OLD TOWN (AP) — The Whitewater Open Canoe National Championship is being held for the first time on Maine’s Penobscot River.

The Penobscot Indian Nation is hosting the event from July 23 to 26. It’s expected to draw several hundred kayakers and canoeists from as far away as North Carolina and Michigan.

Scott Phillips, race director, said the Penobscots want to showcase how the river is being reborn. The removal of the Great Works Dam in 2012 and the Veazie Dam in 2013 was part of an effort to reopen the river to sea-run fish.

This isn’t the tribe’s first race on the Penobscot. Last summer, the Penobscots partnered with the New England Paddle America Club to hold the Bashabez Run, named for tribe’s first-known chief.

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