James E. Francis kapahse (sturgeon) drum, Indian Island, 2019

Contributed by Maine Historical Society


Settlement, logging operations, mills, and dams have obstructed and interfered with the passage of anadromous fish—like sturgeon, salmon, and shad—that migrate up the Penobscot River from the ocean to spawn.

Penobscot oral histories include stories about obligations to fish, but their migrations have been inhibited for over a century. With the removal of dams through the Penobscot River Restoration Project, the sturgeon, salmon, and shad are returning, along with language and cultural activities related to the fish.

James E. Francis, Sr. (Penobscot), the Tribal Historian and Director of Cultural and Historic Preservation for the Penobscot Nation, created this drum with the word "kapahse", the Penobscot name for sturgeon, to reflect the return of the fish and the culture.

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About This Item

  • Title: James E. Francis kapahse (sturgeon) drum, Indian Island, 2019
  • Creator: James Eric Francis
  • Creation Date: 2019
  • Subject Date: 2019
  • Location: Indian Island, Penobscot County, ME
  • Media: Leather, acrylic
  • Dimensions: 7 cm x 40 cm
  • Local Code: 2019.018
  • Object Type: Physical Object

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For more information about this item, contact:

Maine Historical Society
485 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774-1822 x230

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