AUGUSTA – Passamaquoddy and Penobscot Tribes says they’re withdrawing their delegates from the Maine Legislature.
Since the early 1800’s native tribes have held a seat in the Maine House allowing their representatives to present bills and sit on committees but not vote.
However, disagreements between Maine tribes and Maine lawmakers finally came to a head, resulting in the decision.
Chief Kirk Francis of the Penobscot Nation says their current relationship with the state was prohibiting tribal progress, and he says the issue boiled down to a struggle for control. “We don’t have to like everything they do, they don’t have to like everything we do, but we have to respect each others authority its been really schizophrenic.”
There have been ongoing issues regarding the state’s elver fishery, and the Penobscot River some of these disputes have lead to current lawsuits.
In a statement released by governor Paul LePage, he says efforts to promote collaboration and communication with the tribes have been unproductive and maintains that any lands or natural resources owned by the tribes are subject to the laws of the state.
Chief Francis says they have no plans to return to the legislature.
The tribes will address the governor’s most recent executive order on tribal sovereignty during a press conference on Indian Island Wednesday Afternoon.