Region 1: EPA New England
Passamaquoddy Indian Township
Location and Land status
The Passamaquoddy Tribe is a federally recognized Indian tribe in Maine (population 1,158), with two distinct reservations, Indian Township and Pleasant Point. The joint land holdings total approximately 108,900 acres held in trust by the United States. The two reservations are 50 miles apart. Indian Township is located next to the town of Princeton, 26 miles north from Calais and the Canadian border. The Tribe’s land holdings are scattered widely across the State of Maine as a result of the 1980 Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act which enabled the tribes to buy land, develop tribal business, employ tribal members, and foster both goodwill and profits by providing investment capital to non-Indians.
In 1980, the Passamaquoddy received federal recognition as a Federally Recognized Indian Tribe. Each of the two reservations has separate governing bodies. Each tribe has a biennially elected Tribal Council consisting of a Tribal governor, lieutenant governor, and six council members. The Joint Tribal Council, composed of the governing bodies of both reservations, manages joint tribal properties and assets. An elected tribal representative is chosen every four years alternating from each reservation to serve in the Maine State Legislature. The tribal representative has no voting rights in the floor of the house. Other rights the tribal representative holds in the Maine State Legislature include the right debate, sit and vote in committees, and introduce bills for the tribe.
Management of tribal services accounts for the employment of approximately 170 people. The tribe owns the third largest blueberry farm in the world on its land in Washington County. The Northeast Blueberry Corp., employs approximately 160 seasonal employees annually. The tribe also maintains 300 acres of alfalfa crop for cattle and horse feed on the reservation.
Tribal land holdings of about 135,000 forested acres provide harvestable timber. The tribe is also seeking to develop a racino style gaming and resort complex. Further, the Passamaquoddy are developing a cranberry plantation and processing facility as well as starting a value-added salmon products business. The tribe also operates a number of service related businesses. The tribe manages and maintains programs that are funded from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Indian Health service, EPA, and other federal contacts or grants.
The Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township manages its EPA grants through a performance partnership grant. The Tribe’s Environmental Department is focusing on the following water related projects: Clean Water Act Section 106 water pollution control, and Section 104(b)(3) Water Quality and Wetlands, as well as the Safe Drinking Water Act projects. The over all goal of the tribe’s Environmental Department is to protect tribal natural resources by improving and increasing the scientific data available on current conditions to better set priorities.
The Tribe is also identifying and addressing environmental issues which affect the Tribal environment and the health of Tribal members. The Tribe’s environmental department continues to establish open and effective communications with federal, state and local environmental officials. The Tribe is building capacity through its EPA partnership efforts designed to respond to releases of hazardous materials which threaten the safety of tribal members and the health of the natural environment.
Future Environmental Plans
The Tribal Environmental Department strives to provide tribal members with modern tools and knowledge to help better protect and conserve the natural resources. This means continued protection of traditional fishing, hunting, and gathering practices of the Tribe and to ensure that the traditional practices do not adversely affect the health of the tribal members (such as harmful consumption of mercury-tainted fish). The department will continue to test plants and animals to ensure the health, welfare, and safety of the tribal members. The Tribe is working with EPA to determine what the risks are and how best to communicate them to tribal members.