RadioActive 3/10/22: LD 1626 “An Act Implementing the Recommendations of the Task Force on Changes to the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Implementing Act”

Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

This week the Maine Legislature’s Judiciary Committee continued to consider legislation that would address some of the longstanding detrimental impacts of the 1980 Maine Indian Claims Settlement Implementing Act on the Wabanaki Tribes, and recognize their status as equal to the other 570 federally recognized Tribes.

On February 15th, a record-breaking number of testimonies were heard at a public hearing for over eight hours in support of LD 1626, “An Act Implementing the Recommendations of the Task Force on Changes to the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Implementing Act”.

The bill includes 22 recommendations developed by a Task Force convened in 2019, made up of bipartisan legislative representatives, the Tribal Chiefs of the Penobscot Nation, Passamaquoddy at Sipayik and Motahkomikuk, the Houlton Band of the Maliseets, and the Mi’kmaq Nation, and ex offcio representation from the State Attorney General’s, Governor’s Offices and the Maine Indian Tribal State Commission(MITSC). The recommendations include changes to policy regarding trust land acquisition, use of land and natural resources, hunting and fishing, taxation, criminal jurisdiction, civil jurisdiction, and the applicability of federal laws to the Tribes within Maine. Currently, the Wabanaki Tribes are exempt from federal laws passed effecting other federally recognized Tribes, unless the law explicitly includes them, an action the State of Maine has often subverted. Recent examples include the Violence Against Women Act, the Indian Health Improvement Act, the Stafford Act, regarding federal disaster funds.

A third work session on LD 1626 “An Act Implementing the Recommendations of the Task Force on Changes to the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Implementing Act”will be held Tuesday, March 15th at 1pm, when a Committee vote is expected.

Guests:

Vice Chief Darrell Newell, Passamaquoddy at Motahkomikuk
Rep. Rachel Talbot Ross
Chief Kirk Francis, Penobscot Nation
Chief Clarissa Sabattis, Houlton Band of Maliseets
Lee Francis, Penobscot Nation Tribal Council
Chief Maggie Dana, Passamaquoddy at Sipayik

Today’s program was co-produced by WERU FM/RadioActive and Sunlight Media Collective, including Mali Obamsawin, Lokotah Sanborn, Dawn Neptune Adams, Maria Giroaurd, Andrea DeFrancesco, Nickie Sekera and Meredith DeFrancesco.

Sunlight Media Collective, documents and presents issues affecting Indigenous people from Wabanaki perspectives, highlighting the intersection between environmental justice and Tribal sovereignty.

RadioActive 2/10/22: Tribal Leaders Speak to Need to Make Changes to the Settlement Implementing Act

Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

This session Maine Legislature’s Judiciary Committee continues to consider legislation that would address some of the longstanding detrimental impacts of the 1980 Maine Indian Claims Settlement Implementing Act on the Wabanaki Tribes, and recognize their status as equal to the other 570 federally recognized Tribes.

The bill includes 22 recommendations developed by a Task Force convened in 2019, made up of bipartisan legislative representatives, the Tribal Chiefs of the Penobscot Nation, Passamaquoddy at Sipayik and Motahkomikuk, the Houlton Band of the Maliseets, and the Mi’kmaq Nation, and ex offcio representation from the State Attorney General’s, Governor’s Offices and the Maine Indian Tribal State Commission(MITSC). The recommendations include changes to policy regarding trust land acquisition, use of land and natural resources, hunting and fishing, taxation, criminal jurisdiction, civil jurisdiction, and the applicability of federal laws to the Tribes within Maine. Currently, the Wabanaki Tribes are exempt from federal laws passed effecting other federally recognized Tribes, unless the law explicitly includes them, an action the State of Maine has often subverted. Recent examples include the Violence Against Women Act, the Indian Health Improvement Act, the Stafford Act, regarding federal disaster funds.

Today we hear from a presentation last spring given by Penobscot Ambassador Maulian Dana and Passamaquoddy Tribal member and attorney Corey Hinton, hosted by the Maine Conservation Voters.

And then we hear an interview also from the spring, with Passamaquoddy Chief Maggie Dana of Sipayik and Passamaquoddy Representative to the Maine legislature, Rena Newell following the decision to postpone the consideration of LD 1626 to this legislative session.

Guests:

Maulian Dana, Penobscot Nation Ambassador
Corey Hinton, Passamaquoddy Tribe, Attorney
Rena Newell, Passamaquoddy Tribal Representative to Maine Legislature
Chief Maggie Dana, Passamaquoddy at Sipayik

Today’s program was co-produced by WERU FM/RadioActive and Sunlight Media Collective, including Mali Obamsawin, Lokotah Sanborn, Dawn Neptune Adams, Maria Giroaurd, Andrea DeFrancesco, Nickie Sekera and Meredith DeFrancesco.

Sunlight Media Collective, documents and presents issues affecting Indigenous people from Wabanaki perspectives, highlighting the intersection between environmental justice and Tribal sovereignty.

RadioActive 7/29/21: Penobscot River Case Decision, Efforts to Reform Settlement Act, Opposition to Mining & NECEC, Rally for Wabanaki Sovereignty

Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

Today we speak with Penobscot Nation Chief Kirk Francis on the latest court decision against the Tribe in the historic Penobscot River Case, a modern day territorial taking by the State of Maine and a threat to the Tribe’s cultural existence in its sustenance fishing waters.

We also look at current legislative efforts to reform the Maine Indian Land Claims Settlement Act to recognize Wabanaki Tribes sovereignty as equal to other Tribes within the United States,

And we look at Penobscot Nation’s opposition to mining in Maine, and the Central Maine Power corridor, the so-called New England Clean Energy Connect.

This Sunday, August 1st, Tribal leaders and activists will hold a Rally for the Penobscot River and Wabanaki Sovereignty from 230- 6pm at the Bangor Waterfront Park, on the Penobscot River.

Guest: Penobscot Nation Chief Kirk Francis

Today’s program was co-produced by WERU FM/RadioActive and Sunlight Media Collective.
Sunlight Media Collective co-producers/host included Lokotah Sanborn, Dawn Neptune Adams and Meredith DeFrancesco.

Sunlight Media Collective, documents and presents issues affecting Indigenous people from Wabanaki perspectives, highlighting the intersection between environmental justice and Tribal sovereignty.

RadioActive 10/29/20: First Nations Impacted by Hydropower, Penobscot Nation & Herring Pond Wampanoag Speak Out Against CMP Corridor

Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

First Nations Impacted by Hydropower, Penobscot Nation and Herring Pond Wampanoag Speak Out Against CMP Corridor

a) Less then three months before a referendum question would have been on the ballot aiming to reverse state agency approval of the so called New England Clean Energy Connect, or CMP Corridor, Central Maine Power’s parent company, Avangrid, succeeded in blocking it the courts. This election day, however, opponents are collecting signatures again on a re-worded citizen’s initiative aimed toward bringing it to voters the following election cycle.

While those who promote and profit from hydro power tout it as a clean energy, the facts bear out differently in terms of environmental impacts, including greenhouse gas emissions and methyl mercury contamination, and on the health and rights of the Indigenous People whose communities are effected by dam construction and subsequent flooding. The proposed CMP corridor, a 145 mile transmission line slated to bring electricity from Hydro Quebec through Maine to Massachussetts, has received stiff opposition from local Maine communities and the Penobscot Nation.

b) On Wednesday, October 28th, the Natural Resources Council of Maine, Sierra Club Maine and the Appalachian Mountain Club filed a lawsuit challenging the Army Corps of Engineers for an inadequate environmental assessment of the project and for refusing to require a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). A groundswell of the public in the state, as well as Congressman Jared Golden and the Penobscot Nation all requested an EIS be performed, but the Corp declined this past summer.

A document obtained by the groups in the suit, under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal that the Army Corps and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) have identified major issues with the CMP corridor, including the company’s claims about the proposal’s impact on the climate.

c) Members of First Nations in Canada have been campaigning heavily these past months through in person tours and other means to express their opposition to transmission corridor projects in the Northeast United States that would increase the impacts of hydro power development on their communities.
Today we hear from an educational web event organized by Northeast Megadam Resistance Alliance and Sierra Club Maine and a press conference aiming to bring the voices of First Nations people to the Conference of Northeastern Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers last month.

Guests:
Meg Sheean from Northeast Megadam Reststamce Alliance
Amy Norman, Nunatsiavummiuk Inuit, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador Land Protector
Penobscot Nation Chief Kirk Francis
Herring Pond Wampanoag Chairwoman Melissa Ferretti

Today’s program was co-produced by WERU FM/RadioActive and Sunlight Media Collective.

Sunlight Media Collective, who documents and presents issues affecting Indigenous people from Wabanaki perspectives, highlighting the intersection between environmental justice and Tribal sovereignty.

RadioActive 10/15/20: Drinking Water Crisis at Sipayik

Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

For the Passamaquoddy Nation at Sipayik, public drinking water quality has been an unaddressed problem for decades, causing Tribal members to buy water, fill jugs at a local source, or rely on donations. The Passamaquoddy Water District (PWD) named after, but not run by the Tribe, is a so called Quasi-Municipal District serving approximately 618 households at Sipayik, also known as Pleasant Point, and parts of Eastport. The source of the public water supply, which individual households are billed for, is the local Boyden Lake and its watershed. At issue is water odor, discoloration and a documented high level of trihalomethanes (THMs), a chemical created by the use of chlorine in disinfecting water during the treatment process. As Boyden Lake’s water levels have decreased, increased treatment has been required to offset higher levels of organic matter in the water source. Elevated levels of trihalomethanes have been associated with health issues, including cancer and reproductive problems. Beyond drinking water exposure, trihalomethanes can be absorbed through the skin and inhalation during everyday use of tap water.

After years of inaction by municipal or state entities, and previous efforts by the Tribe blocked, the Passamquoddy is bringing the issue front and center by organizing multi stakeholder meetings, with representatives of the water district, state and federal agencies and the Tribe. Meetings began in January, and some headway is being made to find short, medium and long term solutions for safe drinking water for Sipayik and neighboring Eastport.

The Passamaquoddy underline that their lack of ability to act independently to solve the crisis is compounded by restrictions from the controversial Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act. This includes, the required approval by local municipalities for projects on Tribal so-called “fee land”. Currently, the Maine Legislature is poised to consider long sought changes to the Settlement Act in the bill LD 2094: “An Act to Implement the Recommendations of the Task Force on Changes to the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Implementing Act”, the result of a months long process with Tribal and state representatives, which passed out of the Judiciary Committee in August.

At the end of summer, Passamaquoddy Vice Chief Maggie Dana at Sipayik, Passamaquoddy Representative to the Maine legislature Rena Newell, and Passamaquoddy attorney and water advocate Corey Hinton sat down via Zoom with Sunlight Media Collective, WERU and The Maine Beacon to discuss the efforts to take action on the ongoing problem of safe drinking water.

Guests:
Passamaquoddy Vice Chief Maggie Dana at Sipayik
Passamaquoddy Representative to the Maine legislature Rena Newell
Passamaquoddy attorney and water advocate Corey Hinton

Today’s program was co-produced by WERU FM/RadioActive and Sunlight Media Collective.

RadioActive 2/6/20: Youth Speak Out at Maine Climate Council Meeting

Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

Today we hear the voices of youth speaking out on January 29th, in Augusta at the State’s newly formed Maine Climate Council, and the Maine Youth for Climate Justice’s Youth Voices Day.

The youth representative on the state’s climate council, Ania Wight, gave the Climate Council a report back from the UN Climate talks in Madrid in December. Maine Youth for Climate Justice held a press conference to offer their perspectives and present their four demands on the work and goals of the Maine Climate Council. This includes demanding “that achieving zero-emissions by the year 2030 be the ultimate and official goal for the state and the Maine Climate Council”. Youth demands and petition

cSince October, South Portland, Portland, Bar Harbor and Brunswick have all declared a Climate Emergency. On January 21st, the Bar Harbor Town Council additionally passed a measure to create a Climate Emergency Task Force with mission of drawing down the town’s carbon emissions by 2030.

Guests:
Ania Wright- College of the Atlantic student, Youth Representative on the Maine Climate Council, founding member of Bar Harbor Climate Emergency Coalition, Earth in Brackets (COA), Maine Youth for Climate Justice

Emma Sawyer, University of Southern Maine student, Maine Youth for Climate Justice

Felipe Andres Fontecilla Gutierrez , College of the Atlantic student from Chile, Maine Youth for Climate Justice

Anna Siegel – 8th grade student at Friends School of Portland, ME Strikes, Maine Youth for Climate Justice

Sophie Dowling – Mount Desert Island High School, founding member of Bar Harbor Climate Emergency Coalition, Mount Desert Island High School ECO team, Maine Youth for Climate Justice

Today’s program was co-produced by WERU FM/RadioActive and Sunlight Media Collective.

RadioActive Special 1/30/20: Climate Emergency Call-In

Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco
Studio Engineer: John Greenman

a) Since October, South Portland, Portland, Bar Harbor and Brunswick have all declared a Climate Emergency. Today we speak with local youth who were instrumental in these efforts and continue to escalate a movement for climate action.

b) We discuss the imperative for immediate action and the necessity and opportunity to concentrate on action at local governmental level.

c) On January 21st, the Bar Harbor Town Council additionally passed a measure to create a Climate Emergency Task Force with mission of drawing down the town’s carbon emissions by 2030. We discuss this and yesterdays meeting of the State’s newly formed Maine Climate Council, and the Maine Youth for Climate Justice’s Youth Voices Day.

Guests:
Sirohi Kumar, MDI High School student, MDI High School ECO Team, Maine Youth for Climate Justice, founding member of Bar Harbor Climate Emergency Coalition.
Adam” Nusselien, MDI High School student, MDI High School ECO Team, Maine Youth for Climate Justice, founding member of Bar Harbor Climate Emergency Coalition.
Thomas Korstanje – MDI High School student, MDI High School ECO Team, Maine Youth for Climate Justice, founding member of Bar Harbor Climate Emergency Coalition.
Anna Siegel – 8th grade student at Friends School of Portland, ME Strikes, Maine Youth for Climate Justice
Ania Wright- student at College of the Atlantic, Youth Representative on the Maine Climate Council, founding member of Bar Harbor Climate Emergency Coalition, Earth in Brackets (COA)
Laura Berry- recent College of the Atlantic graduate, Program Manager for the College of the Atlantic- Community Energy Center, director for research and publications for the Climate Mobilization Project.

Today’s program was co-produced by WERU FM/RadioActive and Sunlight Media Collective.

RadioActive 1/23/20: Update on Maine Indian Claims Settlement Implementing Act Changes

Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

Maine Judiciary Committee Votes to Accept Recommendations of Task Force on Changes Maine Indian Claims Settlement Implementing Act

On January 14th, the Maine Legislature’s Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to accept the recommendations of the Task Force on Changes to the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Implementing Act. The Task Force met July through December 2019, to review and propose changes to the Settlement Act, with the goal of recognizing the inherent sovereignty of the Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Maliseet and Micmac Tribes within Maine, in concert with the status of other federally recognized Tribes throughout the country. Today we hear from Tribal leaders.
For meeting videos, audio, transcripts and other materials:
www.sunlightmediacollective.org
legislature.maine.gov/maine-indian-claims-tf
www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_129th/billpdfs/HP130701.pdf

b) The Judiciary Committee will hold public hearings on proposed legislation on February 14th and 21st at the State House, Room 438.

c) Today we announce a special call-in program on Climate Emergency : Thursday, January 30th, 4-5pm, preceding next week’s regularly scheduled RadioActive. We will look at local efforts to declare and address climate emergency.
Four town councils in Maine have declared a climate emergency : Portland, South Portland, Bar Harbor and Brunswick. On January 21st, the Bar Harbor Town Council passed a directive to create a Task Force on the Climate Emergency. See page 107: www.barharbormaine.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_01212020-2455
We will also cover the January 29th meeting of the newly created Maine Climate Council.
www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/index.php?topic=Portal_Public_Calendar&id=1706048&v=article_microformat2017

Guests:
Chief Kirk Francis, Penobscot Nation, president of United South and Eastern Tribes (USET) and National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), Natural Resource Committee Chair
Chief Clarissa Sabattis, Houlton Band of Maliseets
Vice Chief, Elizabeth Dana, Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayik

Today’s program was co-produced by WERU FM/RadioActive and Sunlight Media Collective.