The heat was beating down early in the morning of May 15, as we prepared the supplies for our youth-led protest: water, markers, posters and flyers.

Sun high and heads clear, we came to hold Janet Mills and the Maine Democratic Party accountable to their commitments to every Mainer. Legislation to recognize Wabanaki Tribal sovereignty died in the State Senate this session but the system that holds the Wabanaki Nations hostage perseveres. As leaders in the youth environmental movement, we felt compelled to act. It’s a fact that the climate crisis disproportionately affects Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.

It’s a fact that Maine does not recognize the inherent sovereignty of the Wabanaki Nations. It’s a fact that white supremacy and colonialism not only have a hand in creating the inequitable systems in our society, but continue to uphold them through our political and economic systems. It’s a fact that Janet Mills and Maine state officials continue to benefit and profit from the white supremacist culture historically built on the backs of enslaved Africans, their descendants, and marginalized people. We also arrived to support the abortion rally held later in the day. An issue dear to myself, I’m lucky my reproductive health is in the hands of a strong and civically active local provider.

The autonomy of the feminine must be held sacred to all. Janet Mills spoke at the rally, with overwhelming support from participants, and it was devastating. How could they show support for this health and autonomy issue without understanding that the very person they are praising does not support health and autonomy for all those in the state of Maine? The very person that has consistently pursued and upheld racist policies against the Wabanaki?

The Passamaquoddy at Sipayik do not have clean water – that is a health issue. That is a women’s health issue. The Penobscot Nation is between the largest landfill in the state and a mill that has dumped waste into the Penobscot River. This is a health issue. This is an autonomy issue. This is a women’s issue to some of the most vulnerable women in the United States of America.

The basic needs of the first peoples of the Dawnland are not being met on this stolen land. Barely acknowledging them as people at all, not on paper. We stood in solidarity with those imploring Roe v. Wade to be upheld because we need that. Autonomy and sovereignty are one and the same.


The state of Maine and United States government have respected neither. These issues are held over our heads, every year hoping that it will be different. It is time for Mainers to act and demand more, and to acknowledge the grip white supremacy, colonialism, and private interests have on the state and the nation. Only then will the constant threat of sovereignty of self in the United States end. But we can only do this together.

If you hold white privilege, you can discover and recognize how you benefit from the system built on the backs of others. I ask you to use your privilege to plug into your community, into the issues you care about. Listen to learn, meet people and come to understand them. You will find we all fight for the same thing; for our families, for our communities, for our home.

In the meanwhile youth will continue the charge against anthropogenic climate change, the single biggest threat to humanity in our time. We youth leaders will continue to recognize the role of the original stewards of the land since time immemorial and present. As a youth in the Latine diaspora with ancestors long ago eradicated and colonized, this is personal. I plan to carry out my duty as a descendant of Turtle Island to continue the task embedded in me. Protecting the lands, skies, and waters for my descendants and beyond.

— Special to the Press Herald

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