Yellow Bar
Assembly of Governors and Chiefs
December 3, 1998
University of Maine at Orono
Governors and Chiefs

Richard Hamilton, Chief, Penobscot Nation
Angus King, Governor, State of Maine
Richard Stevens, Chief, Passamaquoddy Tribe at Motahkokmikuk
Rick Doyle, Chief, Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayak

Tribal Representative

Donald Soctomah, Passamaquoddy Tribe

MITSC Members

Cushman Anthony, Chair
John Banks, Penobscot Nation
Alan Brigham, State of Maine
Mark Chavaree, Penobscot Nation
Mike Hastings, State of Maine
Fred Hurley, State of Maine
Robert Newell, Passamaquoddy Tribe
Evan Richert, State of Maine


Michelle Attean, Penobscot Nation
Gary Growe, Penobscot Tribal Court Judge
Ann Pardilla, Sub-Chief, Penobscot Nation
Earline Paul, Penobscot Nation
Reuben “Butch” Phillips, Penobscot Nation
Diana Scully, MITSC Executive Director
John Silvernail, Penobscot Nation
Maureen Smith, Ph.D., Director of Native Services, University of Maine
Elizabeth Sockbesin, Penobscot Nation
Rebecca Sockbesin, Penobscot Nation
George Tomer, Penobscot Nation

Meeting Convened
The Assembly of Governors and Chiefs was held on Thursday, December 3, 1998, at the Wabanaki Center, University of Maine, Orono. Cush Anthony, Chair of the Maine Indian Tribal State Commission (MITSC) convened the meeting at approximately 10:15 AM. Maureen Smith, the University’s Director of Native Studies, welcomed the participants. MITSC Executive Director Diana Scully read a resolution from MITSC recognizing the many contributions of Ted Mitchell, who is retiring as Director of the University’s Wabanaki Center.

The Assembly
Mr. Anthony asked the Governors and Chiefs what they would like the Assembly to be in its fifth year. Governor King responded that he wants to continue to have the chance to meet face to face, discuss issues, find common ground, and advance things on behalf of the Tribes. Governor Doyle answered that he not only wants to meet face to face, but also government to government. The Assembly is a chance to talk about what the Tribes and the State have in common and what needs to be worked out. Governor Stevens commented that he is glad to hear that Mr. Anthony thinks there will be a fifth Assembly. He hopes there will be. Chief Hamilton stated that the Tribes and the State must respect each other’s right to remain “who we are” and the way to do this is to have government to government communications. He underscored the importance of self-determination and a stronger partnership with the State. The Penobscot Nation wants to work on land use and other issues over the next year.

Mr. Anthony noted that the Governors and Chiefs had described the functions of the Assembly: to attach a name with a face and to set the agenda for MITSC over the coming year. He said when he asked Ms. Scully what type of overview remarks he might make about MITSC’s work, she suggested that he share his perspectives as a newcomer. He offered the following observations.

1998 was a year of transition for MITSC with the illness and death of former Chair Richard Cohen. MITSC was able to keep things going during this difficult transition.

MITSC has unrealized potential. There also is unrealized potential in the understanding by non-native peoples of Native people. MITSC has the potential for enriching the lives of all by deepening understanding.

There is a lot to be done. This is work that cannot be done by nine people. MITSC wants and needs committed involvement of others through work on Committees. The more this happens, the more MITSC can accomplish.

Maliseet and Micmac Participation
Mr. Anthony reported that MITSC did not have a chance to address the issue of Maliseet and Micmac participation during 1998. Sub-Chief Pardilla commented that years ago the Micmacs and Maliseets were involved through Tribal Government, Inc. (TGI) and suggested that MITSC might want to look at this. Indicating that TGI was fairly limited and has been inactive, Governor Doyle said it initially was set up to help the Tribes develop their governments. Since then, the Tribes have “grown up and gone their separate ways” and TGI deals only with jobs programs. Robert Newell stated that TGI got together not only because each Tribe individually was not large enough to qualify for Department of Labor programs, but also to reach out to off-reservation Indians.

Butch Phillips commented that he was directly involved in settlement negotiations and MITSC was formed out of the Indian Land Claims Settlement Act. At the time, the Micmacs were not federally recognized and the Maliseets were recognized shortly after. He said the Indian leaders should embrace Micmacs and Maliseets as part of MITSC and legislation should go forward and be supported.

Mr. Anthony asked whether the Governors and Chiefs agree. Governor Doyle replied that the Passamaquoddy Tribe support the inclusion of Maliseets and Micmacs in MITSC and there needs to be a dual focus of overseeing the Maine Indian Land Claims Settlement and overseeing all Native American issues. Governor King commented that there has been correspondence with his office about this and MITSC should include all of the Tribes. He wondered if this could be done in time for this Legislature, noting that he could submit legislation if he has a later cloture date. Chief Hamilton suggested that this should be a priority. Governor Doyle added that if something is to be done legislatively, the Micmacs and Maliseets should be contacted right away.

Child Welfare
Mark Chavaree reported that as a result of issues raised by the Passamaquoddy representatives to MITSC, a major focus during 1998 has been child welfare. He said there is interest in having more foster home placements in Indian Territory and there are two elements involved: licensing and fundind. Mr. Chavaree noted that MITSC held an August 28 workshop on child welfare and the consensus was to have legislation. There is agreement that federal IV-E funds should be available for Indian children as well as non-Indian children, and there needs to be a memorandum of agreement. MITSC is pushing to have legislation for the upcoming session of the Maine Legislature. Mr. Chavaree indicated that another area of legislation MITSC has been discussing would ensure the enforcement of Tribal Court subpoenas. Mr. Chavaree concluded his report by noting that the August 28 workshop had recommended regional meetings between the Tribes and the Maine Department of Human Services (DHS), as well are more education about the Indian Child Welfare Act for DHS and state court personnel.

When Mr. Newell asked about the jurisdiction over Indian children who live off reservation, George Tomer answered that the law is clear that the Tribes have jurisdiction over Indian children.

Mr. Anthony commented that the August 28 workshop was well attended and that at the next conference of state judges there will be training on the Indian Child Welfare Act. With respect to legislation, he said MITSC may submit something if DHS does not and it determined that legislation is necessary. Governor Doyle indicated that legislation may not be necessary, if there is willingness to reach an administrative agreement. However, legislation can be submitted in case it is needed. Noting that the simpler path would be to work out things administratively, Governor Doyle said Greg Sample showed the Tribe research that DHS has done. They have found agreements between other Tribes and States. Governor Doyle said that DHS staff have been helpful, but things focus when they rise above the staff level. He said there is need to filter information up.

When Governor King asked whether DHS has a bill, Evan Richert replied “yes.” Governor Doyle suggested that the State should put theirs in and the Tribes should put theirs in, and then everyone can get together.

Land Use
John Banks reported that Tribal land use regulation is one of the longest running agenda items for MITSC, even though MITSC reached agreement about this issue early. He said a fundamental aspect of two cultural groups coming together has to be recognition of differences. Land use is culturally based for the Tribes. Next to membership, this is one of the most important issues the Tribes deal with.

Mr. Banks indicated that last year the action was to pursue legislation. (This was the second time legislation was pursued.) Under the legislation, the Tribes would develop a land use plan, which would be reviewed by MITSC rather than the Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC). Then the Tribes would manage their own lands. Mr. Banks indicated that now MITSC is considering two alternatives: the legislative approach and a cooperative agreement, similar to the tribal-state fisheries management agreement for the Penobscot River. He said he likes the cooperative agreement approach.

Mr. Newell commented that as the former leader of Indian Township he, like Butch Phillips, saw the intent of the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act during the negotiations process. He said the issue was that the Tribes would have full jurisdiction, but somewhere along the line people reviewed the Act and said it is not written there, and key players from both sides are now dead.

Noting that the work on Tribal land use regulation is a work in progress, Mr. Anthony said enaction of legislation fell short of one vote and MITSC is continuing to work on this. Governor Doyle commented that the Passamaquoddy Tribe does not believe that LURC has jurisdiction over its federal trust land, even though they went through the LURC process for the proposed bingo parlor in Albany Township. Governor King said his Administration supported the legislation and the issue is “what is Indian Territory?” He commented that if the Tribe bought a block of land in Portland and said other laws of the State do not apply, this is a concern. He said perhaps there can be a cooperative agreement.

Surface Use of Waters
Evan Richert reported on MITSC’s discussions about regulating the surface use of inland waters in Indian Territory, indicating that this also is a work in progress focusing primarily on great ponds, which are waters over 10 acres in surface area and held by all the people of Maine. He said MITSC has been discussing two options: piggybacking on the Settlement Act’s provisions regulating fishing, which would give MITSC authority to regulate surface use, and piggybacking on the Act’s provisions relating to hunting, which would give the Tribes authority to regulate surface use. Governor Doyle said he prefers the second option. Mr. Richert replied that he understands this view, noting that there are issues because great ponds are held by all the people of Maine and often are partially in and partially outside of Indian Territory. Governor Doyle agreed that there needs to be discussion and said the Tribe wants to have say over non-Indian Territory, too.

Sub-Chief Pardilla commented that this touches on the Tribal Court, Trust Responsibility, and economic development and said the Tribes need a resource. She stated that the Tribes owned almost all of the land to begin with and their $69,000 came back to the Tribe without any interest. She said she has a problem letting other people use Tribal lands and waters when the Tribe needs to provide its own people with opportunities. She added that the Tribe has been excluded by the State, for example, when the State uses federal money flowing in and the Tribe does not get any. Mr. Anthony strongly encouraged her to get involved on MITSC’s committees.

Economic Basis of Tribal Government
Mr. Anthony stated that MITSC’s look at the economic basis of Tribal Government also is a work in progress and indicated that two principal things are being addressed:

Tax revenue issues: MITSC wants a planning group to look at this more closely. There is a whole range of issues that need attention. MITSC is asking the Governors and Chiefs for support.

Homestead tax exemption: Tribal members and non-tribal members all pay taxes. Tribal members felt there was not fairness in terms of what they got compared with what others got. There is likely to be a request for some fairness.

Governor King pointed out that everyone got a benefit in the income tax. He mentioned that before the first Assembly there was discussion about the property taxes paid by people living on non-Tribal lots within the reservation boundaries, and this was addressed. Indicating that he got the same reactions from renters, store owners, and others on the Homestead Tax Exemption, Governor King said everyone can make the argument about fairness, but property tax relief is only one-sixth of tax relief. He said it will be difficult to sell the idea of getting relief in the Legislature when the Tribes do not pay property taxes. Governor King suggested beginning discussions with the Acting Taxation Director and with Kay Rand of the Governor’s Office.

Alan Brigham mentioned that taxing equipment for gaming continues to be an issue. Tribal Representative Donald Soctomah commented that the Passamaquoddy Tribe owns 12,000 acres that they do pay taxes on.

Stating that the economic basis of Tribal Government questions is very important to the Tribes, Governor Doyle suggested that the Committee should be expanded to include more development activities. He noted that Governor King visited with the Tribe in 1994 and since then the Tribe has been trying to build bridges with their neighbors. He said the Tribe can bring unique resources to the table which can help others beyond tribal members. Mr. Anthony said economic development should be part of the work of the Economic Basis of Tribal Government Committee.

Marine Resources
Mike Hastings explained that a new law, signed by Governor King and introduced by then Passamaquoddy Representative Fred Moore, includes a reporting requirement for MITSC. Mr. Hastings reported that MITSC has set up a Committee with three MITSC members and others and is in the process of identifying what issues need to be addressed.

Governor King stated that this legislation was a success and to finally have Representative Moore’s bill pass is real progress. Governor Doyle said this also is a success for the Tribe. They now have an ordinance in place, after community participation. He said the Department of Marine Resources provided consultation and cooperation as the Tribe developed the ordinance. Mr. Anthony summarized that there have been two successes: enactment of the law and cooperation in its implementation.

Fish and Wildlife
Fred Hurley reported that MITSC’s Fish and Wildlife Committee was particularly active during 1997, with the adoption of new fishing rules shortly before last year’s Assembly. He said MITSC’s rules have been integrated in the fishing regulation booklets published by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and are working quite well. Mr. Anthony noted that there have not been many complaints. Mr. Hurley added that this is a core MITSC responsibility that took a lot of time.

Planning and Education
Alan Brigham indicated that MITSC’s Planning Committee held its first meeting in October and one of its responsibilities is planning the Assembly. He said the Committee members wondered whether the Governor and Chiefs would like the Assembly to have more ceremony and be accompanied by other activities such as seminars. He added that they also have discussed having a Wabanaki Day at the Legislature and a statewide effort to educate children and others about tribal issues and culture.

Sub-Chief Pardilla mentioned that there used to be a legislative night, which the Tribes sponsored and paid for. This was held for a few years. Mr. Anthony commented that the Planning Committee thought maybe MITSC could pick up the bill.

Mr. Anthony asked whether the Governors and Chiefs would like the Assembly to be held at different venues in the future, whether it should be more formal, whether there should be publicity, whether only Governors and Chiefs should be involved, whether they would like to discuss sovereignty, and how they would like their future meetings to be.

Chief Hamilton answered that he likes the idea of having the Assemblies at the reservations and having a ceremony at the beginning. He said they could meet in Augusta, too. Governor Doyle commented that more time is needed for the Assembly; there should be a session where the leaders talk and then a session that is more public, with more generalized issues. He did not like the idea of a seminar. Governor King said he prefers more informal meetings and too much pomp impedes the ability to communicate.

Review of State Actions
Mr. Anthony said that the Governors and Chiefs had touched on everything in MITSC’s 1998 report, except one item: MITSC’s review of actions by the State. He said it is important to identify what actions should come to MITSC. Governor King indicated that he would like to help with this.

Run to Katahdin
Butch Phillips asked for support in going to the Baxter park Authority and asking for the Penobscot Nation to be exempt from paying for the use of the park. He said in communications with Buzz Caverly, there has been a resolution regarding the payment for this year. He explained that each year there is one big spiritual event for the Penobscots at Baxter park and they do not feel they should have to pay to exercise their spirituality. Governor King noted that Mount Katahdin has a special place in the culture of the Penobscot People and said he would like to support the Penobscots in this. He pointed out that the Baxter Park Authority is not part of State Government, but he said he would write a letter supporting the Penobscot Nation’s position. Governor Doyle said he, too, would write a letter and would ask for Tribal Council support. George Tomer said he went to Mt. Katahdin for a spiritual quest 30 years ago, and he does not think individuals should have to pay.

The Assembly adjourned at approximately 12:15 and was following by informal discussion over lunch.

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