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Opinion
Editorial: Rebuild tribal-state relations in Maine


"Gov. John Baldacci's veto of Penobscot Nation plans to install slot machines on Indian Island has grabbed headlines. But tribal frustration with state officials goes way beyond gambling. The Legislature’s failure to make meaningful updates to the tribes’ status and a massive cut to the commission that provides the only formal link between the state and the tribes fueled that frustration. But severing tribal ties with the state won’t help the situation, and will actually move both the state and the tribe in the wrong direction.

Rebuilding the Maine Indian State Tribal Commission, with both money and good will, is necessary to move both the tribes and the state forward.

Earlier this month, Gov. Baldacci vetoed a bill to allow the Penobscot Nation to install 100 slot machines. The Legislature failed to override the veto. Gov. Baldacci vetoed the measure because he believes all slot machine proposals should be voted on by the public. The tribes may dislike his stance, but he has been consistent.

Penobscot Nation Gov. Kirk Francis responded by saying his tribe would sever relations with the state and may install the slot machines anyway. Both would be counterproductive. Gov. Francis also has positive ideas, such as a legislative committee or cabinet-level position to coordinate tribal issues, that merit further consideration."

Get the Story:
Ediorial: Tribal Gamble (The Bangor Daily News 4/30)

Related Stories:
Penobscot Nation to move ahead with slot facility (4/25)
Maine governor vetoes Penobscot slots bill (4/16)