Columbus replica ship met with support, opposition in Bucksport Saturday

The ship is still docked in Bucksport and was met today by many folks who wanted to tour the replica, as well as those who were protesting its visit to Maine.
Published: Jul. 10, 2021 at 4:07 PM EDT
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BUCKSPORT, Maine (WABI) - An upcoming tall ships event that included a replica of a ship sailed by Christopher Columbus has now been canceled.

That according to the Bangor Daily News.

The ship is still docked in Bucksport and was met today by many folks who wanted to tour the replica, as well as those who were protesting its visit to Maine.

“This ship has no business in this River,” said Dawn Neptune Adams, a member of the Penobscot Nation.

The Nao Santa Maria sailed into Bucksport on Thursday to take part in a celebration of Maine’s 200th Birthday.

The event, put on by The Penobscot Maritime Heritage Association will no longer take place.

”We have heard reports of this event being canceled, is that true?”

“That event has been canceled due to the statements of the Penobscot Nation, and lots of people who wrote to the bicentennial committee, and the committee asked the organizers of this event to cancel the trip up the Penobscot,” said Karin Spitfire, a peaceful protestor.

On Saturday, amid the controversy of the ship’s visit, many folks showed up to the town dock to see the Spanish ship and were excited about its appearance on the river.

“The history, this is history. It’s not a today kind of thing, this is 500 years ago,” said Norman Keefe, who toured the ship. “To think that they’re still upset over something that we can’t change, we’ll have to work with it and be one nation, not a matter of different fragments of society.”

Peaceful protesters with different organizations, including some with the Penobscot Nation came to denounce the ship’s visit to Maine.

“This is a symbol of the oppression that has occurred here since 1492,” said Dawn Neptune Adams.

Folks with the Penobscot Nation say they are pleased the event has been canceled, but they’re hoping the ship will leave the state immediately.

“We’re really resilient people,” said Dwayne Tomah, a member of the Penobscot Nation. “We’ve always tried to overcome the obstacles that are in front of us, and this is just one of them.”

The Penobscot Nation’s statement released on Friday prior to the BDN report of it’s cancelation said in part:

“The Penobscot Nation is disappointed and disheartened that any group would use a replica of a ship used by Christopher Columbus to celebrate the heritage and statehood of Maine. Maine has existed for 200 years. Our people have been here for at least 12,000 years.”

The Maine Bicentennial Commission also issued a statement Friday saying, “while the ship’s visit is not hosted by Maine200 and the Bicentennial Commission is not involved in the planning for this event, we regret that this ship was chosen for an event that is associated with Maine’s Bicentennial, as the mistreatment of Native Americans is a devastating part of Maine’s history.”

There is a post that has circulated on social media that the event has been canceled.

TV5 has reached out multiple times to the organizer of the event, Dick Campbell for an official statement.

Campbell said, “we are still refining the PMHA statement based on the unofficial statements you have, which are not approved or published by the PMHA board or me.”

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