February 15th and 17th at 9AM

Important Hearings for Wabanaki Tribal Rights: LD 1626, LD 906, LD 585, LD 1907

On Tuesday, February 15th, 2022, at 9AM a public hearing will be held for LD 1626: An Act Implementing the Recommendations of the Task Force on Changes to the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Implementing Act

After years of controversial implementation of the 1980 Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act, LD 1626 seeks to restore the inherent right of the Passamaquoddy Tribe, the Penobscot Nation, and the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians to self-govern within their respective territories in accordance with the same federal laws that generally govern tribal lands elsewhere in the United States. LD 1626 would enact the 22 recommendations issued by a task force established by the Maine Legislature to address long-standing issues with the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act (MICSA) and the state law that accompanied it, the Maine Implementing ActThe Task Force was 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 Aroostook Band of Micmacs, and ex-offico representation from the State Attorney General’s and Governor’s Offices and the Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission (MITSC). You can learn more about LD 1626 on the Wabanaki Alliance Page, or from Passamaquoddy attorney Corey Hinton here, and more about the original 1980 Acts here.

Register to testify in support of the Tribes and LD 1626 at the button above. 
Then choose: Public Hearing
Then committee: Judiciary
Then date: February 15 9 a.m.
Then choose bill: LD 1626
Sign up to testify by a half hour  prior to the hearing. You will be emailed a Zoom link. **Note: Oral testimony has a 3 minute limit. Written testimony has no length limit. If you give only oral testimony, it will not be entered into the public record, but a write up of your  testimony can be submitted online after the hearing. At the hearing, sponsors will speak first, followed by the Chiefs and other Tribal leaders. After that, precedence will be given to Elders and Tribal members. Names can be sent to [email protected], and we will pass on to the hearing moderator to arrange.  After that, testimonies will be taken alphabetically by first name. Two hours will  be heard from those supporting the bill, and the second two hours by those opposed, followed by two hours supporting, and so forth.  If you only wish to watch the hearing, you can view the Judiciary Committee’s YouTube Channel.
On Thursday, February 17th at 9AM there will be a public hearing on LD 906: An Act To Provide Passamaquoddy Tribal Members Access to Clean Drinking Water.

This act seeks to address the drinking water crisis that the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayik has been facing for decades – including boil-water advisories and unsafe levels of trihalomethanes in their tap water which increase cancer risk and liver and kidney problems. The reservation community has to buy bottled water or drive 10 miles to a church in Robbinston to fill jugs for cooking, drinking, and everyday water uses. You can learn more about the issue here and here.

  Register here to give testimony in support of the Tribes and LD 906.  Then choose: Public Hearing Then committee: Judiciary Then date: February 17 9 a.m. Then choose bill: LD 906 Sign up to testify by 30 minutes prior to the hearing. You will be emailed a Zoom link.  Public hearings will also be held on February 17th for:  LD 585 An Act To Restore to the Penobscot Nation and PassamaquoddyTribe the Authority To Exercise Jurisdiction under the Federal Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010  LD 1907 An Act To Review State Lands and Waterways That Have Sacred, Traditional or Other Significance to the Wabanaki Tribes. Work Sessions will follow in days after the hearings, and committees are to report out Bills by March 11th. 
  1. Patricia Curley

    I support LD-906 to provide Passamaquoddy Tribal members access to clean drinking water. They should have access to their lands for wells with clean water. Not just relying on Sipayik Elementary School for clean drinking water. They have a right to Inherent Tribal Sovereignty.

    I support LD-1626 to provide Wabanaki tribes the right to self govern. This act to Implement the Recommendations of the Task Forces on changes to the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Implementation Bill.

  2. Ken Ross

    The Passamaquoddies have long been friends and good neighbors to the surrounding towns in Washington County. George Washington acknowledged their help in the Revolutionary War. They served in the Civil War, World Wars I and II, and in most other wars involving the United States.

    Many members of the tribe live off the Reservation land and participate in the economy and other activities. At present I am pleased to be hiring one of them to build my retirement house.

    The treaty of 1794 promised the Tribe a large amount of land, but the 1980 settlement gave them far less. Other tribes received powers of sovereignty in later federal legislation, but the Passamaquoddies did not. This oversight should be addressed by passage of LD 1626. Their lack of sufficient legal power has left them unable to solve the problem of insufficient drinking water; this problem can be addressed by LD 906. LD 585 will help them exercise the legal jurisdiction necessary for their maintenance of law and order, as nearly all other tribes in the US have been granted. LD 1907 will facilitate the return of some sacred lands or sites that are very important to tribal culture.

    All these requests: LDs 1626, 906, 585, and 1907, are reasonable and long overdue for the wellbeing of the Tribe, and will improve the already friendly relations between the Tribe and the surrounding communities.
    Ken Ross, Robbinston

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