All Things Maine
All Things Maine

Friday, April 28, 2006

Micmacs Fighting for Self Rule

Reuters is carrying a story on the struggle of about 1,000 Micmac Indians in Maine to become autonomous. The Micmacs were not federally recognized until 1991, and couldn't share in the 1980 Maine Indian Land Claims Settlement Act with the Penobscot, the Passamaquoddy, and the Maliseet.
Native American incomes still lag the national average, but many tribes are developing golf resorts, expanding power plants and exploring new businesses.

Maine's Micmacs, whose nomadic ancestors arrived in eastern Canada and the northern U.S. corner about 10,000 years ago, say they want a slice of that prosperity to relieve chronic unemployment. About 80 percent of the tribe is out of work.

They were excluded from an $81.5 million Indian settlement act in 1980 in Maine that gave federal services and money to the state's three other tribes. Their Canadian roots and nomadic history made it hard to prove land claims in Maine.

The bulk of an estimated 20,000 North American Micmacs -- also spelled Mi'kmaq -- live in Canada. [Link]
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