Hundreds celebrated Indigenous Peoples’ Day by urging Mainers to vote “Yes” on Question 6

Published: Oct. 9, 2023 at 6:29 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - The Wabanaki leaders and their allies gathered here at the State House, urging Mainers to rectify a decision that was made nearly 150 years ago, by voting yes on Question 6.

Over 200 people rallied in Augusta on Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

“This means everything to us, the support that we are getting from the public,” Richard Silliboy, vice chief of the Mi’kmaq Tribal Nation said.

It was all in support of a referendum question that will appear on the statewide ballot November 7th which states:

“Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to require that all of the provisions of the Constitution be included in the official printed copies of the Constitution prepared by the Secretary of State?”

“You will have to really know, you will have to be a researcher or a really motivated person to go digging around to find them, how are Mainers going to know that we assume these obligations to the Wabanaki from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts when it is not even printed in our Constitution?” said John Dieffenbacher-Krall, executive director of Wabanaki Alliance.

Since 1876, printed copies of Maine’s Constitution have left out three sections of the original document, including language about Maine’s original treaty obligation to the Wabanaki.

“My understanding is that the State of Massachusetts gave a lot of money to the State of Maine to support and take care of the Native Americans in the State, and that really never happened,” Silliboy said.

Silliboy says it’s time for Maine to do the right thing.

“Voting yes would be just another step for us to gain sovereignty, the same sovereignty that the other 570 tribes have across the United States,” Siliboy said.

For Kelly Merrill, she says it was important for her to be there to honor the treaties and hopefully restore history.

”Voting yes on six isn’t just about to get the treaty printed. It’s about transparency and resolution or the beginning of a good relationship with the tribes. So again so that we can move forward into a Livable Future,” Merrill said.

“The way that we make this change, the way we start having transparency in our Maine Constitution, the way we have accuracy and fairness, the way we show our solidarity for the Wabanaki nations, is we need to vote on Question 6,” Dieffenbacher-Krall said.

“Let people know that we are here, we are still here,” Richard Silliboy said.