AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Native Americans sang, beat drums and implored lawmakers and the governor to grant them full sovereignty because the legislative session drew quickly to an in depth Wednesday.
Two of the three payments coping with tribal sovereignty have been in jeopardy earlier than being given new life when the Legislature agreed to increase the session by one other day, permitting extra time for overview.
“Never give up. It is worth every minute of effort to fight for what you believe are your inherent rights,” mentioned Ernie Neptune, vice chief of the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point.
With tribal rights on the road, the Wabanaki Alliance and allies rallied exterior the State House on Wednesday, the second time in lower than two weeks.
The Legislature already enacted a invoice that may give the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point management over its consuming water, opening the door to higher sovereignty rights. The language was later tweaked to fulfill with the governor’s approval.
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But two different payments have been pending additional motion within the Senate. They have been positioned on the appropriations desk together with different payments that wanted additional overview earlier than a closing vote.
The most sweeping of the measures would amend the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980 to guarantee tribal members within the state have the identical rights because the nation’s different tribes.
Another invoice, sponsored by the governor, would funnel cash from cell sports activities playing to the tribes.
Darrell Newell, vice chief of the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township, mentioned it is time to restore rights that got below the 1980 settlement, which handled reservations as municipalities, not sovereign nations.
“It was a terrible mistake that was made 40 years ago, and we’ve been trying to undo it ever since,” Newell said.
Sen. Rick Bennett, R-Oxford, urged lawmakers and the governor to avoid history repeating itself like in years past when native rights were trampled.
“Let us consider at this moment our place in history. What will our grandchildren say about this moment, this year, this decade, when we have the opportunity to do right. Will we meet the test of history?” he mentioned.
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