Tribal leaders announce Wabanaki Alliance

STATEWIDE — Tribal leaders announced a new alliance, Wabanaki Alliance, on Wednesday in hopes of educating Mainers and advocating for sovereignty.

“Our goal here is to keep up the advocacy in a respectful and diplomatic way, to build coalitions with lawmakers and Mainers and to keep reinforcing this ideal of tribal sovereignty,” Maulian Dana, president of Wabanaki Alliance and ambassador of the Penobscot Nation. 

According to Darrell Newell, treasurer of the Wabanaki Alliance and vice chief of the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township, the Penobscot and Passamaquoddy tribes were federally recognized in 1976.

“We enjoyed the tribal sovereign status equal to that of any other federally recognized tribe in the country,” Newell said. “It also put us in equal footing with the state of Maine.”

Newell said this changed in 1980 with the Maine Indian Claim Settlement Act.

“The settlement afforded the state of Maine a posture of superiority and advantage in tribal-state relation,” Newell said.

Last year, a task force of tribal and state leaders was created to develop recommendations to revise the Settlement Act.

“The task force produced 22 recommendations that were presented to the judiciary committee, and the end product is LD 20 94.”

The bill was left on the table when the legislature went out of session due to COVID-19 in March.

“There was significant movement in, you know, coming together and having conversations in regards to the various recommendations,” said Rena Newell, secretary of Wabanaki Alliance and Passamaquoddy representative to the Maine house.

She said the committees have been meeting.

“The conversations are gonna continue regarding LD 2094 in addition to you know, the tribal consultation bill,”  she said.

They hope this alliance will educate Mainers.

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