John Banks - Penobscot Indian Nation

John Banks is the Director of the Department of Natural Resources for the Penobscot Indian Nation, a federally recognized Indian Tribe in Maine. Mr. Banks has served the Penobscot Nation in this capacity since 1980, following the enactment of the Maine Indian Land Claims settlement Act of 1980. As Natural Resources Director, Mr. Banks has developed and administers a comprehensive Natural Resources management program for his tribe, which advances an integrated management approach, in recognition of the inter- connectedness of all things in the natural world.

Mr. Banks has served on many local, regional, and national organization boards including the National Tribal Environmental Council, Native American Fish and Wildlife Society, National Indian Policy Center, and the Tribal Operations Committee with USEPA.

Mr. Banks has a BS degree in Forest Protection from the University of Maine, where he was awarded an Indian Fellowship from the office of Indian Education in Washington DC.

John is recognized as the 2019 “Distinguished Alumnus” from the UM School of Forest Resources.

Sandra Yarmal - Passamaquoddy Tribe

Sandra Yarmal has been the Data Manager for Wabanaki Public Health since October of 2018.  Her role within the organization is to establish processes for the access, storage and  reporting of Wabanaki-specific information for use by the district and each of the five Tribal Communities.  She is also the lead for the  2020 Waponahki Health Needs Assessment, a tool she was part of creating and implementing in 2010.   She had previously worked as a liaison for The Wabanaki Public Health, District #9, after working for her Tribe at Sipayik for a total of 27 years.

Sandra has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration.  She serves on the Board of Trustees for the Calais Regional Hospital and the Maine Mobile Health Program.  

John Cashwell - State of Maine

John H. Cashwell III is a resident of Bangor. John began his Forestry career in Washington County in 1979 as a Helicopter Pilot for Georgia Pacific. He came to Maine with a Forestry Degree in Forestry from the University of Montana and several years of helicopter pilot experience fighting fires all over the West and Alaska. Prior to that John was a decorated Gunship Pilot with two tours in Vietnam. 

Since flying in Washington County, John was the Director of the Maine Forest Service and concurrently a member of the Baxter State Park Authority.  In 1992 he became President of Seven Islands Land Company, managing 1 million acres of forestland for the Pingree Family. 

After retiring from Seven Islands, John became responsible for the overall management of BBC Lands LLC, a million acre holding, and is President of his own consulting firm.

Along the way, John was the Mayor of both Calais and Bangor while serving as a councilor in both cities.

Additionally, John has been a Director of MMG Insurance of Presque Isle since 1996.

Robert Checkoway - State of Maine

Robert Checkoway (B.A. Brown Univ., 1973; J.D. cum laude Univ. of Maine School of Law, 1976) has been a licensed Maine attorney for over 40 years, admitted to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court. He retired from the US Department of Justice's Office of US Trustee, and in 2013 was one of a group of lawyers who volunteered to defend dozens of Indians charged with illegal harvesting of elvers after a dispute over state licensing. As a concerned citizen he has shown an active interest in the work of MITSC for many years. 

James Cote - State of Maine

James Cote was appointed by Governor Janet Mills to the Maine Indian Tribal State Commission in 2019. 

James works for Bernstein Shur as a political consultant and government relations specialist. Prior to his work for Bernstein Shur, James was Director of Government Relations and Communications for the Maine Forest Products Council, President & CEO of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Maine, and operated his own consulting company, JM Cote Company. 

James has focused a great deal of his professional work on energy policy and natural resources. As an advocate for hunters, anglers, and trappers, James has worked on a variety of fish and wildlife regulatory issues, including leading the historic NO on 1 campaign in 2014 which defended Maine’s bear hunting management programs. 

As a prominent Maine political advocate, James has worked on many of Maine’s largest and most complicated projects and policy issues in recent history, and is recognized as someone that can work with a wide range of stakeholders. 

James enjoys hunting, fly fishing, skiing, and golf. He lives in Farmington with his wife Bethany, and two sons, Harrison and Emmett. 

Ezekiel Crofton-MacDonald - Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians

Zeke Crofton-Macdonald is a citizen of the Wolastoqey Nation from the Houlton Band of Maliseets in Maine and Oromocto First Nation in New Brunswick Canada.  He is employed by Wabanaki Public Health as the Nikan’usk (Youth) Coordinator for the Maliseet and Micmac Nations in Maine. 

Zeke graduated from the University of Maine Orono in 2015 with degrees in History and Political Science.  He is currently pursuing a Master’s in History at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton where he is focusing on Atlantic Canadian and Maine Treaty History.

Matthew Dana - Passamaquoddy Tribe

Matt Dana II represents the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Motahkmikuk. Matt Dana served as the Passamaquoddy Tribal Representative to the Maine Legislature. Mr. Dana has held various positions in Passamaquoddy law enforcement since 2001. He currently holds the rank of Lieutenant, at the Indian Township Police Department. He is a graduate of both the Maine Criminal Justice Academy and the Maine Warden Academy. Among his many contributions to his community, Mr. Dana served a decade on the Indian Township School Board and a term on the Motahkmikuk Tribal Council. He is dedicated to providing positive experiences to youth. He volunteers within both the Passamaquoddy community and surrounding communities. He continues his efforts of teaching Passamaquoddy traditions of drumming, song and sustenance hunting, fishing and tracking to tribal youth. 

Matt is married to Nakia Dana and has three children.

Kevin Hancock - State of Maine

Kevin Hancock is the President of Hancock Lumber Company. Established in 1848, Hancock Lumber operates ten retail stores, 3 sawmills and a truss plant. The company also grows trees on 12,000 acres of timberland in Southern Maine.

Hancock Lumber is a multi-year recipient of the ‘Best Places to Work in Maine’ award. The company is also a past recipient of the Maine Family Business of the Year Award, the Governor’s Award for Business Excellence, the MITC ‘Exporter of the Year’ award, and the Pro-Sales national dealer of the year. Kevin is a past chairman of the National Lumber and Building Materials Dealers Association.

 Kevin is a recipient of the Ed Muskie ‘Access to Justice’ Award, the Habitat For Humanity ‘Spirit of Humanity’ Award, the Boy Scouts of America ‘Distinguished Citizen’ Award, and Timber Processing Magazine’s ‘Man of the Year’ Award.  Kevin also spent 15 years coaching middle school basketball for the Lake Region school district.

Kevin is a graduate of Lake Region High School and Bowdoin College.  He is also a frequent visitor to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. In 2015, Kevin published a book about his experiences with the Oglala Sioux Tribe titled, Not For Sale: Finding Center in the Land of Crazy Horse.  The book won the 2015 National Indie Excellence Award, the 2016 Independent Authors Network Award, and the 2016 New York Book Festival Award. 

Kevin is an advocate of strengthening the voices of all individuals—within a company or a community such as Pine Ridge—through listening, empowering, and shared leadership.

Michael Pearson - State of Maine

Michael Pearson was born in Maine and graduated from Old Town High School. He was a member of the Maine House of Representatives and Maine Senate for nearly 20 years. He is a Military Veteran, having served from 1960 to 1964 (Stationed in France). He is a graduate of the University of Maine in Orono. He was a teacher of History at Brewer High School for 23 years. He has also served the public as a member of the City Council in Old Town, the SAD 31 School Board, the Enfield Board of Selectmen, the Board of Directors of the Maine School of Science and Math in Limestone, and the Maine Historic Preservation Commission.

Robert Polchies - Penobscot Indian Nation

Robert Polchies represents the Penobscot Indian Nation. He is a Penobscot Nation citizen, singer/songwriter and U.S. Navy Veteran. He keeps an active role in maintaining and strengthening the spirtitual, traditional and cultural foundation of the Wabanaki people throughout traditional Wabanaki territories. Robert is always willing to take time to talk and share perspectives with people Native and non-Native alike in order to create, develop, build and maintain better relationships between the Native and non-Native populations.

Mr. Polchies currently serves as a member of the Penobscot Indian Nation Cultural and Historic Preservation Committee. His education includes curriculum and instruction, educational psychology, military science, criminology and religious studies. Robert is a professional instructor, workshop facilitator and curriculum developer. He has written, edited, modified and instructed courses for the military as well as facilitated several workshops on Equal Opportunity and Cultural Awareness in and out of military institutions. He has conducted presentations in schools, corporations and other various venues on Cultural Awareness with the emphasis on First Nations culture and cultural/spiritual differences. 

Richard Rosen - State of Maine

Richard W. Rosen is a Maine native and lifelong Bucksport resident. He is married to State Senator Kimberley Rosen from Aroostook County. The Rosen’s are parents of two and grandparents of three children. Mr. Rosen owned and operated the 103 year old family business, Rosen’s Dept. Store for 35 years.

Mr. Rosen was elected to serve seven consecutive terms in the Maine Legislature, three in the House of Representatives and four in the State Senate. He was appointed as the first Director of the Governor’s Office of Policy and Management. He was appointed by the Governor and confirmed unanimously by the Senate to serve as Commissioner of the Maine State Department of Administrative and Financial Services.  As Chief Financial Advisor to the Governor, he developed state budgets, and managed eight bureaus, a handful of boards and commissions, and more than 1,200 employees.

Mr. Rosen is currently a Board Member of the Retail Association of Maine, and a Trustee on the Board of Acadia Hospital in Bangor. He formerly served as the Co-Founder and President of the Bucksport Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, and was a Board member for Bucksport Regional Health Center and the Board President for Northeast Historic Film.

Mr. Rosen earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Finance from the University of Maine.

He has been recognized as a Distinguished Maine Policy Fellow by the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center. His awards include: the Community Vision Award, Maine Network of Healthy Communities; Outstanding Legislative Advocate of the Year, Adoptive & Foster Families of Maine; Maine Sunshine Award, The Maine Freedom of Information Coalition; Catherine Lebowitz Public Service Award, Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce; Downeast Golden Eagle Award, Katahdin Area Council Boy Scouts of America; Retailer of The Year and Government Service Award, Maine Merchants Association; Business of The Year, Bucksport Bay Area Chamber of Commerce; and he is a Bucksport Academic Hall of Fame Inductee.