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Tribal Chief Ousted As Maine Governor Confers With Native American Leaders

For the fourth time in seven years, the Passamaquoddy tribe at Sipayik has removed its Chief, Rena Newell. Newell served less than a year and was previously the tribal representative to the Maine Legislature. Following the tribe's constitution, Vice Chief Amkuwiposohehs Bassett is the chief-elect until a new chief is selected.

This comes ahead of the newly legislated "Tribal-State Summit" where leaders of the Penobscot, Maliseet, Mi'kmaq, and Passamaquoddy debate whether to met with Governor Janet Mills at the Blaine House. This meeting could prove pivotal to Native sovereignty as a new bill will be introduced within the coming year to the state's legislature.

Unlike other federally-recognized tribes, Natives in Maine are governed by a different set of land claims which means they are subject to state law. Governor Mills previously vetoed a bill that would derive tribal benefits from federal laws and a tribal sovereignty bill.

The "tribal-State Summit" was created in last year's legislative session that provided online sports betting revenue to tribes and established a process for contact between the federally recognized tribes and state institutions.


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