BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- People lined Bangor's waterfront Saturday afternoon to celebrate the Penobscot River and support the Penobscot Nation’s battle to protect and enhance the water quality of the river.

“The Penobscot River is the life-blood of our tribe” John Banks said. Banks is the Director of the Department of Natural Resources for the Penobscot Nation states. “It has sustained the Penobscot Nation for thousands of years and continues to provide food, medicine, and cultural enrichment today”.

The rally focused on the importance of clean and accessible water for all. It also highlighted other challenges the Penobscot Nation faces like the proposed expansion of the Juniper Ridge Landfill in Old Town as well as changes to Maine’s mining regulations. The group also had a flotilla of kayaks and canoes on the river.

This follows a pending decision by the US Court of Appeals to allow the Penobscot Nation jurisdiction over the water of the Penobscot Reservation. They feel the “taking” of the waters by the State of Maine threatens the quality of the water. Right now the health of the river must meet federal standards that protect Native fishing rights.

“Any threat to the ecological integrity of the Penobscot River is a threat to the spiritual, cultural, economic and social fabric of the Penobscot Nation” Banks said.