Dawnland Signals 10/15/20: Maine Indian Land Claims: Origins, Intent, and Outcome.

Producer/Host: Esther Anne
Production assistance: Jeffrey Hotchkiss
[NOTE: Maria Girouard switched seats for this show, taking on the guest role while Esther Anne hosted]

The Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980 brought to a close a tumultuous decade in which the Penobscot and Passamaquoddy Tribes sued the State of Maine for the illegal sale and transfer of aboriginal land. The settlement was originally framed as a “watershed victory” but the Tribes soon found that the written document did not accurately reflect their understanding of the agreement. October 2020 marks the 40th anniversary since it was signed into law.

How did the land claims case begin? What were the tribes aiming to accomplish? And where did it go wrong? Join us as we begin this critical conversation about an important and complex topic.

Dawnland Signals is a monthly talk show that holds space for critical conversations of truth, healing and change here in the Dawnland. Co-hosted by Maria Girouard and Esther Anne of Maine-Wabanaki REACH.

About the hosts:

Esther Anne, Passamaquoddy from Sipayik, joined the Muskie School of Public Service in 2003 where she works on projects that engage and benefit tribal communities including facilitating the Maine tribal-state Indian Child Welfare Act workgroup and creating child welfare resources with the Capacity Building Center for Tribes. She had a primary role in the creation and establishment of the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Maine-Wabanaki REACH. Esther now serves as secretary for the REACH Board of Directors and on the REACH Communications Committee. Esther lives on Indian Island and her family includes adult children and a grandbaby.

Maria Girouard, Penobscot from Indian Island, is Executive Director of Maine-Wabanaki REACH, a statewide organization working toward truth, healing, and change in the Dawnland. Maria is a tribal historian with a Master’s Degree in History from the University of Maine and a special interest in the Maine Indian Land Claims. Maria has devoted years to community organizing, environmental stewardship and activism, and growing food in tribal communities.