Wabanaki Alliance holds virtual rally for Wabanaki rights

Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 4:50 PM EDT
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(WABI) - On this Indigenous Peoples’ Day, the Wabanaki Alliance held a virtual rally featuring speakers, music, and presentations. It all centered around support for Wabanaki rights and sovereignty as outlined in LD 1626, legislation the Alliance says would remedy much of what ails tribes in Maine.

At a press conference in Augusta Monday before the rally for Wabanaki rights virtual presentation, leaders from the Wabanaki Alliance expressed frustration with Maine’s executive branch.

“Federal state relations are broken, and are in need of repair,” said Vice Chief of Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township Darrell Newell. “Governor Janet Mills remains unwilling to deal with tribes in a sovereign way, in an equal government to government relationship mandated by sacred inherent sovereign right.”

Assistant House Majority Leader Rachel Talbot Ross is the lead sponsor of LD 1626 which would provide Maine tribes with the rights and responsibilities of regulating natural resources and land use within the boundaries of Indian territory.

She says the bill is long overdue.

“Today, we are standing on indigenous land that has been stewarded by indigenous peoples for over 12,000 years, their ancestral place here,” Talbot Ross said. “Far predating any European and American land grabs, (it) gives tribal nations the indisputable right to social, political, and economic self governance.”

The Wabanaki Alliance says self governance is critical for both its past and its future.

“We’re not just talking about policies and resources and federal funding,” said Penobscot Nation Tribal Ambassador Maulin Dana. “All of those things are very important, but we’re also talking about those very core tenants of who we are. Being able to have our sovereignty recognized and respected makes it so that we can heal from our intergenerational trauma.”

A spokesperson for Governor Mills says the Governor’s Office has met on a weekly basis with representatives of the Tribes to work toward consensus on measures related to LD 1626 AND will continue to do so.

Todays virtual Rally for Wabanaki rights can be viewed in full on the Wabanaki Alliance Facebook page.

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