The historic-era ship, which is paying Maine a four-day visit, is opposed by some.

PORTLAND (AP) – A replica of one of Christopher Columbus’ ships sailed into Portland Tuesday for a four-day stop in the vessel’s first visit to Maine.

The 94-foot Nina will open up for visitors to see replicas of artifacts used during the 1490s, including compasses, jewelry boxes and maps.

Visitors also can view a 17-minute video and read articles about the ship and Columbus’ navigational skills.

“We stress and the crew stresses the navigational and seamanship skills of the early explorers,” said Morgan Sanger, senior captain of the Nina. “We’re talking about sailing, we’re talking about a beautiful ship.”

That hasn’t prevented the ship from becoming a magnet for protests in other ports by Indians who view Columbus as an oppressor rather than a discoverer.

No protests are planned in Maine, but the visit is opposed by some.

“When we see people celebrating this on a large scale, even Columbus Day, it’s offensive,” said William Phillips, chief of the Aroostook Band of Micmacs.

Phillips said Columbus represents the beginning of oppression and the taking of land. He said that if the ship’s builders, the Columbus Foundation, cared about representing the history of seamanship, they would have found another ship from that era to reproduce.

“By picking Christopher Columbus, to me, it’s still glorifying a man who was just a murderer, controller and a thief,” Phillips said.

But Robert Norrell of Scarborough, who is also a Micmac, said the boat carries historical significance, even if the idea of Columbus “doesn’t set well with the accurate history of our culture.”

“It’s good that it brings attention to that particular era and the history. And if that brings out an awareness of our culture, it’s a good thing as long as the history is told accurately,” Norrell said. “I think it’s good for the school children to learn as much accurate history as they possibly can.”

The original Nina sailed with the Pinta and the Santa Maria under Columbus, who was looking for a route to India when he accidentally sailed to the Caribbean in 1492. The Columbus Foundation, Inc., a private foundation based in the British Virgin Islands, built, owns and operates the replica.

The Nina will dock at Portland Yacht Services and be open for self-guided tours from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday.

Tickets are $4 for adults, $3.50 for seniors, $3 for children ages 5-18. Children under 4 are free. No parking is available at Portland Yacht Services.


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