Passamaquoddy Tribes, Penobscot Nation Elect New Leaders
The Passamaquoddy Tribe at Motahkmikuk, Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayik, and Penobscot Nation recently held successful elections. Chief William Nicholas was reelected to serve a fourth four-year term as the leader of the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Motahkmikuk while Chief Kirk Francis was elected to serve a sixth term as the top Penobscot leader. This will be Chief Francis’ fourth four-year term. He served two initial two-year terms. Passamaquoddy Tribal Representative Rena Newell was elected as Chief of the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayik. The three Chiefs will all begin serving their new terms of office October 1.
In the Motahkmikuk election, former Chief and Vice Chief Joseph Socobasin defeated incumbent Vice Chief Darrell Newell. Motahkmikuk voters also elected Wade Lola, Alex Nicholas, and Roger Socobasin to the Tribal Council. Aaron Dana was elected to serve as the Passamaquoddy Tribal Representative to the Maine Legislature. Passamaquoddy citizens eligible to serve as the Passamaquoddy Tribal Representative alternate between the two reservations with this term designated for someone who lives at Motahkmikuk.
The Penobscot Nation features a twelve-member Tribal Council with half the members elected every two years. Ronald Bear, Miles Francis, Maria Girouard, Patricia Knox-Nicola, Debra Kondilis, and Faye Lawson were elected to four-year terms. Vice Chief Mark Sockbeson was reelected unopposed. Carole Binette, Naomi Neptune, and David Sapiel were elected to the School Board.
Chief Francis commenting on his reelection, “I am very thankful to the people of the Penobscot Nation for continuing to trust me with such a huge responsibility. It has been my honor and consider it a privilege to have been able to serve in this capacity over the past sixteen years representing so many amazing people. I look forward to the many issues we will work on over the next four years”.
Sipayik voters selected Pos Bassett to serve as vice chief. Shirley Mitchell, Melissa Whipun Francis, and Cyril Francis were elected to serve on the Tribal Council. Alberta Newel was elected to serve on the School Board.
“To serve the Sipayik community is a great honor that I accept with humility and a pledge to both honor all our ancestors and to make decisions with future generations of Passamaquoddy People in mind. I also thank Chief Dana, Vice Chief Neptune, and all the leaders who served our community during this recent period. Their service is deeply appreciated,” stated Chief-elect Rena Newell of the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayik. Leaders for the three communities thanked outgoing leaders for their service during their terms of office.
Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians Appoints First Tribal Ambassador
The Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians announced the appointment of Osihkiyol (Zeke) Crofton-Macdonald as their first Tribal Ambassador. He assumed his duties on May 24. Crofton-Macdonald has served as one of the Houlton Band of Maliseets’ Tribal Commissioners on the Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission (MITSC) for the past three years, and he has advocated for Wolastoqey rights and sovereignty in both the United States and Canada.
“I’m pleased at the appointment of Zeke Crofton-Macdonald as the very first Ambassador for the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians,” said Clarissa Sabattis, Chief of the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians. “He brings a unique knowledge of Wolastoq or Maliseet treaties and experience working with the Wolastoqey Nation. This new role better suits the government-to-government relationships that exist, and I look forward to witnessing what it will bring to our tribe. I’m confident that Zeke will be an asset for our nation.”
“I am humbled and honored to represent my nation and my people,” said Crofton-Macdonald. “Wolastoqey people in Maine have been asserting our sovereignty and nationhood on this land since time immemorial. My elders teach that sovereignty means more than just jurisdictional or political authority. It is the responsibility to maintain the health of every living being on the land, including the water and the land itself. Wolastoqey people have practiced this sovereign responsibility since before the United States existed and we will continue to practice this sovereignty.”
Crofton-Macdonald graduated from the University of Maine with a degree in History and focused his senior project on the impacts of the 1842 Webster-Ashburton Treaty on Wabanaki people in Maine. He is pursuing a master’s degree at the University of New Brunswick where he focuses on Wabanaki Treaty History and is writing a thesis on Treaty History in Maine.
He is also a citizen of Welamukotuk First Nation in New Brunswick, Canada and served as the assistant to the Welamukotuk First Nation Resource Development Consultation Coordinator. Before attending graduate school, he worked with the youth programs at the Houlton Band, ran the youth council as an employee of Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness, and worked for the Indian Child Welfare Department of the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians.