We are writing to respond to an article published in the Portland Press Herald on March 16 in reference to the Maliseet Indians being interested in the commercial production of marijuana (“Three Maine tribes weighing legalization of pot on their lands”). The Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians is in no way interested in developing any such business.

The tribal chief and Tribal Council are dedicated to creating economic opportunities; however, this is not an opportunity that has been or will be considered under the current administration. Cultural practices include the utilization of a number of natural herbs and plants, but marijuana is not one of those options.

The Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians has focused its efforts on educating tribal enrollment on substance abuse issues, and it is the tribe’s opinion that support of such efforts at this time would be contrary to the efforts of the programs that we currently support.

It is of utmost importance that the public understand that the current chief and council were not properly informed or contacted regarding this story and they in no way support these statements. The tribal chief, Brenda Commander, is the official spokesperson for the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians and should be consulted on all issues before going to print or to broadcast.

To reiterate: The Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians is not interested in the agricultural production of marijuana and has never considered this as a development option.

Thank you for this opportunity to properly inform the public of our beliefs and practices, and please understand that we in no way support broadcasts or publications stating anything differently.

Brenda Commander

tribal chief, Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians