“An Act Implementing the Recommendations of the Task Force on Changes to the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Implementing Act”
The House session will begin at 1pm today.
Watch here live and for recordings:
LD 1626, “An Act Implementing the Recommendations of the Task Force on Changes to the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Implementing Act” 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, and the Stafford Act regarding federal disaster funds.
On February 15th, 2022 a record-breaking number of testimonies were heard at a public hearing on LD 1626, for over eight hours in front of the legislature’s Judiciary Committee.