Supporting our Wabanaki Neighbors this Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, all of us at Maine Conservation Voters give thanks for your support of the work we do to create a safe, equitable, and healthy environment, democracy, and society for all Maine people.

It has been nearly two years since our nation went into lockdown as the pandemic first began to change our lives. As we reflect on how different our world has become, we want to express both our deep appreciation for those on the frontlines of this terrible disease and sympathy for those whose friends and families have been affected.

We recognize that folks on the frontlines have allowed us the opportunity to continue our work here at MCV, fighting climate change, expanding voting rights, advocating for a more just society, and protecting our air, land, water, and wildlife for all Mainers.

As we gather with our friends and families for Thanksgiving, we recognize that we are in Dawnland, where the sovereign people of the Wabanaki Confederacy, including the Passamaquoddy Tribe, Penobscot Nation, Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, Aroostook Band of Micmacs, and the Abenaki have lived for thousands of years.

Many of our ancestors, both by blood and by spirit, participated in the theft of this land, the separation of indigenous children from their families, and the attempt to end indigenous culture. Every day — but on Thanksgiving especially — we mourn the lives that were taken through colonization.

We also recognize that the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act and Maine Implementing Act have done great harm to the tribes over the last 40 years. It is past time to update this legislation to give the Wabanaki Nations the same rights as the other 570 federally recognized tribes in the United States.

We honor the resilience and power of our Wabanaki neighbors and we have and will continue to commit ourselves to working in partnership to restore the inherent sovereign rights of the Wabanaki Nations. Here are three things you can do with us right now to support the Wabanaki tribes’ fight to reclaim their inherent rights to self-govern:

  1. Learn more about LD 1626 — Legislation led by the Wabanaki Alliance that will restore the Wabanaki tribes’ inherent rights to self-govern.
  2. Contact your legislators and urge them to support LD 1626 — The Wabanaki Alliance has shared some helpful guidance to help you get in touch with your legislators and write them a short email message.
  3. Donate to the Wabanaki Alliance — Financially supporting efforts to restore the Wabanaki tribes’ inherent rights to manage natural resources so that future generations can thrive is critical, and we thank you for considering this step if you are able.

Thanksgiving is both a time to reflect and take action. We must continue to work to create a more just and healthy society that nurtures the Earth for future generations. In doing so, we might begin to heal the world we are in and create the world we long for.

From all of us here at MCV, stay safe and be well.

Abbie, Beth, Ches, Gina, Greta, Kathleen, Maureen, Rani, Stacie, and Will