The leaders of the Penobscot, Micmac and Passamaquoddy tribes of the US State of Maine have recalled their representatives from legislative authorities of the state. In addition, the tribe leaders assert their sovereignty from the State of Maine, Pravda.Ru reports.
"The Maine Indian Land claims Settlement act has failed and we cannot allow ourselves to continue down the path," Chief Francis said. "We're saying it's a failed social experiment."
In August of 2011, Governor LePage signed an Executive Order recognizing a "special relationship" between the sovereign State of Maine, and the sovereign tribes within the State. The Governor instructed all State agencies to include a tribal liaison, whose role would be to facilitate communication and direct policy in all areas of State jurisdiction in such a way as to include the voice and interest of native peoples. The Order instructs that "the State and Tribes should work together as one," and Tribal interests should be heeded when developing policies and procedures "on matters that significantly or uniquely affect those tribes."
In April of this year it was ruled that the native tribes in Maine retain their sovereignty. However, it was specified that the tribes now have a "relationship between equals with its own set of responsibilities." Yet, tribal lands, forms of tribal governance and natural resources controlled by the native tribes remained subject to the laws and jurisdiction of the State of Maine.
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The takeover of lands was prompted by an EPA letter to the State, and claims that lack of Tribal participation in "the State's interests" required the usurpation of Tribal sovereignty. The Letter, in fact, actually supports the Tribal position, as the Tribal standards of environmental protection are much stricter than those of the EPA or the State of Maine. Those close to the Penobscot Tribe tellThe Fifth Column that LePage threatened to sue the EPA over the proposed new regulations, leading the Agency to back down. LePage's Order, then, becomes a direct political attack against the Tribes in affront to their sovereignty and an effort to exact more control over the land by the State of Maine.
Penobscot Chief Kirk Francis was satisfied with the ruling of the EPA, but the State of Maine blamed the tribe for poor water quality and dissolved its sovereignty over the land and resources, Pravda.Ru reports. Noteworthy, Penobscot remains in a dispute over fishing rights in the Penobscot River. There is another legal battle going on between the State and the Passamaquoddy Tribe over fishing rights in other areas of the region. "We have gotten on our knees for the last time, from here on out, we are a self-governing organization, focused on a self-determining path," Chief Francis declared.
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