I have the greatest of respect for all fishermen who struggle to earn a living, but I am concerned about permits and the Native Americans of this wonderful state.

The recent conflict started when the Passamaquoddys decided to issue 500 permits for elver fishing, just before the state mandated no more than 200.

From my understanding, a tribal chief called the governor about this allotment and the governor, according to this chief, threatened to disallow his tribe all the benefits we have bestowed upon them.

The governor should remember how being French was looked down upon years ago.

This conflict probably would not have happened had it not been for the price of elvers rising to $2,000 per pound, leading maybe both sides to fish over each other’s boundaries. Maybe the governor could decree that the tribe’s streams are off limits to others and the tribes cannot net on streams not on their land.

This conflict leads me to something that has always bothered me: the treatment of our Native Americans, both past and present.

I once was stationed in a far off land and resided in a Quonset hut built for two with a captain, who was also a tribal chief who had gotten drafted. He told me about the injustices he endured living out west.

Years later, I read an article in Time magazine, “What the Native Americans have if it were not for the Pilgrims.” I responded and my letter was published not only in Time but in many newspapers, including locals. My letter said, “If not for the Pilgrims, the Native American would still have his/her clean skies and rivers, an abundance of bison, and rich soil and not instead be living as a prisoner on reservations located in a country he/she once owned.”

Frank Slason


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