Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco
Issue: Environmental and Social Justice
Program Topic: Rally for Tribal Sovereignty and Unity; Penobscot and Passamaquoddy Tribes Withdraw Reps. from State Legislature
a) Today we hear from Wabanaki Tribal members at the Rally for Tribal Sovereignty and Unity in Augusta last week, May 26th. On that day, the Penobscot and Passamquoddy Tribes withdrew their representatives from the Maine legislature in the wake of numerous recent state actions to block or diminish tribal efforts to exercise sovereignty.
b) These issues include fishing rights, the right of Maine tribes to gain the protections under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) afforded all other tribes in the country, and the state’s attempt to re-define Penobscot Nation territory to exclude the Penobscot River. In April, Governor LePage issued an executive order to rescind cooperation with the Tribes and, at the end of May, announced he would veto a number of bills tribal representatives sponsored this session.
c) Repeatedly, Maine State government has used the 1980 Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act as a reason to exempt Wabanaki Tribes from federal protections and to assert power over the Tribes. The Wabanaki Tribes have repeatedly asserted a different interpretation of the Settlement Act, and the Maine Indian Tribal State Commission, set up by the Act to advise, recommend and seek amendment to a law negotiators agreed needed more clarity, has been ignored repeatedly by the state. The Wabankai Tribes are now calling on Congress to review the Settlement Act and the Maine’s interpretation and implementation of it.
Matt Dana, former Passamquoddy representative to Maine legislature
Chief Kirk Francis, Penobscot Nation
Chief Billy Nicolas, Passamquoddy, Indian Township
Vice- Chief Vera Francis, Passamquoddy, Sipayik/Pleasant Point
Chief Fred Moore, Passamquoddy,Sipayik/Pleasant Point
Tribal members: Serge, Passamquoddy/Indian Township; Tara, Micmac; Tim Shay, Penobscot; Charlene, Micmac; Adrian, Micmac, Glen, Micmac.
Newell Lewey, Passamquoddy tribal council member, Sipayik/Pleasant Point
Sherri Mitchell, Penobscot Nation, indigenous rights attorney
John Banks, Penobscot Nation; Maine Indian Tribal State Commission