A tremendous showing for community and tribal sovereignty, and water protection
Augusta – Over a hundred Maine citizens and representatives from dozens of organizations joined forces at the State House’s Hall of Flags for the third annual Rally of Unity. The overarching theme for this year’s rally was protection of our water resources and respect for community and tribal sovereignty. Featured speakers included Shenna Bellows, former candidate for U.S. Senate and former Maine Senator Troy Jackson.
Other speakers shared the podium addressing concerns around the critical need to protect water in Maine. With many potentially destructive plans looming in Maine, such as extreme water extraction/privatization, mountain-top mining and the exorbitant waste it produces, the East-West Industrial Corridor and pipeline, industrial wind, and more, organizations came together to speak in a unified voice informing Maine legislators what Mainers expect from their service. A current critical issue between the Penobscot Nation and the State of Maine government was one of the topics at this year’s rally.
“Sadly, Penobscot people are anxiously awaiting the fate of our river,” said Maria Girouard, Penobscot tribal member and founder of Dawnland Environmental Defense. In Augusta 2012, state government asserted its opinion to Penobscot Chief and Council that the Penobscot Indian reservation did not include the water. The Penobscot Indian reservation consists of over 200 islands in the Penobscot River. “Frankly, this redefining of our territory feels outright hostile. Maine government is supposed to be working for all Maine people, yet most people have no idea that this is happening. This current legal battle has the potential to last years and cost millions of tax payer dollars. What I would like to know is why Maine government is asserting its claim to the water? And on whose behalf?”
Larry Dansinger of Resources for Organizing Social Change and an organizer for this year’s rally said, “The Maine legislature has been passing too many bills that benefit the one percent and hurt 99 percent of Mainers. The public needs to demand laws that benefit the vast majority of Maine people, not just a select and powerful few.”
All individuals and groups participating in this third annual event are unified under the principles of: Reserving Maine money for Maine people; keeping money out of politics; respecting community and tribal sovereignty; and promoting an economy that protects, rather than compromises, our environment. In addition to speakers and songs, the rally hosted organization tabling and provided opportunity for networking and alliance building.
Alliance for the Common Good Members include: 350 Maine, 350 Waldo County, Ability Maine, Alliance for Democracy, American Friends Service Committee Wabanaki Program, Americans Who Tell the Truth, Artists Rapid Response Team, Bring our War $$ Home, CodePink, Community Water Justice, Dawnland Environmental Defense/ Justice for the River, Defending Water for Life, Don’t Waste ME, Food AND Medicine, Food and Water Watch, Food for Maine’s Future, Forest Ecology Network, Friends of Merrymeeting Bay, Friends of Penobscot Bay, Friends of the Piscataquis Valley, Global Network, Green Initiatives, anti-Industrial wind activists, Maine EarthFirst!, Maine Fair Trade Campaign, Maine Greens, Maine Peace Action Committee, Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition, Maine Students for Climate Justice, Maine Veterans for Peace, Midcoast Peace and Justice, Occupy groups statewide, Pax Christi Maine, Peace Action Maine, Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine, Peace and Justice Group of Waldo County, PeaceWorks of Greater Brunswick/ Waging Peace, Peninsula Peace and Justice, Pine Tree Youth Organizing, Power in Community Alliances (PICA)/ U.S. El Salvador Sister Cities Committee, Resources for Organizing Social Change, Riverbilly Coalition for Natural Resources Preservation, SEEDS for Justice, Southern Maine Workers Center, Stop the East-West Corridor, TWAC (Trans and/or Women’s Action Camp), We the People Maine.
Lastly, here is an independent article published in The Cryer by Lew Kingsbury: