Colin Woodard’s March 2 article (“LePage calls EPA’s tribal waters ruling ‘outrageous’ “) reminds me of a Penobscot Indian I once knew. When asked to identify his personal meaning of “sovereignty,” he answered that he saw it as the freedom to fish off Indian Island and then eat what he caught.

His response to the question was brought down to the lowest common denominator of human existence: Sovereignty equals sustenance.

Sovereignty, as presented in Mr. Woodard’s article, is under attack, with Portland law firm Pierce Atwood’s “tangling with” the Penobscots on behalf of paper companies and dam owners for 25 years. Is cleaning up the Penobscot River self-serving to the Penobscot Nation only? It would certainly seem so – if the river started and ended at Indian Island.

How on earth can town councils, selectmen and the electorate along this river agree to be defendants in a lawsuit against their own river’s health and well-being? It’s like these people want the cancer-causing chemicals they’re drinking every day. Where does this self-destruction and blatant suicidal behavior come from? It’s like the basis of a really scary Steven King novel – based on truth.

This whole affair proves that you don’t need to be a Native American to lose your sovereignty along the banks of the Penobscot.

Dr. John C. Frachella