Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission

Susan Sharon / Maine Public/file

A new report is proposing sweeping changes in the way Maine’s tribes interact with state government. The findings come from a task force charged with reviewing the landmark 1980 Indian land claims act.

A state task force made up of lawmakers and tribal leaders is drafting a report recommending changes to the Land Claims Settlement Act that has often led to strained relations between state government and the tribes.

Office of Gov. Janet Mills

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills has signed into law a bill that will change the Columbus Day holiday to Indigenous Peoples Day. Maine now joins seven other states that adopted similar changes to celebrate the second Monday in October by replacing Columbus Day and honoring the native North Americans victimized during and after the Italian explorers expeditions.

And Mills, who has had a rocky past with Maine's native tribes, says she is moving quickly to restore a tribal-state commission, an inter-governmental body created nearly 40 years ago, but largely neglected in recent years. 

Gov. Janet Mills says she is working to nominate several members to the Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission (MITSC) after years of vacancies that have slowed down some of the group's work.