Quick Action

Legislators will hold a public hearing February 15 on a bill to restore Wabanaki tribes’ inherent right to self-govern. The Wabanaki Alliance has set a goal to gather 500 written testimonies in support of the legislation to demonstrate the strong statewide backing for the bill, and are asking allies to step up! QUICK ACTION: Be one of the 500! Learn more about the bill and how to submit testimony in our call to action!


Maine legislators are considering a bill to protect Wabanaki rights by restoring the tribes’ inherent right to self-governance by enacting consensus recommendations from a bipartisan task force convened to address long-standing issues with the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act (MICSA) and the state law that accompanied it, the Maine Implementing Act. Passed in 1980, the settlement was a negotiation between the Passamaquoddy Tribe, the Penobscot Nation, and the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians and the state and federal governments. Even though tribes in Maine never ceded federally recognized rights, the state and courts have for 40 years used language in the settlement to treat the tribes as little more than municipalities, leaving them with fewer rights than all other federally recognized tribes across the country. Under MICSA, tribes in Maine were unable to benefit from more than 150 federal laws passed since 1980, missing out on opportunities for economic development, increased access to health care, expanded environmental protections, enhanced K-12 education, and legislation that fostered job creation, ensured safe drinking water, and strengthened laws regarding prevention and prosecution of sexual assault and domestic violence. A 2012 report from the Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission, created by the 1980 settlement to continually review its effectiveness, found that MICSA “created structural inequities that have resulted in conditions that have risen to the level of human rights violations.” 

These inequities prompted the creation of the Task Force on Changes to the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Implementing Act, a bipartisan group of tribal leaders, legislators, and state officials. After six months of hearings, meetings, interviews, and research, the task force issued a report in January 2020 with sweeping recommendations to restore tribal sovereignty over a range of issues, including the prosecution of crimes on tribal lands, the regulation of fishing, hunting, and other uses of natural resources on tribal lands, gaming, taxation, and land acquisition. The task force’s recommendations do not affect the Aroostook Band of Micmacs, who are pursuing their own sovereignty proposal through parallel efforts. 

LD 1626, sponsored by Assistant Majority Leader Rep. Rachel Talbot Ross (D-South Portland) and supported by the Wabanaki Alliance, is an omnibus bill to enact most of those recommendations. The legislation is supported by Rep. Jared Golden (D-CD2) and a broad coalition of nearly 100 environmental, faith-based, and social and racial justice organizations, including Suit Up Maine. The Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing on the bill Tuesday, February 15 at 9am.



  • Be one of the 500: Submit testimony! The Wabanaki Alliance has set a goal of 500 written testimonies in support of LD 1626 before the public hearing on February 15 and is challenging allies to step up! Your testimony does not have to be long and submitting it online takes only a few minutes. Find links below to a FAQ and talking points to help you get started and instructions for how to submit your testimony through the Legislature website.
  • Deliver your testimony during the hearing. You can sign up to deliver your written testimony live during the public hearing, which will be held via Zoom. Learn how to do that below and in this guide from the Wabanaki Alliance
  • Email your legislators. Email your testimony to your legislators and urge them to support LD 1626. Find your legislators here.
  • Write an LTE. Turn your testimony into a letter to the editor for your local paper! Find out how in LTE guides from Suit Up Maine or the Wabanaki Alliance
  • Support the Wabanaki Alliance. Find out how you can support the Wabanaki tribes by visiting the Wabanaki Alliance website and joining their email list. 


  • Use the LD1626 FAQ and Talking Points from the Wabanaki Alliance to craft your testimony. Keep it brief, make it personal, and let legislators know that when the Wabanaki thrive, we all thrive. 
  • Find tips and pointers in the Alliance’s testimony guide. 
  • Go to: https://www.mainelegislature.org/testimony/
  • Select public hearing
  • Select Judiciary Committee
  • Select February 15, 2022 9 am
  • Select LD 1626
  • If you would like to present your testimony during the hearing, select “I would like to present my testimony live” then select “I am for the proposed legislation.” If you will not present live, leave that box unchecked and proceed to the next step.
  • Upload a PDF or Word doc with your testimony or write a few paragraphs directly into the text box.
  • Enter the requested contact information. 
  • Select the “I am not a robot” captcha.
  • Select “Submit/Register”

Sen. Susan Collins (R)

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Washington, DC (202) 224-2523

Sen. Angus King (I)

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Washington, DC: (202) 224-5344

Rep. Chellie Pingree

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Washington, DC: (202) 225-6116 

Rep. Jared Golden

, DC: (202) 225-6306

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