AUGUSTA — On Monday, Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash joined Assistant House Majority Leader Rep. Rachel Talbot-Ross and Wabanaki leaders for a press conference commemorating Indigenous Peoples Day and calling for the passage of tribal sovereignty legislation. LD 1626, An Act Implementing the Recommendations of the Task Force on Changes to the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Implementing Act seeks to restore Tribal sovereignty and self-determination while working to repair the relationship between the State of Maine and Tribal governments.
The proposal is the result of years of hard work by tribal leaders and members, the Task Force on Changes to Maine Indian Claims Settlement Implementing Act, state lawmakers, and tireless advocates. It is expected to go before the full Maine Legislature next year.
Following the press conference, President Jackson and other speakers released the following statements:
“We don’t treat the tribes in Maine like the other 570 federally recognized tribes in 49 other states. We’re leaving transportation infrastructure, educational opportunities, economic growth, and protecting our shared outdoors heritage of hunting and fishing on the table, while those 570 other tribes and 49 other states benefit and take advantage of those opportunities.”
Vice Chief of Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township, Darrell Newell:
“The State Indian policy of now, of today, is business as usual. And now with systemic denial…Governor Janet Mills has been steadfast in maintaining the systemic norm of oppression. Maintaining control and holding tribes hostage with her lack of interest in engaging us…tribal-state relations are broken.”
“I’m honored to serve as the lead sponsor of LD 1626. A bill to advance tribal sovereignty, and, as the truth demands us to acknowledge, the restoration of those inherent rights. After two centuries the time to restore and advance tribal sovereignty is long overdue. Two hundred years of state governance over tribal nations have produced extreme poverty, short life expectancy, poor health, limited educational opportunities, and diminished economic development in their communities.”
Ambassador of Penobscot Nation, Maulian Dana:
“They came for our lands, they came for resources, they came for our babies…we don’t bring these things up to put blame on anyone or shame. We bring them up so we can walk forward together.”