After a week of meetings on Indian Island, tribal leaders from throughout New England and Canada have passed resolutions on two things important to them.
The first being a repatriation resolution which calls for states to allow remains of native people to be returned to their tribes for proper burial.
The second, the tribes have unanimously agreed to separate from their states and provinces.
The tribal chiefs, who have long said tribal rights to self govern are being ignored by other state and provincial governments, will now solely govern themselves.
Penobscot Nation Chief Kirk Francis says more than 70 tribal leaders signatures are now on a resolution which is on its way to the United Nations non-governmental organizations.
The resolution asks the Department of Interior to intervene in situations where states are interfering in internal matters of the tribes.
Chief Francis says at the moment, this is the only way the tribes believe they’ll be able to move forward in a direction that’s right for them.
He’s still hopeful the state and tribal nation can someday reach a new settlement built on mutual respect and trust, but for now, he says the Penobscot Nation has already removed itself from some state funding.
Governor Baldacci’s press secretary David Farmer says he does not believe what the tribes have done is legal and says it goes against what was originally agreed to in the 1980 land claim settlement act.
For example, he says if the tribes were to establish slots or gambling facilities on their land, that would go against state law and what they agreed to in that 1980 act.
In response to that, Chief Francis says he’s hopeful the state will support whatever services the tribe establishes.