The Legislature should pass the L.D. 1626, “An Act Implementing the Recommendations of the Task Force on Changes to the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Implementation Act.” L.D. 1626 is an opportunity for Maine to give fairness and equity to the Indian tribes here by allowing them to be treated like the other 570 federally-recognized tribes. Since 1980, tribes in Maine have been unable to access what other benefits the federal government provides to tribes because of a provision in the federal settlement act.

With the Task Force on Changes to the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Implementation Act, the recommendations will accomplish: 1. “Trust Land Acquisition” – Enable Tribes to acquire lands and place them in federal trust land status; 2. “Land Use and Natural Resources” – Give the Tribes rights to regulate natural resources and land use on Tribal land; 3. “Fish and Game” – Recognize Tribal laws regulating hunting and fishing on Tribal lands; 4. “Taxing Authority” – Recognize Tribal authority to tax Tribal members and entities located on Tribal lands and give Tribal lands’ residents tax exempt status from local and state taxes; 5. “Criminal Jurisdiction” – Recognize Tribal criminal laws and grant Tribal courts authority to enforce those laws against Indian and non-Indian criminal perpetrators; 6. “Civil Jurisdiction” – Restore exclusive Tribal civil jurisdiction over Indians and non-Indians on Tribal lands; 7. “Gaming” – Apply Federal Indian Gaming Regulations Act to Maine’s Tribes; and, 8. “Federal Law Provisions” – Amend the Maine Implementing Act to allow federal laws that apply to US Indian Country to apply to Tribes in Maine.

The tribes in Maine must be included in tribal law that was passed nationally, as is only fair and equitable. Please contact and ask your Maine legislators and Gov. Mills to support and pass L.D. 1626. Also, write letters to the editors of Maine newspapers.

 

Susan Parks

Augusta

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