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Update: The Maine Legislature will not take action on a historic proposal to expand tribal sovereignty rights

Published: Apr. 25, 2022 at 11:41 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The Maine Legislature has adjourned without taking action on a historic proposal to expand tribal sovereignty rights.

It’s a disappointment for tribes in the state, although there’s still a possibility that lawmakers could resuscitate the bill when they return next month to deal with vetoes.

Native Americans in Maine had sought to amend the Maine Indian Land Claims Settlement Act of 1980.

The bill would’ve allowed the tribes to be treated the same as the nation’s other tribes. Currently, they’re treated like municipalities subject to state law.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills has said she supports incremental changes.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills is asking tribal chiefs and legislatives leaders to drop their effort to amend the Maine Indian Land Claims Settlement Act of 1980 to expand tribal sovereignty.

In a letter made public Monday she reiterated her opposition and said a confrontation “would serve no constructive purpose.”

The letter was written Thursday night, the day before a legislative committee declined to advance the bill.

The chief of the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point said previously she hoped the governor would be “on the right side of history” and agree to the changes long sought by tribes in the state.

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