National Geographic : 1985 Feb
would "blow the whistle" and 135 people would show up, hoping to work at least long enough to qualify for unemployment when the fish stopped. "It's a hard, hard old place to make a living." And it is hard in Eastport where, at 16, John Arsenault couldn't see a future for him self in town. As a summer job he worked for a company restoring an old theater. Restora tion along the waterfront, new cargo and fishing piers, salmon aquaculture at Ocean Products, the vocational school that teaches traditional boatbuilding and modern fisher ies techniques: These were good signs. Still, Arsenault thought he would proba bly go into the Navy for electronics training and use it somewhere else. "There's nothing to do," he said. "Some kids hang out and get in trouble." As he spoke, kids were congregating in a grocery store parking lot while the sun went down. The sun has an unfortunate habit of going down on grandiose but failed plans for the economic transformation of Way Down East-the tidal power project of the 1930s, the supertanker port of the 1970s. N THE ROAD to Eastport, a cluster of buildings looks like a modest subur ban subdivision. It is the Pleasant PointIndian Reservation and home to 600 of the 2,300-member Passamaquoddy tribe, which may accomplish what tides and tank ers never had the chance to do. The Passamaquoddies were long wards of the state, not recognized by the federal gov ernment. That has changed, and with the Penobscot Indian Nation of Old Town they share in the proceeds of an old wrong right ed. In 1980 their claims under a 1790 statute were at last honored, and the Indians were recompensed with 81.5 million dollars.