several major dams and other impediments to fish passage, and successful efforts to improve policy on water quality standards.

Finally, the report recommends ways Maine and the Wabanaki nations can foster traditional Wabanaki practices while enhancing the state policy of restoring sea run fish to their historic place in Maine's ecology.

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