Maine House Passes LD 2007 Wabanaki Sovereignty Bill

The Maine House passed LD 2007 An Act Regarding the Criminal Jurisdiction of Tribal Courts and to Extend the Time for the Penobscot Nation to Certify Its Agreement to Public Law 2023, Chapter 369 with bipartisan support 82-62 (see the roll call). It reflects much of the criminal justice recommendations from the 2019 bipartisan Task Force on Changes to the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Implementing Act. The bill also extends the period for the Penobscot Nation to approve previous changes that would allow the tribe a greater role in the management of its drinking water.

“Today was a big win but a small step moving forward so a big thanks and appreciation goes out to all that supported us on both sides of the aisle. We still have so much work to do and education to accomplish. LD 2007 is a step in that direction,” said Passamaquoddy Tribal Representative and Wabanaki Alliance board member Aaron Dana. “Maybe one day the Wabanaki Nations can reclaim their inherent right to self-governance and be allowed their ability to succeed or fail on their own terms. We are a very proud Wabanaki Confederacy, and we will always move forward in a good way. We will always look to our ancestral teachings and be the warriors our ancestors fought on behalf of and prayed so hard for us to be!”

LD 2007 represents the latest effort to address the flawed Maine Indian Claims Settlement Implementing Act recognized as unjustly restricting powers of Wabanaki Nations to self-govern and impeding economic development both within Wabanaki communities and the surrounding areas. Three consecutive Maine legislatures have considered bills incorporating the largely consensus recommendations of the 2019-2020 Task Force. Passage of LD 2007 would represent the most substantive changes to the Maine Implementing Act since it was signed by Governor Brennan in April 1980.

The bill now goes to the Maine Senate. Learn more about LD 2007 in our Bill Tracker