Written by AJ Douglas
STATEWIDE – Themelder IIndian The Claims Settlement Act 1980 has not been amended since it was created 40 years ago. Indigenous tribes and lawmakers are now working to make this happen.
The Standing Judicial Committee held a public hearing TTuesday to discuss a sovereignty bill, LD-1626. The bill is legislation to implement recommendations and changes to the Melder IIndian Claims Settlement Act.
Bill recommends that all Wabanaki that tribes be federally recognized and treated equally with other tribes. Lawmakers have reported that these tribes have yet to receive the promised lands in the initial settlement initiated 40 years ago.
Bill’s sponsor, Rep. Rachel Talbot Rbone, said the domino effect of the prevailing Settlements Act oppression is leading to high unemployment rates and economic disparity.
“We cannot live forever in the past. We have to move forward. Progress will only come if we adapt to the times, evolve our thinking and fully recognize our tribal nation neighbors as the political governments they are,” Ross said.
The Judiciary Committee will continue discussions surrounding the bill before it can be voted on or move forward at home.