150 Years Later, a Native American Tribe Regains an Ancestral Island

It’s an all-too-familiar story of state-sanctioned theft, land grabs in violation of Indigenous rights, and selective memory in the national news media. But the latest turn marks a major milestone. After Maine split away from Massachusetts generations ago, land controlled by the Passamaquoddy tribe was stripped. The tribe had acquired it under a treaty signed with Massachusetts, which then included Maine, after the Revolutionary War.

Now, thanks to a sale of the island, supported by Indigenous communities, the tribe has reacquired almost all of the 150 acres in southwestern Maine’s Big Lake, which had been taken in violation of the treaty. A number of reporters have amplified the story, from the Boston Globe’s Charlie McKenna to the Portland Press Herald’s Colin Woodard, the Bangor Daily News’ Robbie Feinberg, and the Good News Network’s editorial staff, creating a composite portrait of local gains with national reverberations.

Read their write-ups, and send more good news about Indigenous land and other areas of human rights to [email protected].

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