The former chief of the Penobscot Nation said Monday he hopes it will be a learning experience for a man police have charged with making racist phone calls to his home just two days after Donald Trump was elected president.

Barry Dana, of Solon, said he received 10 calls on his home phone Nov. 10 from a man using vulgar language and insulting his Indian heritage.

Bryan P. Aubrey, 43, of Skowhegan, has been issued a summons on a charge of harassment by phone, a Class E crime punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

Aubrey allegedly admitted to making the calls, saying he had been drinking that day, Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster said Monday.

“Hopefully, by being brought before a court and making the fella answerable for his actions, is probably a good idea so that he learns a lesson that that is not acceptable anymore in today’s times,” Dana said Monday. “By him going before the court, they can help him out, whatever his problems are, by making it mandatory that he seek counseling of some sort.”

Dana said a good model for addressing such behavior is seen in the Penobscot tribal court system, where tribal elders and mentors speak to the offender to try to get to the root of the problem and help the person.

“In the end they benefit from it,” he said.

Detective Mathew Cunningham of the Sheriff’s Office investigated the harassing calls and said Aubrey admitted to making the calls. The calls all occurred on one day over a six-hour time span.

“Mr. Aubrey candidly admitted to having consumed alcohol before making the calls to Dana,” Lancaster said.

Cunningham consulted with the Somerset County District Attorney’s Office and the Maine Attorney General’s Office on what charges should be brought, Lancaster said.

“The Attorney General’s Office advised that ‘the phone messages are offensive, but there is no specific threat’ that would warrant a Maine Civil Rights Act claim,” Lancaster said. He said the district attorney can amend the charge at a later date.

Aubrey reportedly told the detective that he had attended the Indigenous Peoples Day celebration in 2015 at Lake George Regional Park and said Dana had given a speech on fur trapping, according to Lancaster. Aubrey does not trap for fur and is strongly opposed to trapping, Lancaster said, adding that Dana told Cunningham during the investigation that he has never given a speech on fur trapping. Indigenous Peoples Day is marked by native Americans and others who object to the celebration of Columbus Day, which they say celebrates the massacre of native peoples.

“He called me names because I was a trapper,” Dana said. “In fact, I’m not, but I certainly would if I had the opportunity. I have no problem with someone disagreeing with trapping, that’s not a problem. But how you go about addressing it certainly can be and not 10 or 11 phone calls screaming about it.”

Dana said he and his family are getting back to normal after the harassment and don’t have to “look over our shoulder” anymore. There have been no phone calls since Nov. 10.

“It’s nice not to get the phone calls,” he said. “Hopefully all will turn out good in the end.”

Aubrey has an initial court date set for Wednesday Jan. 11 in Skowhegan.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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