Proposal to restore sovereignty to tribes in Maine advances

Apr 15, 2022, 2:50 PM | Updated: 3:19 pm

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The Maine Senate advanced a historic proposal Friday to restore tribes’ sovereignty, ensuring they have the same rights as other federally recognized tribes across the country.

The Senate action, made without debate, came a day after the House approved the bill that addresses sovereignty rights that were forfeited by tribes under the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980. More votes are needed.

Also Friday, a tribal attorney rewrote language of a separate bill to ensure the governor’s support for letting the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point regulate its own drinking water.

And the Maine House advanced a proposal that would funnel mobile sports betting revenue to tribes in the state.

The three measures came up this week as lawmakers pick up the pace in hopes of adjourning next week.

The chief of the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point said she was celebrating the steps forward while reflecting on all the hard work by so many tribal members over the years.

“People don’t understand the depth of injustice unless they’ve lived it. The Wabanaki people have lived it for hundreds of years. We lived it and we carry it, every single day,” Maggie Dana said Friday from Augusta, where she’d been monitoring the votes.

The sovereignty issue dates back more than four decades, and has long been a source of frustration for tribes who’ve engaged in conflicts with the state over environmental, fish and wildlife rules.

The Passamaquoddy, Penobscot and Maliseet traded some rights to the state authority under an $81.5 million settlement that was signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1980. The Mi’kmaq are subject to similar terms under their own agreement, adopted in 1991.

The proposal to amend that settlement would ensure that Native Americans in Maine are treated the same as the nation’s other tribes. They’re currently treated as municipalities, subject to state law.

The proposal to give the Passamaquoddy at Pleasant Point the right to regulate its own water supply is an outgrowth of the sovereignty issue.

The tribe said it has been unable to solve the water problems by working with state agencies, so it wants the right to handle the issue itself, working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The House and Senate already gave that proposal strong support, but revisions were made to address the governor’s concerns.

In the end, the bill will still allow the tribe, working with the EPA, to regulate water quality on the reservation and two additional tribal-owned parcels in Perry, said Michael-Corey Hinton, leader of Drummond-Woodsum’s Tribal Nations Practice Group.

The new language makes explicit that it would apply only to those parcels, and not other tribal land across the state, he said.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, meanwhile, supports the proposal to give tribes control of a mobile sports betting market.

The amendment is something of an olive branch from the governor who made helping Native Americans a campaign promise, but has expressed concerns about unforeseen consequences of expanded sovereignty.

That sports betting bill would allow Maine to join dozens of states that allow online sports betting, with the tribes benefiting from the revenue. Critics include the Hollywood Casino in Bangor.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Doja Cat performs at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club on Sunday, ...
Associated Press

BET Awards return Sunday with Doja Cat as leading nominee

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The BET Awards return Sunday with a live show that could see Doja Cat, Drake and Ari Lennox snag some trophies. Doja Cat enters the show as the leading nominee with six. The chart-topping performer is up for best female R&B-pop artist, best female hip-hop artist, album of the year for […]
23 hours ago
U.S. President Joe Biden, right, waves as he walks past Bavarian mountain riflemen and traditional ...
Associated Press

Biden, G-7 leaders huddle on energy, inflation, Ukraine war

ELMAU, Germany (AP) — President Joe Biden and his Group of Seven allies will huddle Sunday on strategies to secure energy supplies and tackle inflation, aiming to keep the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine from splintering the global coalition working to punish Moscow. Biden arrived in Germany’s picturesque Bavarian alps early Sunday morning for […]
23 hours ago
A staff member works at the Yuet Tung China Works, Hong Kong's porcelain factory, in Hong Kong, Wed...
Associated Press

AP PHOTOS: Hong Kong’s last hand-painted porcelain factory

HONG KONG (AP) — Step into Yuet Tung China Works, Hong Kong’s last remaining hand-painted porcelain factory, and you find yourself surrounded by stacks of dinnerware, each piece painstakingly decorated by hand with vibrant motifs of flowers, fruits and animals. Joseph Tso, the third-generation owner of the factory, and his small team are among the […]
23 hours ago
Associated Press

Today in History: June 26, first Harry Potter book published

Today in History Today is Sunday, June 26, the 177th day of 2022. There are 188 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On June 26, 1945, the charter of the United Nations was signed by 50 countries in San Francisco. On this date: In 1917, the first troops of the American Expeditionary […]
23 hours ago
Associated Press

Rep. Mary Miller calls Roe decision ‘victory for white life’

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. Rep. Mary Miller of Illinois, speaking at a rally Saturday night with former President Donald Trump, called the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade a “victory for white life.” Miller’s spokesman said the Illinois Republican had intended to say the decision was a victory for a “right to life.” […]
23 hours ago
FILE - This Sept. 20, 2017, file photo shows a sign at the Disney store on the Champs Elysees Avenu...
Associated Press

Abortion ruling thrusts companies into divisive arena

The Supreme Court’s decision to end the nation’s constitutional protections for abortion has catapulted businesses of all types into the most divisive corner of politics. Some companies that stayed silent last month — when a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito was leaked to Politico — spoke up for the first time Friday, including The […]
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
...
Christina O’Haver

BE FAST to spot a stroke

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
Proposal to restore sovereignty to tribes in Maine advances