Promoting a Just Relationship with Wabanaki People in Maine

Pax Christi Maine Supports Maine LD 1626: “An Act Implementing the Recommendations of the Task Force on Changes to the Maine Indian Land Claims Settlement Implementing Act”

Mary Ellen Quinn, Pax Christi Maine Co-coordinator, testified at the public hearing before the Legislative Judicial Committee on our behalf. Read our statement below.

Hearing date: February 15, 2022

 LD 1626 “An Act to Implement the Recommendations of the Task Force on Changes to the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Implementing Act” – Testimony submitted by Mary Ellen Quinn and Denise Dreher on behalf of Pax Christi Maine

Senator Carney, Representative Harnett, and members of the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary 

I am Mary Ellen Quinn, a resident of Winterport, a town located on the shores of the Penobscot River, speaking today as Co-Coordinator of Pax Christi Maine in support of LD1626.

Pax Christi Maine is part of a national & international movement working for peace, justice & environmental sustainability. Pax Christi, meaning “Peace of Christ”, is rooted in Gospel nonviolence and Catholic Social Teaching, which includes principles of human dignity, care for God’s creation, and solidarity. Support of right relationship with our Wabanaki neighbors exemplifies these principles. 

It is clearly unjust that tribes in Maine are held back by a 40 year old agreement with the state. As sovereign nations, the other 570 tribes across the United States, are moving ahead supported by federal laws, rights and responsibilities that the Wabanaki tribes are not able to access. It is time to bring the Maine tribes into an equitable position with other tribes! 

Tribal leadership engaged earnestly with State representatives on the Task Force to make changes to the Maine Indian Settlement Implementing Act. The passage of LD 1626 will implement 22 consensus recommendations released through that process. It is not reasonable to allow unfounded fears to block this advancement.

Wabanaki people have cared for and protected the land and water that we now call Maine for millennia. In recognizing the sovereignty of the tribes, we acknowledge the depth of their relationship with this territory.

The Catholic church along with other Christian churches and organizations are responsible for so much of the violence and suffering endured by Indigenous people in North America. Standing in solidarity with the Wabanaki people is a practice of nonviolence, restoration & justice. Recognizing their inherent sovereignty does not undo the generational damage, however, we can, as people of faith and conscience, work together to move forward in a new direction.

Our members urge you to vote in favor of LD 1626. Thank you for your time and thoughtful consideration.

Mary Ellen Quinn, Winterport

Denise Dreher, Biddeford

Pax Christi Maine, Co-Coordinators

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