News & Events

Talk – Woven Wisdoms: The new Center for Braiding Indigenous Knowledge and Science

March 25, 2024

This presentation introduces the new Center for Braiding Indigenous Knowledge and Science (CBIKS), an NSF-funded center aimed at creating ethical pathways to bring holistic thinking to bear on contemporary climate change issues. Dr. Bonnie Newsom, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Maine, will present an overview of CBIKS goals, values, and objectives and highlight the university’s role as the Center’s Northeast Hub.

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Wabanaki and African American Studies Clears the Senate

February 27, 2024

The Senate passed LD 2001, following House passage last week. This bill would give teachers and schools the resources they need to teach Wabanaki and African American studies, just as Maine law demands.

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MITSC Executive Director, Jill E. Tompkins, Featured on ICT News

November 8, 2023

MITSC's new Executive Director, Jill E. Tompkins, was interviewed by national news media outlet, ITC News.

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Maine Voters Pass Ballot Question #6

November 7, 2023

On November 7th, 2023, voters passed ballot Question #6 which will restore certain original sections of the Maine Constitution to printed copies, including Maine’s treaty obligations to Wabanaki Nations & Citizens.

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MITSC Welcomes New Executive Director, Jill E. Tompkins

October 23, 2023

The Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission (MITSC) is pleased to announce that Jill E. Tompkins joined MITSC as the new Executive Director on October 23rd, 2023.

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Come visit MITSC at the Common Ground Fair

September 22, 2023

All day long on September 22, 23, and 24, MITSC will be at a booth in the Social and Political Action tent. 

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Maine 2023 Election Ballot Question #6 Fact Sheet

September 15, 2023

Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to require that all of the provisions of the Constitution be included in the official printed copies of the Constitution prepared by the Secretary of State? A “yes” vote on Question 6 would restore certain original sections of the Maine Constitution to printed copies. Although these sections have always been part of the Maine Constitution as originally adopted in 1820, an amendment in 1876 prevented those sections from being printed in copies of the Constitution. Part of the redacted material pertained to Maine’s treaty obligations to Wabanaki people.

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Wabanaki Nations' Chiefs Address Maine Legislature

March 16, 2023

On Thursday March 16th, for the first time in 21 years, leaders of the Wabanaki Nation delivered a "State of the Tribes" address to both chambers of the Legislature. Notably, this was the first time ever that all four tribes – the Passamaquoddy Tribe, the Penobscot Nation, the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians and the Mi’kmaq Nation addressed a joint session of the Legislature. Chief Clarissa Sabattis, of the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, spoke first and framed some of the issues that were also addressed by the other chiefs. She also requested support for proposals currently pending in the legislature involving Wabanaki Studies, ICWA Protections, and Tribal Sovereignty.

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Harvard Researcher, Dr. Joseph Kalt, makes Presentation to the Maine Legislature

March 9, 2023

In a March 9 briefing to the Maine Legislature, Harvard researcher Dr. Joseph Kalt, gave a talk to lawmakers summarizing a report he co-authored, on the "Economic and Social Impacts of Restrictions on the Applicability of Federal Indian Policies to the Wabanaki Nations in Maine." Dr. Kalt was invited to speak to the Legislature by House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross, (D-Portland), Senate President Troy Jackson (D-Allagash) and House Minority Leader Billy Bob Faulkingham (R-Winter Harbor).

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Eating one freshwater fish equals a month of drinking ‘forever chemicals’ water

January 17, 2023

A new study by Environmental Working Group scientists finds that consumption of just a single serving of freshwater fish per year could be equal to a month of drinking water laced with the forever chemical PFOS at high levels that may be harmful.

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New Harvard Report Released on the Economic and Social Impacts of Restrictions on the Applicability of Federal Indian Laws to the Wabanaki Nations in Maine

December 16, 2022

According to a press release, dated December 5, 2022, from the Harvard Kennedy School, the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development released a research report documenting the costs to the Wabanaki Nations in Maine—Maliseet, Mi’kmaq, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot—and to Maine’s non-tribal citizens of the non-application of federal Indian laws that promote Indian self-determination and self-governance.

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US Supreme Court Oral Argument in Brackeen Case was held on November 9th

November 30, 2022

On November 9th, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Haaland v. Brackeen. This is one of the most important Indian Law cases in recent years. The constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is being challenged. The Court's decision is likely to have a major impact, not only on the ICWA but possibly on Federal Indian Law in general. The claim that the ICWA violates the Equal Protection Clause has the potential to substantially undermine much of Federal Indian Law. Maine's Attorney General joined in an amicus brief filed by numerous state AG's strongly supporting the importance and constitutionality of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act. That brief points out that striking down the ICWA based on an equal protection argument would also implicate many state statutes relating to Indians. The four Wabanaki Tribes joined an amicus brief prepared by the Native American Rights Fund. An audio recording can be accessed at: A decision in the case is likely to be issued by spring of 2023.

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Water Pump Grand Opening Ceremony at Sipayik

October 28, 2022

On October 28th, the Passamaquoddy Tribe of Sipayik held a Water Pump Grand Opening Ceremony in Perry across from the Sipayik Elementary School to celebrate the long-awaited use of the water pump there. Cyril Francis welcomed everyone to the circle. Elder, Gracie Paul, led an opening ceremony and song, and Ed Basset said a few words about the process of making this well available for the community and asked that everyone please take care of it and respect it. Chief Rena Newell cut the “ribbon” and filled the first jug of water from the new well, which the Tribe stressed will be open to all neighboring communities as well.

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View livestream of Wabanaki Studies Report release event held on Indigenous People’s Day

October 10, 2022

Twenty-one years after the Maine Legislature passed a groundbreaking law requiring all schools to teach Maine K-12 students about Wabanaki territories, economic systems, cultural systems, governments and political systems, as well as the Wabanaki tribes’ relationships with local, state, national and international governments, four organizations are releasing a report analyzing the law’s implementation thus far and suggesting ways to improve compliance at the state and local level.

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Tribal Ambassador Maulian Dana & MITSC at the 2022 Common Ground Country Fair

September 30, 2022

MITSC had a booth in the Political Action Tent at this year's Common Ground Country Fair, which provided an excellent opportunity to share information and resources on history and current issues connected to Tribal-State relations.

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Kuwesuwi Monihq Reclamation Celebration

June 21, 2022

On June 21st the Passamaquoddy community held a Reclamation Celebration to commemorate the return of Kuwesuwi Monihq (Pine Island) to the tribe. Kuwesuwi Monihq is the largest island in Kci Monosakom or Big Lake, and holds great historic and cultural significance for the Passamaquoddy people.

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Governor Mills Signs LD 906, An Act to Provide Passamaquoddy Tribal Members Access to Clean Drinking Water, into Law

April 21, 2022

On Thursday, April 21st, Gov. Janet Mills signed into law a bill that will give the Passamaquoddy Tribe more control over their drinking water supply.

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United States Supreme Court Denies Petition to Hear Penobscot River Case

April 20, 2022

The United States Supreme Court has denied the Penobscot Nation and United States’ Petition to hear the Penobscot River Case.

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Protecting Our Water

February 14, 2022

On December 3, 2021, the Penobscot Nation and US Solicitor General filed petitions for a writ of certiorari seeking review by the U.S. Supreme Court of the en banc decision by the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Penobscot Nation v. Frey. On December 21, 2021, the MITSC commissioners voted, unanimously, to file another amicus brief in support of the positions taken by the Penobscot Nation and the United States. The brief was successfully filed on January 6, 2022.

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MITSC Appoints Newell Lewey as its New Chairperson

February 3, 2022

The Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission is pleased to announce that it has officially appointed a new chairperson, Newell Lewey.

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