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Wabanaki Timeline

Abbe : Research : Wabanaki : Timeline : Hunting and Fishing Rights

Wabanaki Hunting and Fishing Rights

Long before Europeans arrived, Wabanaki people provided for their families by hunting and fishing throughout their homelands. During European colonization and settlement, Native nations made treaties with the state of Massachusetts in which they retained these important traditional rights.


When Massachusetts allowed Maine to separate and become a state in 1820, Maine promised to carry out all of Massachusetts's obligations to the Wabanaki people in its territory, such as their rights to hunt and fish freely. Hunting and fishing was a primary means of support for Wabanaki families throughout several months of the year. However, in 1869, the state of Maine passed laws setting hunting seasons and forced Native people to obey them. These "game laws" violated the various treaties previously made between Wabanaki nations and Massachusetts, and later guaranteed by Maine. Throughout the next century, the State of Maine continued to pass laws that placed limitations on Wabanaki traditional fishing and hunting.


Today pollution and the existence of dams on waterways like the Penobscot River continue to restrict traditional Wabanaki fishing rights.


Learn more about Wabanaki Hunting & Fishing Rights and Sovereignty >

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