Jacques Ferland

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“I now come to the time when our Tribe was separated into two factions[,] the old and the new Party. I am sorry to speak of it as it was very detrimental to our tribe as there was but few of us the remnant of a once powerful tribe.” So spoke Penobscot tribal leader John Attean, recalling the 1834-1835 breach in tribal politics that shook the edifice of community and cohesion among the Penobscot people. A watershed event in the long struggle to represent and defend the Penobscot way of life in the face of an indifferent and sometimes hostile Maine legislature, the factional breach has been interpreted in various ways by historians, folklorists, and tribal representatives. Sorting through these explanations brings to light an intricate tale of racism, tribal resistance, and Indian dispossession in Maine.