Maine U.S. Rep. Jared Golden is sponsoring HR 6707, the Advancing Equality for Wabanaki Nations Act. If enacted, this bill would amend the 1980 Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act to allow the Wabanaki tribes to benefit from future federal laws that apply to other federally recognized tribes. The House Natural Resources Committee will decide soon whether to advance the bill.

HR 6707 is a partial remedy for damage inflicted on the tribes in Maine because of the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980. A provision in this act severed the longstanding trustee relationship between the tribes in Maine and the U.S. government. As a result, no subsequent act of Congress has had any application to the tribes in Maine unless they were named specifically in the act.

Roughly 150 bills passed by Congress since 1980 have denied rights to these tribes, cutting them off from federal laws to improve public health; recover from natural disasters; deal with violence against women, and promote economic development for themselves and surrounding rural areas.

I urge readers to support HR 6707 by contacting the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources. Passing this bill will end the comprehensive denial of federal benefits to the Wabanaki peoples in all future acts of Congress.

Wayne Cobb

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: