AUGUSTA — For the past couple of years, leaders of Maine’s Indian nations and legislators have worked to find a way to bring a 41-year-old settlement act up to date.
The legislature’s Judiciary Committee held public hearings Tuesday on three proposals that would extend sovereign rights to the Penobscot Nation, Passamaquoddy Tribe, and the Houlton Band of Maliseets.
While the bills received across-the-board support, the measures were shelved until the wording can be finalized.
Penobscot Nation Ambassador Maulian Dana said agreements represent a positive approach for the future.
“We are very ready for a new dawn of tribal-state relations. We need to think about abundance and not scarcity. We need to think about being sovereign nations and not municipalities. And we need to really think about healing this relationship in an authentic and good and genuine way. And the tribes are very much ready to do that,” she said.
According to one of the bills that would make changes to the 1980 Indian Land Claims Settlement Act, it would allow the Passamaquoddys, Penobscots, and Maliseets to have all the power and immunities as other federally recognized tribes in the country.
Members of the Judiciary Committee are expected to vote on at least one of the bills that would make the changes after legislative staffers have made the requested corrections to the wording of the proposal.