I’m writing in favor of all the 22 recommendations in L.D. 2094, which seeks to repair the well-known issues with the Maine Implementing Act and the Land Claims Settlement. These recommendations, currently in the Judiciary Committee, were developed by a Tribal-State task force created by Gov. Mills. From this process, we have comprehensive legislation that can serve as a starting point for better relations between the state and the tribes. Yet the Mills administration is stalling, likely because of her allegiance to industry and corporate cronies (paper mills, casinos, etc.).

The Settlement Acts established the Maine-Indian Tribal State Commission as the forum for addressing the many gray areas left unspecified. Unfortunately, because of the racism perpetrated by the state and media for the past 40-plus years, the commission has been severely hindered, meaning there has been no accountability to the implementation process. Maine has not only been unwilling to participate but also has even been pursuing hostile policies that have had profound consequences for tribal people here too numerous to recount here.

This, in my view, is unethical considering our shared history, which undoubtedly horrifies you as it fits the textbook U.N. definition of genocide.

In 2020, Maine should join other states in upholding and celebrating its tribes as the best possible stewards for our environment, leaders in climate justice and more. If you agree, please encourage your legislators, particularly those on the Judiciary Committee considering the bill, to vote in favor of all 22 recommendations.

Ashley Bahlkow

North Yarmouth

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