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> Events > Bashabez Run Canoe/Kayak Race

Bashabez Run spectator! Photo by Laura Rose Day

Photo by Laura Rose Day. More photos can be viewed on our FlickR page! All photos (c) Penobscot River Restoration Trust.

Penobscot River Canoe & Kayak Race Celebrates Culture, Collaboration, and Restoration

On August 3, 2014, the Penobscot Indian Nation, in collaboration with the American Canoe Association's New England Paddle America Club, hosted the 1st Annual Bashabez Run, celebrating recent milestones in collaborative efforts to restore the free-flowing nature of the lower river while also sharing and honoring the history and culture of the Penobscot Nation community. The Bashabez Run highlights river recreation opportunities for experienced paddlers, with a challenging course through four significant, historic rapids and long stretches of shallow, fast moving current. 

The race course retraces the route of Chief Bashabez, the first Penobscot leader documented by the Europeans, from Indian Island to Brewer, where he led and met with other tribal leaders of "Norumbega,"a confederation of seven or eight Abenaki-speaking Indian nations. Another historic meeting took place across the river in 1604, when Samuel de Champlain followed the Penobscot River north and as far inland as Kenduskeag (now Bangor, Maine). Chief Bashabez and thirty Penobscots aboard six canoes arrived in Kenduskeag a few days later from a northern village, and the local Penobscots sang and danced in greeting. The Bashabez Run coincided with the final day of a contemporary celebration of tribal culture and community gathering during Penobscot Indian Nation Community Days, held August 1-3. The race was preceded by a sacred smudging ceremony led by tribal elder Butch Phillips, with drumming and singing of a medicine song by his niece, and a blessing in the Penobscot language by his sister. The award ceremony was held during the Penobscot Pageant, a celebration of traditional song and dance.


2014 Race results

Race course description

Race poster

Bangor Daily News : 15-mile canoe race set to honor Penobscot history, free-flowing river- July 28, 2014

Indian Country Today: Race Celebrates Penobscot River, People, History, Post-Veazie Dam  - July 28, 2014

Portland Press Herald: New race honors, celebrates Penobscot River  - July 27, 2014

Paddlers headed toward Joe Peas Falls at the beginning of the Bashabez Run
A war canoe paddled by several national champions and friends, gets an early lead and wins the race.
36 boats registered and completed the race.
Kayaker finishing the Bashabez Run on the Brewer waterfront

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