March 20, 2023
Senator Angus King
133 Hart Building, Washington, DC 20510
Re: H.R. 6707
Dear Senator King,
You recently decided not to support passage of H.R. 6707 brought by Representative Golden that dealt with the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act when it came before you for consideration. You will recall that his bill would have removed the provision in the Act which states that future Indian legislation does not affect the Maine tribes unless those tribes are specifically made subject to it. A number of our members were disturbed by the statements in your letter which explained why you did not support that bill.
As Quakers, we believe that it is fair and reasonable to give the Wabanaki tribes the same rights under subsequent Congressional legislation dealing with Indian issues as that which is guaranteed to all other tribes. Many scholars have stated that this provision in the Act was not discussed by the parties during the negotiations which led up to the final draft of the Act. Or if it was discussed at all, it was not part of what you describe as “the fundamental position of the State in the negotiations leading up to MICSA.”
Removing this provision seems consistent with the concept that Federal law should always be considered in light of present-day conditions. As the attached article makes clear, the Wabanaki currently are significantly poorer than other American tribes. Removing this provision would go a long way towards equalizing their status relative to the other tribes.
Thank you for your consideration of this. If you wish to discuss the contents of this letter further, please contact Cushman Anthony, a member of our Peace and Social Concerns Committee and former chair of the Maine Indian Tribal State Commission; or contact our Clerk, Leslie Manning at the above address.
Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends
The attached enclosure can also be found at https://theconversation.com/tribes-in-maine-left-out-of-native-american-resurgence-by-40-year-old-federal-law-denying-their-self-determination-198386