Date of Award

Spring 5-8-2020

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Ecology and Environmental Sciences


John Daigle

Second Committee Member

Bridie McGreavy

Third Committee Member

Nathan Stormer

Additional Committee Members

Shihfen Tu

Laura Lindenfield


Situated in Maine rivers, I engage sites of memory present in places related to natural resources and research engagement. To address this, first I articulate an archeological analysis of Colonial American and early Maine history to describe land-based practices that shaped river ecology and interactions with Wabanaki people. This historical tension arises as the success of the timber industry required dams to transport lumber, blocking paths for migrating fish and restricting Wabanaki sustenance practices. Similarly, the process of resource extraction has continued in other forms placing Wabanaki people and First Nations more broadly, as the subjects of research through studying their languages and learning their stories without providing reciprocity to these communities. Next, I build from environmental communication, participatory critical rhetoric, and indigenous methods to describe how researchers can create more ethical pathways for collaborative processes through orienting to history from Wabanaki perspectives and shaping research methods to accommodate the community’s vision for progress. I provide examples of what this looks like through a partnership with the Passamaquoddy Environmental Department where research goals, methods, and analysis were guided through community feedback. This ultimately created a process where communities can retain control of their knowledge, which has implications for alleviating historical tensions that have not favored participation or reciprocity with the Wabanaki. I finish with two theoretical chapters that recognize how Wabanaki knowledge has been restricted on the St. Croix. By reintegrating the knowledge of Wabanaki thinkers and fishers back to the river, I draw out how values related to balance guide interactions, such as fishing practices, on the river and how this supports stronger ecological systems and fishing identities for Wabanaki and non-Wabanaki communities. Through this discussion, I extend an idea into a final reflective chapter to understand how key places in Maine support diverse ecologies that organize people, practices, and communities in unique ways.