State-Tribal Relations

Rebuilding the State of Maine and Tribes’ Relationship:

Governor Mills is committed to healing the divisions of the past and to forging a new relationship built on mutual trust and respect. Since taking office, Governor Mills has:

  • Strengthened Water Quality Standards for Sustenance Fishing: Governor Mills signed into law LD 1775, An Act to Protect Sustenance Fishing, which put into place the nation’s strictest water quality standards to protect sustenance fishing in certain tribally significant waters.
  • Given Back Culturally Important Land: Governor Mills signed into law a resolve transferring ownership of a culturally significant parcel of land in Meddybemps from the State of Maine back to the Passamaquoddy.
  • Expanded Tribal Jurisdiction in Domestic Violence Cases: Governor Mills negotiated and signed into law legislation to expand tribal jurisdiction in domestic violence cases against non-Tribal people.
  • Prohibited Native American Mascots: Governor Mills signed into law An Act To Ban Native American Mascots in All Public Schools, which prohibits Native American mascots in all Maine public schools.
  • Established Indigenous Peoples Day: Governor Mills signed An Act to Replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day into law.
  • Established Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous and Maine Tribal Populations: Governor Mills signed into law legislation establishing the Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous and Maine Tribal Populations to promote, implement and coordinate programs that create and improve opportunities and incorporate the goal of eliminating disparities for historically disadvantaged racial, indigenous and tribal populations in Maine. Governor Mills later provided $50,000 in initial funding from the Governor’s Contingent Account to jumpstart the work of the Commission and fully funded it in her most recent budget.
  • Established Racial Impact Statements for Legislation: Governor Mills signed into law ‘An Act To Require the Inclusion of Racial Impact Statements in the Legislative Process’ that creates a process to review all legislation for potential impacts on historically disadvantaged populations.
  • Reinvigorated Maine Indian Tribal State Commission: Governor Mills nominated six people to the Maine Indian Tribal State Commission, empowering it to once again become a forum for substantive communication, problem solving, and dispute resolution.
  • Righting Past Wrongs: Granted a posthumous pardon, believed to be the first in Maine history, for Donald C. Gellers, a deceased former attorney and advocate for the Passamaquoddy Tribe.