Year in Review: A Look Back at 2023
Our year began with an ambitious state legislative agenda to advance priority bills on issues important to Wabanaki citizens and ended with a landslide victory at the polls for a state constitutional amendment that requires the state to print the Maine Constitution in full for the first time since 1875, including a section about Maine’s original treaty obligations to the Wabanaki Nations that has been missing from printed versions for more than 100 years.
2023 in Review highlights these and other accomplishments, events, and actions undertaken by the Wabanaki Alliance and our Coalition of nearly 200 advocacy groups, businesses, and faith-based organizations. Want to help us build on this momentum in 2024? Make a donation to the Wabanaki Alliance, sign up for our email list, or add your organization or business to the Wabanaki Alliance Coalition.
Maine Voters Overwhelmingly Pass Question 6
Maine voters overwhelmingly passed Question 6 on Nov. 7, approving the amendment to the Maine Constitution with 74% of the vote. The Maine Constitution will now be printed in full for the first time since 1875, including a section about Maine’s original treaty obligations to the Wabanaki Nations that has been missing from printed versions for more than 100 years.
(Photo: Passamaquoddy Elder Theresa Downing)
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Historic State of the Tribes Address
On March 16, all five Wabanaki Nations Chiefs spoke to a joint session of the Maine Legislature for a State of the Tribes address, the second in the state’s history and the first in more than 20 years. In attendance were state legislators, Congressman Jared Golden, Maine Supreme Court justices, Maine Constitutional Officers, Wabanaki guests, and the public.
(Photo: Passamaquoddy citizen Lauren Stevens sang the “Welcome Song” to begin the historic State of the Tribes address.)
Wabanaki Alliance Lobby Day
On the same day as the Chiefs’ address, about 200 people from across Maine came to the State House for a Wabanaki Alliance Lobby Day. Participants representing a range of groups and organizaitons took part in trainings, talked with their legislators, and witnessed the address.
Celebration of Rising Voices
On January 3, leaders, elders, and Wabanaki citizens gathered alongside legislative allies from all parties in Maine’s 131st Legislature joined by allied organizations to attend the “Celebration of Rising Voices,” an event in Augusta to mark the beginning of the new legislative session and build support for Wabanaki sovereignty.
State House Legislative Victories
The Wabanaki Alliance set a number of legislative priorities for the 131st Maine Legislature, including three measures that are now law and one that advanced a constitutional amendment to the Nov. 7 ballot that was overwhelmingly approved by Maine voters. More bills will be taken up when the Legislature returns in January.
The Harvard Report
A report by the Harvard Project on Indigenous Governance and Development found that Wabanaki Nations could become “economic engines” for rural Maine if the 1980 Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act (MICSA) is modernized. Principal co-author Joseph Kalt briefed lawmakers March 9.
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Wabanaki Coalition Nears 200 Members
Nearly 200 businesses and organizations have joined the Wabanaki Alliance Tribal Coalition, a group that supports Wabanaki inherent sovereignty and helps advance the work of the Wabanaki Alliance. Coalition members come from all across Maine and include a range of businesses, organizations, and demographics.
Nihkaniyane: Let’s Go Forward Together
More than 200 friends and supporters gathered Thursday, July 13th for the Wabanaki Alliance’s inaugural fundraiser Nihkaniyane: Let’s Go Forward Together at Mallet Barn, Wolfe’s Neck Center, in Freeport.
Indigenous Peoples’ Day Rally for Question 6
An October 9 rally and march on Indigenous Peoples’ Day in support of Question 6 drew more than 200 Wabanaki citizens, Wabanaki Alliance Coalition members, state leaders, and other allies and garnered state and national media attention.
2023 in Photos and Videos
Celebration of Rising Voices, January 3
State of the Tribes Address, March 16, 2023
Wabanaki Alliance Lobby Day, March 16
Sage Phillips, Wabanaki Alliance Summer Fellow, offered a response to Gov. Janet Mills’ veto of LD 2004 in June
Nihkaniyane: Let’s Go Forward Together, July 13
Emma Soctomah, Passamaquoddy citizen and student at UMaine Machias, on Question 6
Indigenous People’s Day Rally in Support of Question 6, October 9
“Understanding Tribal Sovereignty,” produced by Adrian Madanes and the Maine Youth for Climate Justice Communications Team in collaboration with the Wabanaki Alliance