Before Europeans settled on the East Coast, the Wabanaki tribes had open access to all of Maine’s natural resources, from eels to ash, and sweetgrass to salmon.
Currently jurisdictional battles over important natural resources still simmer, but the Wabanaki nation, and a handful of other federally recognized nations around the country, are working toward harvest rights in some of the nation’s most protected areas. A pilot project underway downeast could serve as a national model.
There are few places more challenging than a Maine marsh in the depths of July, which features humid, clinging air with the odor of rotten egg, plenty of places to disappear into the brackish muck and, of course, lots of mosquitos. But something very important has enticed generations of Wabanaki to places like this each summer.
“See this right here? This is solid, this is all sweetgrass right here. All of this…Behind you there’s another batch, but over there? See…that’s mixed in,” says Gal Frey.
Read and listen to this story at Maine Public.
After 15 months of sometimes-contentious debate, there’s been a breakthrough in the proposed sale of Vermont Yankee to a New York decommissioning company. A deal released Friday calls for the plant’s current and prospective owners to set aside nearly $200 million in additional funds to support decommissioning at the Vernon site.
Additionally, the companies agreed to new restoration standards including a “comprehensive assessment” of contamination at the property.
In return, three state agencies and several other parties have agreed to support the sale of the idled plant from Entergy to NorthStar Group Services. Those supporters include the Brattleboro-based New England Coalition, which had been the sale’s harshest critic. “We now consider ourselves allies and partners with NorthStar and will do our best to help them achieve a state-of-the-art, best-practices and environmentally responsible decommissioning, as free of nuclear pollution as possible,” said Ray Shadis, a coalition board member and adviser.
But not everyone agrees with the compromise. The Conservation Law Foundation declined to sign on, with senior attorney Sandra Levine saying the deal “falls far short.”
Read the complete article by Mike Faher at VTDigger.org. Photo by Kristopher Radder at the Brattleboro Reformer.
State of Vermont
WHEREAS, Indigenous Peoples’ Day was first proposed in 1977 by a delegation of Native Nations to the International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas; and
WHEREAS, a growing number of cities and towns in the United States have recognized the second Monday of October as “Indigenous Peoples’ Day”, re-imagining Columbus Day as an opportunity to celebrate indigenous heritage and resiliency; and
WHEREAS, Vermont recognizes the historic, cultural, and contemporary significance of Indigenous Peoples of the lands that also became known as the Americas; and
WHEREAS, Vermont recognizes it was founded and built upon lands first inhabited by Indigenous Peoples of this region – the Abenaki, their ancestors and allies – and acknowledges and honors these members of the community.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Philip B. Scott, Governor, do hereby proclaim October 9, 2017 as INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ DAY in Vermont. Given under my hand and the Great Seal of the State of Vermont on this 23rd day of August, A.D. 2017.
Philip B. Scott, Governor
Brittney L. Wilson, Secretary of Civil and Military Affairs
Officially posted (at last!) here.
VT Scott Indigenous Peoples Day.
The town is the first in New Hampshire to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day, to be celebrated on Columbus Day, after town councilors approved the idea on Monday. Town Administrator Todd Selig said Tuesday the federal Columbus Day holiday, this year on Oct. 9 cannot be replaced because it is a federal holiday.
Town councilors thought it appropriate to recognize hardships that befell indigenous peoples because of European exploration, and voted to establish the new observance.
The council was considering a resolution put forth by the town’s human rights commission that would add The Age of Exploration and Indigenous Peoples’ Day to the local holiday calendar, but “The Age of Exploration” was dropped during an hour-long council discussion, Selig said.
“Not only is it appropriate to our local history, but also to recognize and value indigenous people everywhere,” Selig said in a statement. “The designation will encourage people to learn more about the legacy of Christopher Columbus and the ‘Doctrine of Discovery’ while also recognizing the devastating effects of colonialism on indigenous peoples.”
Read the full article in the New Hampshire Union Leader.
Caya Simonsen at Keene State College next week, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, 7 pm.
From Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook Abenaki People:
We are super excited to welcome back our cousins- Council Members from the Pessamit Innu to New Hampshire to discuss the destruction that the HydroQuebec dams have created on their reservation in Canada.
If you would like to hear their informative yet heartbreaking presentation you have 2 opportunities:
July 18, 2017, 7 pm at All Saints Parish in Brookline, MA
July 19, 2017, at 7 pm at Nashua Public Library, 2 Court St., Nashua, NH
I hope to see some of you there!
Pictured above is Chief Simon and Grand Council members of the Pessamit Innu and our Sag8mo and Sag8mo Squaw (taken last fall).
A thoughtful column in the Bangor Daily News by Cassandra Cousins Wright.
This July Fourth, we celebrate our freedom as memorialized in the Declaration of Independence. Our ancestors declared, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” While we celebrate securing these rights for ourselves as settlers, we ignore what we have done to our allies the Wabanaki people, the original people of this land, who helped us to secure these rights.
The Wabanaki flourished in what we recognize as Maine. The many distinct people who once called this area home have been reduced to four federally recognized tribes: the Aroostook Band of Micmacs, the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, the Passamaquoddy Tribe and the Penobscot Nation. The four resilient, surviving tribes battle the state government every day to live free as their beliefs, cultures, values, spirituality, traditions and ancestors inform them to live. Why does Maine and the United States withhold from them what we declared 241 years ago as the inherent rights of all human beings?