Harvard Report: MICSA Severely Restricts Wabanaki Nations’ Economic Growth

This report was published by the Harvard Kennedy School in October 2022 and documents the costs to the Wabanaki Nations in Maine—Maliseet, Mi’kmaq, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot—and to Maine’s non-tribal citizens of the state’s being screened off from federal policies of Indian self-determination and self-governance. According to the report, the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act has seriously limited the economic growth potential of the Wabanaki Nations, putting them well below the average for all other federally recognized tribes. While all other federally recognized tribes showed an average economic growth of 61 percent between 1989 and 2020, Wabanaki Nations’ economies only grew by 9 percent. The report concludes: “Subjecting the Wabanaki Nations’ capacities to the restrictions of MICSA stifles substantial development opportunities – to the detriment of both the Wabanaki and non-Wabanaki citizens of Maine. The unrealized opportunities measure in the hundreds of millions of dollars of GDP for the state, representing support for thousands of jobs held by Mainers and tens of millions of dollars going into Maine’s tribal, state, and local treasuries.”

The Wabanaki Studies Law: 21 Years After Implementation

This report was published in October 2022 by the Wabanaki Alliance, Abbe Museum, ACLU of Maine and Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission. The report reviews the goals of a 21-year-old law known as the Wabanaki Studies Law, which required all Maine K-12 schools to teach students about the Wabanaki Nations. Central conclusions of the report include local school districts have inadequately implemented the Wabanaki Studies law, when they have implemented it at all, and the Department of Education has not provided sufficient support and enforcement to realize the intent of the legislation. The report also offers a number of recommendations to ensure the Wabanaki Studies Law is enforced.