AUGUSTA, ME – Wabanaki and Maine legislative leaders stood side by side at the State House on Indigenous Peoples’ Day to declare that the system must change if we’re to make meaningful progress for tribes in Maine. After the press conference, the tribes in Maine held an online cultural program. The four tribes in Maine are the Aroostook Band of Micmacs, Houlton Band of Maliseets, Passamaquoddy Tribe, and Penobscot Nation. You can see the full press conference and online presentations here.

Vice Chief of Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township, Darrell Newell: “The State Indian policy of now, of today, is business as usual. And now with systemic denial…Governor Janet Mills has been steadfast in maintaining the systemic norm of oppression. Maintaining control and holding tribes hostage with her lack of interest in engaging us…tribal-state relations are broken.”

Maine Senate President, Troy Jackson: “We don’t treat the tribes in Maine like the other 570 federally recognized tribes in 49 other states. We’re leaving transportation infrastructure, educational opportunities, economic growth, and protecting our shared outdoors heritage of hunting and fishing on the table, while those 570 other tribes and 49 other states benefit and take advantage of those opportunities.”

House Asst. Majority Leader and sponsor of LD 1626, Rachel Talbot Ross: “I’m honored to serve as the lead sponsor of LD 1626. A bill to advance tribal sovereignty, and, as the truth demands us to acknowledge, the restoration of those inherent rights. After two centuries the time to restore and advance tribal sovereignty is long overdue. Two hundred years of state governance over tribal nations have produced extreme poverty, short life expectancy, poor health, limited educational opportunities, and diminished economic development in their communities.”

Ambassador of Penobscot Nation, Maulian Dana: “They came for our lands, they came for resources, they came for our babies…we don’t bring these things up to put blame on anyone or shame. We bring them up so we can walk forward together.”


Read some of the news coverage of the event:

Maine tribes rally for Wabanaki rights on the state’s 3rd Indigenous Peoples’ Day
Bangor Daily News, Oct. 11, 2021

Maine tribal leaders say Indigenous Peoples’ Day is call to action, reform
Portland Press Herald, Oct. 11, 2021

On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Maine tribes urge Gov. Mills to sign sovereignty expansion
Spectrum News, Oct. 11, 2021

Maine tribal leaders call for support of bill to restore rights of Wabanaki tribes
WMTW-TV, Oct. 11, 2021

On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Maine tribes ask for equity
Maine Public, Oct. 11, 2021

Maine tribes rally for Wabanaki rights on the state’s third Indigenous Peoples’ Day
Our Community Now (from Maine Public), Oct. 11, 2021

Wabanaki Alliance holds virtual rally for Wabanaki rights
WABI-TV, Oct. 11, 2001

On Indigenous Peoples Day, Maine tribal leaders say ‘more needs to be done’
WCSH-TV, Oct. 11, 2021

Wabanaki Alliance rallies for restoration of rights
WFVX-TV, Oct. 11, 2021

Wabanaki and state leaders discuss improving relationship on Indigenous Peoples’ Day
WGME, Oct. 11, 2001

Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Maine is ‘empty’ without full sovereignty, tribal leaders say
Maine Beacon, Oct. 11, 2021