Penobscots belong to the Algonquian linguistic family of Abnakis, Passamaquoddies, Malecites, and Pennacooks. They live on both sides of Penobscot Bay and up and down the whole area of the Penobscot River. They were visited by Samuel de Champlain in 1604 and numerous later explorers for the next 150 years. Penobscots made peace with the colonials and remained in their own country (not withdrawing to Canada). Conjointly with the Passamaquoddies, the Penobscots have a representative at sessions of the Maine legislature, privileged to speak on native American tribal affairs only.
In early Penobscot family narrative history, there are a few family groups possessing associated legends as their specific property. In the myth of the water famine, the transformer, Gluskabe, changes certain human beings into aquatic creatures. One of the original families' identity was connected with creatures residing in the water.