Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work Spotlight - April 2016
Harald E.L. Prins, University Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, serves as lead expert witness for the Penobscot Indian Nation in a federal court case in a dispute with the State of Maine and numerous river towns about tribal reservation boundaries and its fishing rights on the Upper Penobscot River. The tribe is supported by the U.S. Department of Justice. The case is now before the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Boston. Dr. Prins has a long-established record as an internationally-recognized expert on the ethnohistory of the Wabanaki, focusing on their land claims and historic treaties protecting traditional hunting, fishing and trapping rights. This Algonquian group in Northeast America includes the Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Maliseet and Mi'kmaq. His highly-detailed research reports and/or oral testimonies in the U.S. Senate, Supreme Court of Newfoundland, and other legal venues are instrumental in the struggle for cultural survival by these indigenous nations. A former Research Associate at the Smithsonian Institution, he has also guest-lectured on these issues at numerous universities, including the University of Lund (Sweden) and the École des hautes etudes (Paris), as well as numerous international conferences. Once this particular landmark court case is settled, he expects to expand on his research for another book.