Saturday, July 2, 2022

Play

The U.S. Supreme Court strips the EPA's power to curb pollution, California takes a big step toward universal health care, and a Florida judge will temporarily block the state's 15-week abortion ban.

Play

SCOTUS significantly limits the Clean Air Act and rules against the "Stay in Mexico" policy, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is sworn in to office, and President Biden endorses a filibuster carveout for abortion rights.

Play

From flying saucers to bologna: America's summer festivals kick off, rural hospitals warn they do not have the necessities to respond in the post-Roe scramble, advocates work to counter voter suppression, and campaigns encourage midterm voting in Indian Country.

Wabanaki Nations, Allies: Restore Sovereignty to Maine Tribes

Play

Wednesday, February 16, 2022   

More than 100 Mainers attended a Tuesday hearing on a bill to restore tribal sovereignty to Maine's four Wabanaki Nations.

Advocates of LD 1626 say it would remove restrictions in place since the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980. The Settlement Act was intended to resolve disputes over land claims, but it left Wabanaki Nations with less legal and regulatory authority than that of other tribes across the nation.

Chief Kirk Francis of the Penobscot Nation said that means they're essentially treated as municipalities, rather than sovereign nations. He noted that roughly 150 federal laws have passed benefiting tribes since 1980, but Wabanaki Nations have been excluded.

"The Wabanaki Nations have spent the last 40 years being treated like second-class sovereigns," he said. "We have watched out-of-state corporations come in and thrive by doing the very things we should be able to do but for the Settlement Act."

Almost all attendees at the Judiciary Committee hearing voiced support for the bill, but the hearing ended after eight hours without a vote. The bill is a product of a task force started in 2019 to study the legacy of the Settlement Act and recommend changes.

Chief Clarissa Sabattis of the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians said she believes LD 1626 would help restore self-determination and self-governance for the Wabanaki Nations.

"Without a tax base, and limited economic development opportunities," she said, "it's difficult to generate private and public funding to supplement already underfunded programs, such as housing, health and social services."

The bill's sponsor, state Rep. Rachel Talbot Ross, D-Portland, cited research that says the structural inequities formed by the Settlement Act have contributed to Maine tribal members experiencing extreme poverty, high unemployment, poor health, limited educational opportunities and more.

"The State of Maine somehow thought that recognizing the full political existence of our tribal nations would somehow diminish us as a state," she said. "Whatever the cause for those feelings were in 1980, they simply have not turned out to be true - in Maine, or in any of the other states."


get more stories like this via email
While most classrooms are empty right now, lingering concerns from the previous school year, such as the pandemic's effect on students and staff, are being dissected ahead of next year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Research is emerging about the secondary trauma school staff members face after helping students during the pandemic. As summer moves forward…


Health and Wellness

A Florida judge plans to put a hold on the state's new, 15-week abortion ban, set to take effect today. He said it is unconstitutional and will issue …

Environment

The Environmental Protection Agency now has fewer tools to fight climate change, after the U.S. Supreme Court stripped the agency of its authority to …


The only memorial to Anne Frank is located in Boise. (Kencf0618/Wikimedia Commons)

Social Issues

Three projects in Idaho have been selected to receive grants from the AARP Community Challenge. Among them is the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in …

Environment

Montanans get a sense of what soil health is like on farms and ranches across the state with Northern Plains Resource Council's soil crawls. The …

Medicare fraud costs taxpayers an estimated $60 billion each year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

A new tool aims to help older adults in Arkansas and beyond who receive Medicare track what happens at their doctor appointments. It also can help …

Social Issues

A campaign in Maine is gathering signatures to replace the state's investor-owned energy grid with a consumer-owned utility. Central Maine Power (…

Social Issues

Another important U.S. Supreme Court ruling this month has been overshadowed by the controversy about overturning abortion rights. Legal experts say …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021