Clarrisa Sabattis, center, Chief of the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, cools off in the sacred waters of the Meduxnekeag River before standing for a portrait during the 38th annual Recognition Day celebration in Littleton, Maine on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018. According to tribal elders, the river, known to the tribe as "River", is a living entity that sustains life for the Maliseet. When Sabattis travels, she takes a small container filled with its water to demonstrate that connection to outsiders and to maintain that connection for herself. While the Maliseet Indians predate European settlers and the formation of the United States, they were only recently officially recognized by the federal government on October 10, 1980. The tribe celebrates "Recognition Day" with a public event that includes drumming, dancing, several sacred ceremonies, and food and games.