Tribal leaders from around the state form new coalition
Education, advocacy, and tackling key issues together is the goal of the Wabanaki Alliance.
BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - At a news conference Wednesday members of the Wabanaki Alliance talked about how far they’ve come and where they hope to go in the future.
“We’ve seized this moment where we might be able to make some real strides together,” said Ambassador of Penobscot Nation Maulian Dana, President of Wabanaki Alliance.
After recent momentum in the state legislature, tribal leaders across Maine have banded together to form the Wabanaki Alliance.
“Our first couple of bills that we passed was Indigenous Peoples Day and the ban on Indian mascots and I saw a lot of conversation starting to take form about race in Maine and about the tribes in Maine and how we interact with different communities,” said Maulian Dana.
“Some of the work that’s really been going on has been historic,” said Penobscot Nation Chief Kirk Francis. He said, “The legislative result from last year, for example, that really sets the tone for a lot of the work that’s been going on.”
Including LD 2094, a bill aimed to put forth task force recommendations to make changes to a decades old settlement these leaders say has stripped Maine native Americans of their sovereignty.
“For the legislation to look at the amendments in the land claims of 1980 really kind of sparked this moment of I think unity with all of the tribes in Maine. We all have very different situations and needs and goals but we were able to identify a lot of key areas where we could work together in advance tribal sovereignty as a whole in Maine,” said Maulian Dana.
They hope by coming together they can build lasting partnerships within their communities as well as with neighboring communities.
“Most folks already know and understand and appreciate that we tribes of Maine aren’t asking for special treatments or special status. We’re simply striving to restore our sacred and inherent sovereign rights to freely make decisions for ourselves and for the betterment of our people for future generations,” said Darrell Newell, Vice Chief of Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township.
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