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Wed Aug 9, 2017, 12:24 PM

Termination or Extermination for Penobscot Indian Nation?

Penobscot Indian Nation Rally, Penobscot River jurisdiction

The Penobscot Indian Nation held a rally after a federal appeals court upheld the State of Maine’s claim to jurisdiction over the Penobscot River on June 30. From left to right; Penobscot Indian Nation Chief Kirk Francis, Dawn Neptune Adams, Darren Ranco, Nickie Sekera and Sherri Mitchell. Photos by Arlene Leighton

On June 30, a federal appeals court upheld a lower court ruling that severs the Penobscot Indian Nation from the waters of the Penobscot River, a ruling that Penobscot Indian Nation Chief Kirk Francis says is reminiscent of federal termination policy—or worse. “The river and our relationship to it and the 200 islands [that form the reservation] are the core of our cultural identity. If our ability to protect the river is taken away, we lose a big part of who we are,” Francis told ICMN.
For decades, the tribe has been monitoring the quality of the water in the river and working with state and federal agencies, power companies and conservation groups to stop the industrial and municipal pollution that has led to unacceptably high levels of mercury, dioxin, PCPs and other toxins in the river.

A 2014 public health assessment by the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry recommended that “the general population of PIN members eat only 1-2 Penobscot River freshwater fish meals per month.” The agency also recommended that children under 8, and pregnant and breastfeeding women, eat no Penobscot River fish at all. Dawn Neptune Adams said, “Fishing is something that we do as part of our culture; it’s been part of our culture for thousands of years. I myself am a single parent. If I could eat fish out of that river every night for dinner, that’s what I would do. I would not be at the grocery store trying to figure out how to make a small amount of food stamps stretch for the entire month. I would be eating fish out of that river just like my ancestors did, first because it’s healthy and secondly because it’s our culture.” She added, “We have treaty-reserved fishing rights, but those fishing rights don’t do any good if we can’t eat the fish.”

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The Letter

In 2012 Maine Attorney General William Schneider denied the tribe’s right to protect the waters on which it has relied for untold generations. In a letter, Schneider said the state had sole jurisdiction over hunting, fishing and other activities in the 60-mile stretch of the Penobscot River surrounding the islands of the tribe’s reservation. The river was no longer understood by the state to be part of the tribe’s territory.

Schneider’s stance conflicted directly with a 1988 opinion from AG James Tierney saying that the tribe had the right to take fish within the boundaries of their reservation for sustenance purposes, basing his statement on the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act (MICSA) which was passed by Congress in 1980 to settle the claims of the Penobscot Nation, the Passamaquoddy Tribe, and the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians to two-thirds of the state.

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Reply Termination or Extermination for Penobscot Indian Nation? (Original post)
niyad Aug 2017 OP
Stargazer99 Aug 2017 #1
niyad Aug 2017 #2

Response to niyad (Original post)

Wed Aug 9, 2017, 02:01 PM

1. what well-heeled asshole is benefitting by this rip off of native survival

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Response to Stargazer99 (Reply #1)

Thu Aug 10, 2017, 12:14 PM

2. the article did not cover that, but you are absolutely correct. there is one.

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