Rally for Clean Drinking Water – Legislative Lobby Day – Legislative Agenda – Take Action – Indigenous Peoples’ Day Service 2021
Rally for Clean Drinking Water
Join Passamaquoddy Tribal leaders and citizens, the Wabanaki Alliance and supporters – including MUUSAN – Monday, April 11 at 10 AM outside the State House in Augusta for a Rally and March for Clean Drinking Water for the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayik!
In support of LD 906, An Act To Provide Clean Drinking Water to Passamaquoddy Tribal Members
The public water supply delivered to the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayik contains high levels of carcinogens and is brown at certain times of year. Over the years, the state and a neighboring town have impeded tribal attempts to access water located on tribally-owned lands to bring clean water to a new elementary school and the larger community.
LD 906 would remove those barriers, provide financial assistance to the local water district, and help the Passamaquoddy Tribe access clean drinking water at Sipayik.
It is expected to be voted on the floor of the House that day!
WHEN: Monday, April 11 from 10 AM – 12 PM.
WHO: All are encouraged to attend! Masks are no longer required in the State House, but we ask that all Lobby Day participants please still wear a mask when indoors and make the best decision for your health and those around you when outside.
WHAT: A rally and march to show widespread support for clean drinking water for the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayik. Please consider staying after the rally to lobby your State Senator and State Representative! We’ll give you the instructions and materials you need.
- Gather at 10 AM
- Rally and Press Conference with tribal leaders at 10:30
- March around the State House to the front steps, and group photo at 11:30
Lobby legislators inside the State House OR gather at the Cross Café for post card writing to Governor Mills
VIRTUAL LOBBYING via phone calls to legislators ME House: 1-800-423-2900 ME Senate: 1-800-423-6900
Unitarian-Universalists: Please join MUUSAN for a large turnout of UUs.
- Find us on the side closest to Capitol Street under the MUUSAN banner.
- Wear your yellow Side With Love t-shirts if you have one for unified visibility.
- Bring your congregational social justice banners or home signs.
- Please let Meret know you plan to go: firstname.lastname@example.org, cell: 207-838-2413
Want to do MORE?
WATCH this excellent 20-minute video by Sunlight Media Collective on the Sipayik Water Crisis: “We can’t drink the water” — Sipayik Passamaquoddy Drinking Water Crisis & LD 906 on Vimeo
Then SEND IT to your legislators Find Your Maine State Legislators (salsalabs.org)
You can find Key Talking Points here: Key Talking Point
Post on Social Media
- FACEBOOK EVENT
- INSTAGRAM POST
- TWITTER POST (NOTE: If you quote tweet this post and/or tag @WabanakiinMaine in an original post, the WA Twitter can RT your post!)
Wabanaki Alliance Legislative Lobby Day
The Wabanaki Alliance Coalition held a successful
Legislative Lobby Day at the State House, on March 9, 2022
Keith Williams and Meret Bainbridge from A2U2 attended
You can see a slide show on the Wabanaki Alliance Facebook page
And read an article in the Maine Beacon about the event
Wabanaki Alliance executive director John Dieffenbacher-Krall delivered a letter to Governor Janet Mills’ office, urging her to support the legislation and sign tribal sovereignty bills. The letter was signed by over 100 ally organization, including MUUSAN. Read the letter here (PDF).
Legislative Agenda Details
Support Tribal Sovereignty in the Maine Legislature
The Social Justice Committee of Allen Avenue Unitarian Universalist Church and MUUSAN (Maine Unitarian Universalist State Advocacy Network) support Tribal Sovereignty for Maine’s Wabanaki tribes.
LD 1626 “An Act Implementing the Recommendations of the Task Force on Changes to the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act”, sponsored by Rep. Rachel Talbot-Ross, was voted with a majority Ought To Pass motion of 8:6 by the Judiciary Committee on 3/15/2022.
Read an article in the Portland Press Herald about the vote: Bill to restore tribal sovereignty gets overwhelming public support, but Gov. Mills wants targeted approach – Portland Press Herald
It now goes to the House and Senate for floor votes. Governor Mills is expected to veto the bill, and the bill will then go to a veto-override vote, needing a 2/3 majority to pass.
The committee vote was preceded by a historic hearing on February 15, with over 100 live testimonies and over 1,600 submitted written testimonies – over 60 of these generated by MUUSAN. Read the 66 testimonies from Maine Unitarian Universalists here: Testimonies (Google Drive)
LD 585, “An Act To Enhance Tribal-State Collaboration, To Revise the Tax Laws Regarding the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, the Passamaquoddy Tribe, and the Penobscot Nation and To Authorize Off-track Betting Facilities and Federally Recognized Indian Tribes to Conduct Sports Wagering”, sponsored by Rep. Rachel Talbot-Ross, was voted with a majority Ought To Pass motion of 8:6 by the Judiciary Committee on 3/16/2022.
Read an article in the Portland Press Herald about the vote: Lawmakers advance bill to give mobile sports betting licenses to Maine tribes – Portland Press Herald
This bill also goes to a floor vote and is expected to pass and be signed into law. It is supported by Governor Mills and represents negotiated agreements between the Tribal Nations and the governor’s office.
LD 906, “An Act to Provide Passamaquoddy Tribal Members Access to Clean Drinking Water”, sponsored by Passamaquoddy representative Rena Newell, was voted with a split vote by the Judiciary Committee on 3/10/2022, with 7 supporting the original bill, 5 opposed and 2 supporting an amended version.
Read an article in Spectrum Local News about the vote and the issues addressed: Legislative committee splits on water bill – Spectrumlocalnews.com
This bill also goes to a floor vote but it is unclear which version will prevail. Governor Mills supports the amended bill but opposes the original bill, because it would give regulatory oversight over the water district to the tribe.
Take Action – What can you do?
Please continue to lobby your legislators to vote in favor of all three bills.
The Wabanaki Alliance has put together a tool kit that gives you all the information you need: FAQs, Talking Points, Contact your Legislators, Write a Letter to the Editor and more: Take Action – Wabanaki Alliance
- Contact your State Legislators and urge them to support LD 1626, LD 585 and LD 906 in a floor vote AND a veto-override vote if needed. You can find your state legislators by entering your address here: Find Your Maine State Legislators (salsalabs.org)
Click on “More Details” to get their contact information and social media links.
Click on the link to the legislature website to see their legislative profile.
- HERE is a template [RTF Text File] for a sample letter written from a UU perspective (shared by the Wabanaki Ally Team at First Parish UU Church, Portland). Download the template and edit with your own words.
- Contact Governor Mills and urge her to let the majority floor vote stand and not veto any of these bills when they come to her desk.
Contact | Office of Governor Janet T. Mills (maine.gov)
- Click on “Share Your Opinion” to send an email.
- Call the Governor’s office at 207-287-3531, press 4.
- Send a letter (the Governor says she reads handwritten letters) to:
Governor Janet Mills
1 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
- Share on Social Media to amplify the Message by sharing posts by Wabanaki Alliance: Social media – Wabanaki Alliance
The above link also has graphics with the #StandWithWabanaki hashtag for sharing.
Why do we as Unitarian Universalists support Tribal Sovereignty?
Our faith tradition is dedicated to justice and equity, and honors the inherent worth and dignity of all people.
We acknowledge that the land we now call Maine, the land on which our churches are built, is the ancestral land of the Wabanaki Tribes, the “People of the Dawn”.
But land acknowledgements must be more than mere ritual acts to reconcile “settler guilt”.
As Unitarian Universalists we are called to actively work on de-colonizing our minds and our institutions, to engage in learning the painful history of land theft and genocide, and to commit ourselves to become anti-racists and allies to the tribes.
Indigenous Peoples’ Day Service on October 10, 2021
You can watch the service in our Service Archive:
Land Acknowledgement (written by Meret Bainbridge)
We gather as a community, honoring this land in the watershed of the Presumpscot River, whose name means “many falls” in the Abenaki language of its original inhabitants.
We remember the ancestors who have lived here before us, whose homeland reached from the White Mountains – Wawôbadenik – to the Ocean – Sobagw – at the mouth of Casco Bay – Aucosisco – the “place of herons”.
Four hundred years ago, there was an Abenaki village at Presumpscot Falls, one and a third miles from our church grounds. There they grew corn, squash and beans – the three sisters – gathered sweetgrass and sustained themselves on salmon, shad and alewives swarming upriver in the spring.
We gather on ancestral Wabanaki land, on land that was stolen by settler-colonialists and claimed by “right of conquest”.
We commit ourselves to a process of de-colonizing, of learning the painful historical truths, of working toward greater understanding and reconciliation, of becoming allies to the Wabanaki tribes who are still crying out for justice and self-determination.