As residents of Washington County, we are honored to live and work beside Native people from the Passamaquoddy Tribe from Pleasant Point and Indian Township.

In 2011, Gov. LePage issued an executive order that recognized a special relationship between the state of Maine and sovereign Maine Native tribes. This order also recognized historical wrongs and the need for a just relationship between the Maine and Wabanaki governments.

The order stated that “the unique relationship between the State of Maine and the individual Tribes is a relationship between equals.” At the time, this was a very useful step forward in state-tribal relationships and an excellent example of executive leadership.

Now in 2015, Gov. LePage has chosen to rescind the 2011 order, stating that his efforts to collaborate and communicate with the tribes have been unproductive. We are perplexed that a unique relationship between equals can be unilaterally rescinded by one of the parties.

Reflecting on our shared history with Native people, it appears to us that this action by the governor highlights the need for ongoing dialogue and deep listening. We all need to keep coming back to the table when differences arise and things become difficult, and to not simply leave the table.

Our hope is that the Maine and Wabanaki governments can, in the original meaning of reconciliation, become friends again.

Paul and Sarah Strickland