Maine legislators will vote as early as this Thursday to override Gov. Janet Mills’ veto of LD 2004, An Act to Restore Access to Federal Laws Beneficial to the Wabanaki Nations. Your legislators need to hear from you! Call them now and ask them to vote to override Mills’ veto and join the Wabanaki Alliance at the State House on Thursday, July 6 at 9 am to show your support for Wabanaki sovereignty.
LD 2004 is a bipartisan bill that amends the 1980 Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act and the Aroostook Band of Micmacs Settlement Act so that the Wabanaki tribes can benefit from most existing and future federal laws that apply to the other 570 federally recognized tribes. Under the Settlement Acts, when Congress passes federal legislation for tribes nationwide, the tribes in Maine must be explicitly written into the legislation. The Wabanaki Nations are the only federally recognized tribes to be treated in this way. LD 2004 would modernize the Settlement Acts, ensuring that the tribes in Maine are not excluded when Congress passes federal legislation for tribes nationwide as they have been at least 151 times in the past 40 years, according to a 2019 report by the Suffolk University Law School. This would benefit not only the Wabanaki Nations, but also rural Maine, according to a 2022 analysis by the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development. The bill excludes federal tribal gaming laws, stipulating that the Wabanaki Nations would be subject to state gaming laws. The bill is similar to HR 6707, sponsored last year by Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine. That legislation passed the U.S. House with bipartisan support but failed in the Senate. Unlike Golden’s bill, LD 2004 would also apply retroactively to already enacted federal legislation that excluded tribes in Maine, ensuring that they gain the full benefit of federal Indian policy in the U.S. that has supported tribal self-determination through tribal self-government for more than 40 years. The bill passed the House and Senate by wide margins and with broad partisan support, but Gov. Mills vetoed it anyway. The Legislature will hold an override vote as early as this Thursday, July 6. A two-thirds majority vote is needed in each chamber to override the governor’s veto.
Make the call. Call your legislators at the numbers below and leave a message with your name, town and phone number; their name; and that you want them to vote to override the governor’s veto of LD 2004. Find your legislators here.
Maine House: 1-800-423-2900
Maine Senate: 1-800-423-6900
#StandWithWabanaki at the State House. Join the Wabanaki Alliance at the Maine State House in Augusta at 9am on Thursday, July 6 to show your support for LD 2004.