Maine’s native tribes form nonprofit alliance

The Aroostook Band of Micmac, Houlton Band of Maliseet, Passamaquoddy Tribe and Penobscot Nation have formed the Wabanaki Alliance, according to a news release Wednesday.

The alliance is 501(c)(4) organization, which under the federal tax code refers to groups not organized for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare.

The Wabanaki Alliance will work to advance tribal sovereignty policies at the federal, state and local levels, while educating Maine residents and policymakers on tribal issues. In the coming weeks, the organization said, it will unveil a “Legislative Scorecard” evaluating each member of the 129th Maine Legislature on how he or she voted on issues related to the tribes.

“The 129th Legislature has made great strides to improve tribal-state relations — renaming Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day, banning racist sports mascots and imagery, and coming to terms that there’s a fractured relationship that needs to be mended,” said Rena Newell, the Passamaquoddy tribal representative to the legislature and secretary of the Wabanaki Alliance.

“But there is more work that needs to be done. The Wabanaki Alliance will use our unified Wabanaki voice to highlight the actions of those legislators that made this great work possible and how those actions reflect the progress between the tribes and the state.”

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