LD 2004, An Act to Restore Access to Federal Laws Beneficial to the Wabanaki Nations, is on Gov. Janet Mills’ desk! She hasn’t signed it yet, even though there was overwhelming support from Democrats, Republicans and Independents in the Maine Senate and House. We need the Governor to hear your voice to hopefully avert a veto. Call Gov. Mills at 207-287-3531 and ask her to sign LD 2004!
LD 2004 is a bipartisan bill that amends the 1980 Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act and the Aroostook Band of Micmacs Settlement Act so that the Wabanaki tribes can benefit from most existing and future federal laws that apply to the other 570 federally recognized tribes. Under the Settlement Acts, when Congress passes federal legislation for tribes nationwide, the tribes in Maine must be explicitly written into the legislation. The Wabanaki Nations are the only federally recognized tribes to be treated in this way. LD 2004 would modernize the Settlement Acts, ensuring that the tribes in Maine are not excluded when Congress passes federal legislation for tribes nationwide as they have been at least 151 times in the past 40 years, according to a 2019 report by the Suffolk University Law School. This would benefit not only the Wabanaki Nations, but also rural Maine, according to a 2022 analysis by the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development. The bill excludes federal tribal gaming laws, stipulating that the Wabanaki Nations would be subject to state gaming laws. The bill is similar to HR 6707, sponsored last year by Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine. That legislation passed the U.S. House with bipartisan support but failed in the Senate. Unlike Golden’s bill, LD 2004 would also apply retroactively to already enacted federal legislation that excluded tribes in Maine, ensuring that they gain the full benefit of federal Indian policy in the U.S. that has supported tribal self-determination through tribal self-government for more than 40 years. The bill passed the House and Senate by wide margins and with broad partisan support.
- Make the call. Call Gov. Mills at 207-287-3531 and ask her to sign LD 2004!
- Learn more. Learn more about why Wabanaki Nations are treated differently than all other 570 federally recognized tribes in our Understanding Tribal Sovereignty explainer.