Governor Janet Mills issued the following statement recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day:
“Today, our state honors the earliest stewards of the land we are fortunate to call home. For thousands of years, the Indigenous peoples of Maine have shaped the character and identity of Maine. While we have made progress on the challenges we share over these past four years, I believe this progress should represent the beginning, and not the end, of our work. Today, we recognize the contributions of the Wabanaki people to the fabric of Maine, and we recommit to making progress on behalf of our children and grandchildren.”
Governor Mills signed LD 179, An Act to Replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day, into law on April 26, 2019.
In addition to establishing Indigenous Peoples’ Day, since taking office Governor Mills has signed the most significant Tribal legislation in four decades which addresses economic and financial challenges, makes institutional changes in how Maine state government interacts with the Wabanaki people, and provides a meaningful way for the Tribes to participate in the gaming industry in Maine.
Additionally, Governor Mills has prohibited Native American mascots; reinvigorated the Maine Indian Tribal State Commission; strengthened water quality standards; provided Tribal Nations jurisdiction to prosecute non-Tribal members for domestic violence against its members; established a permanent appointment of a member of the Wabanaki Tribes to the University of Maine System Board of Trustees; established a permanent appointment of a member of the Wabanaki Tribes to the Maine Criminal Justice Academy Board of Trustees; extended the time for Maine’s Tribal Nations to acquire land in trust; and introduced and signed into a law a resolve that authorized the State to convey to the Passamaquoddy Tribe an important parcel of land in Meddybemps.