The gold beak would benefit the tribes of the Wabanaki Nations

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ELLSWORTH – Maine tribes of the Wabanaki Nations would receive equal treatment with Native American tribes under a bill that US Representative Jared Golden (D-Maine) recently introduced in Congress. Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) co-sponsored the bill.

HR 6707, the Advancing Equality for Wabanaki Nations Act, would amend the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980. The result would be for the federal government to fully recognize their sovereignty, as it does for Native American tribes outside of Maine.

“This bill will reduce unnecessary red tape and bureaucratic efforts to prevent the Wabanaki tribes from benefiting from federal laws passed to their advantage and create future opportunities for improved living standards and economic growth,” Golden said in a statement. a March 31 press release.

According to the 1980 law, in order for the tribes of Maine to be covered by new laws for United States Indian Country, Maine had to be specifically mentioned whenever a law was enacted. Consequently, the tribes of Maine are excluded from political developments affecting Indian Country, such as the Violence Against Women Act of 2013 and the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010. The indigenous tribes of Maine include the Mi’kmaq , Maliseet, Passamaquoddy and those of the Penobscot Nation.

“HR 6707 is a narrow but essential reform of the Indian Land Claims Act of Maine [which has been] a significant obstacle to self-determination for 40 years now,” Passamaquoddy Tribe Chief William J. Nicholas Jr. told the House Subcommittee on Indigenous Peoples of the United States on March 31.

The four chiefs of Maine’s Wabanaki tribes testified in favor of the proposed bill before the House subcommittee, with Chief Kirk Francis of the Penobscot Nation noting, “We lost millions of dollars that would have strengthened our tribal court.” and our public safety efforts.

If approved by Congress, the tribes of Maine would have access to future beneficial federal laws, as most federally recognized tribes have had for decades.

“It’s long overdue,” Pingree said. “Quite simply, it’s a matter of fairness. I’m proud to work alongside Congressman Jared Golden on this important effort to finally fix a 40-year-old disparity in the law.

The next step is for the bill to be discussed, possibly amended, and then voted on by the House. If passed by a majority, the bill will then pass through the Senate.

Journalist Anne Berleant covers news and features in Ellsworth, Mariaville, Otis, Amherst, Aurora, Great Pond and Osborn. When she’s not reporting, find her hiking the local trails, reading, or watching professional tennis. Email him at [email protected]
Anne Berleant
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