I write in support of LD 1626, an act that will restore to Wabanaki tribes the sovereign status of other Indigenous communities in the United States, and enable Wabanaki peoples to access federal support and programs, consistent with federal law. As a minister, I think a lot about right and wrong. I have been researching the early colonization process of Maine, and the role of the churches in that process. We don’t like to think about it very much, but those churches in the 17th to 19th centuries participated in the genocide of the Wabanaki people. The churches held the attitude that European people were superior to the Indigenous people who had lived on this continent for millennia. Even in the 20th century, this attitude of superiority prevailed and they attempted to control all aspects of Wabanaki life, including taking away the children of the community to try to assimilate them into white culture.I would ask: Are we going to continue that attitude of superiority and domination which so afflicted our European settler ancestors, or are we going to choose instead a path of mutual respect? When we live in mutual respect, all of us benefit. We grow more deeply into the people we hope to be. We grow into the neighbors I hope we can be. It is for this reason that I support LD 1626, a bill that will restore a relationship of mutual respect between Maine and the Wabanaki nations.

Rev. Dr. Myke Johnson

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