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Collections - MF 153 David Slagger Collection

Number of Interviews:  12

Dates when interviews were conducted: 2008-2010

Time period covered: later half of 20th century

Principal interviewers: David Slagger

Finding aides: transcripts

Access restrictions: none

Description: This collection consists of twelve interviews that concern the 1980 Indian Land Claims Settlement Act. Conducted by David Slagger, the interviews explore various tribal, state, federal, legal, and historical perspectives on the legislation, as well as opinions on the long term cultural and economic effects.

3630 George Stevens interviewed by David Slagger, December 14, 2009, concerning the 1980 Maine Indian Land Claims Settlement Act. Stevens talks about placement camps; the governor council; Governor Reed; Jimmy Mitchell; Lawrence LeKoot; the “gravel pit”; Don Gellers; Tom Tureen; Ollie Holmes; arrests; Passamaquoddy protests; Judge Dudley; federal recognition; encroachment of 1973-1974; riot at Grand Lake Road toll; Governor Longley; milk delivery ending; Plaisteds Camps; Delia Mitchell; Louise Sockabasin; Morris Brooks; country singer Dick Curless; Micmac (Mi’kmaq); Maliseet; tribal intermarrying; learning English; importance of historical record; Harold Louis; Anna Horne; Phyllis Stevens; George Sockabasin; move to Pleasant Point; housing, employment, education; chopping wood vs. oil. Transcript: 18 pp. Recording: CD2078 37 min

Supplemental Materials: Paper, Interviewing Participants in the 1980 Indian Land Claims Settlement Act, by David Slagger, 5 pp; ANT 490 Special Projects, Interview Questions, by David Slagger, 2 pp; Newspaper clippings on President Carter signing Claims Act, Bangor Daily News; Publication, Federal and State Services and the Maine Indian, Dec. 1974, 104 pp.

3631 Jim Tierney former attorney general for the state of Maine, interviewed by David Slagger, August 2009. Tierney discusses the 1980 Maine Indian Land Claims Settlement Act. Tierney talks about negotiation period 1977-1978; Joe Brennan; hostile climate; Richard Cohen; high stakes beano case; Reagan; 1978 U.S. Senate election; Senator Hathaway; the “cracked egg” ad; Senator Muskie; Senator George Mitchell; 1974 article “State and Federal Laws and the Maine Indian”; “benevolent paternalism” of Maine to tribes 1974-1980; discrimination Old Town High School; settlement act vs. Brennan; Micmac (Mi’kmaq) recognition 1991; building new frameworks; Supreme Court on the 1980 Settlement Act; John Patterson; Cap Howard; Andy Janelle; pro-Indian and con-Indian players in the legislature; Elizabeth Mitchell; Jon Sewall; Bonnie Post; the lawyer Don Perkins; Libby Mitchell; individualistic vs. legalistic positions; President Carter’s visit to Bangor; local and national support for tribal claims; relationship between legal advances and public opinion; Tom Tureen; Senator Alvarez; elite discourse v. native discourse; effectiveness of government; real estate economics and litigation; Jim Case; “Chief Blue Light”; Land Claims as “folklore.” Transcript: 26 pp. Recording: CD2079 57 min

3648 John Stevens interviewed by David Slagger, April 4, 2010, concerning the 1980 Maine Indian Land Claims Settlement Act. Discussion includes discovery of original settlement act document of the 1800’s; framing of Don Gellers; Tom Tureen; Association of Aroostook Indians; anonymous donations and use of; John Stevens as Governor; Harold Louie; deal with Alan Sockabasin’s; conflict over Passamaquoddy flag; Terry Polchies; Donald Sanipass; Clair Sabbatus; James Pulchies; story of Delia Mitchell and Plaisted; rise of local conflicts in Princeton; the broom incident; arrest of Ranco, Phyllis Sabbatus, Pauline Stevens, and Mitchell; biased state politics; Morris Brooks; Jimmy Mitchell; Atumna Joe; meeting with Governor Reed; search for the Treaty of 1794; trust fund use; Bobby Newall; Tim Love; Jim Sappier; Andy Akins. Transcript: 23 pp. Recording: CD2115  45 min

3649 Wayne Newell interviewed by David Slagger, April 16, 2010(?), concerning the 1980 Maine Indian Land Claims Settlement Act. CD 2138 is a second interview concerning the same subject matter.

First interview: Newell on parental tone of the State to tribes; lack of recognition for indigenous lifestyle; “post-settlement” attitudes; pre-Christian sense of place; past and future movements; increased education and white social awareness of Indians; Dana Mitchell; pros and cons of settlement; Language Reclamation Act; preservation of language and culture. Transcript: 13 pp. Recording: CD2116 30 min. Paper: ANT 490 (Summary of Interview) 2 pp

Second interview: Newell’s relationship with John Stevens; “Gravel Pit Protest”; various people involved in negotiations; Terry Polchies and the Maliseet; anticipated impact of conservative Reagan politics on Land Claims; negotiations of 1794; effect on present attitudes; pre-settlement public hearings; legal environment; fairness and cultural effect of Settlement Act; Indian hunting seasons. Transcript: 12 pp. Recording: CD2138 26 min

3650 Darren Ranco interviewed by David Slagger, April 27, 2010, concerning the 1980 Maine Indian Land Claims Settlement Act. Settlement Act as “domestication” of Indians; tension on Indian Island; John Bear; tribe/state political relationships; State “paternalism”; Passamaquoddy vs. Morton case; emerging public role for Indians in 1970’s; cultural decay; native art; Maine people’s perceptions; acculturation and power; post Settlement Act political cache; post-settlement generation; legal and political effects on sovereignty; future for Maine tribes; role of educated Indians; new programs; John Banks; Maine’s tolerance; internal racism; “Yankee Frontier”; what makes a “Mainer.” Transcript: 12 pp. Recording: CD2117 30 min

3651 Tim Love interviewed by David Slagger, May 15, 2008, concerning the 1980 Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act. Love on federal recognition of 1975; entitlement of Maine Tribes; Secretary of the Interior CV Martin; negotiation teams; Tom Tureen; Love’s political career; Nick Sapiel; Wall Pierson; Reagan’s opposition to tribes; legal climate toward natives; Judge Rehnquist; Jim Longely; Joe Brennan; lack of employment; discrimination;  accountability for settlement; Rod Hoffman; state trooper George Mitchell; cultural decay of tribes; Neal Roe; Jimmy Carter; story of the eagle feather; Terry Polchies; economics and fairness; possible future of settlement act. Transcript: 11 pp. Recording: CD2139 21 min. Paper: ANT 490 (Summary of Interview) 2 pp.

3654 Terry Polchies interviewed by David Slagger on May 27, 2008, concerning the 1980 Maine Indian Land Claims Settlement Act. Involvement with the Maliseet; Chamber; Alden; Reagan’s political slant; Edmund Muskie; Bryson’s Flat; relationship of lawyers to tribes; desperation to settle; cultural effect of Settlement Act; loss of Maliseet language; Andrea Bear Nicholas; fairness of Settlement Act; intervention of Feds; Claire Sabbatus; Jim Tomah; Al Sabbatus; possible effects of renegotiation; story of Don Gellers’ disappearance; Rod Hoffman; state trooper George Mitchell; signing of treaty at White House; photo with President Carter; reaction in court. Transcript: 15 pp. Recording: CD2140 32 min. Paper: ANT 490 (Summary of Interview) 2 pp.

3655 Allen Sockabasin interviewed by David Slagger, May 15, 2008, concerning the 1980 Maine Indian Land Claims Settlement Act. Historical change of native values, economics; establishment of Dept. of Indian Affairs; pre-settlement issues of hunting and “tree tipping”; establishment of negotiating committee; Tom Tureen; disconnect between negotiation team and cultural values; Sockabasin’s conviction and Supreme Court appeal; issues of jurisdiction; loss of culture to money; Don Gellers; story of Ron Hoffman and George Mitchell; money corruption from the claim; language preservation. Transcript: 15 pp. Recording: CD2141 42 min. Paper: ANT 490 (Summary of Interview) 2 pp.

3657 Timothy Woodcock interviewed by David Slagger, December 4, 2008, concerning the 1980 Maine Indian Land Claims Settlement Act. Woodcock’s appointment to Senate Select Committee; original land transfer disputes; Passamaquoddy v Morton, 1973; Tom Tureen; Passamaquoddy v Bottomly; Non-Intercourse Act; political climate in Senate and Presidency; Maine Implementation Act; sovereignty and jurisdiction; fairness of Settlement Act; Reid Chambers; Terry Polchies; late involvement of Micmac (Mi’kmaq) and Maliseets; land base issues, affect on federal services; various governors’ involvement with tribes; Pequot legislation; revisiting the Settlement Act; casinos and effect on economic resources; municipal power in relation to tribal power. Transcript:  25 pp. Recording: CD2353 1 hr 23 min

Additional materials: Document: 51 pp; Penobscot Indian Nation Transition Laws, Federal, State, and Indian, 1980. Paper: 5 pp; ANT 497 David Slagger Investigating the 1980 Maine Indian Land Claims Settlement Act

3692 Clayton Cleaves interviewed by David Slagger, March 15, 2011, concerning the 1980 Maine Indian Land Claims Settlement Act. Cleaves, Sakom of Pleasant Point Reservation, Passamaquoddy, discusses his use of the term Sakom instead of Governor; his early education; move to Massachusetts and work as cab driver and welder; his return to Maine and work for the New England Telephone Company; graduation from the University of Maine; appointed Director Pleasant Point Housing Authority from 1974 to 1981; 1978 became state representative to the Maine legislature; describes the environment of the tribal people on the Maine reservations prior to 1980; misinterpretation of the Settlement Act; gambling and casinos; Native American Rights Fund needs to look at the Settlement Act; tribes to be treated like municipalities; right to self-determination; sovereign rights; porpoise hunting and crossing the United States/Canada border to test sovereign rights; tribal members reside on trust land which is the responsibility of the Federal Government, not the State of Maine; tribes need to exercise their sovereignty by becoming independent and developing economic resources; Tribal Governors Incorporated; his agenda is Native American rather than just Passamaquoddy Pleasant Point; want to bring together all the tribes in strategy sessions; development of tribal number plate for vehicles; use of the belief in the power of the eagle feather when he was director of Health Care Services; Implementing Act needs to be revisited by the Department of the Interior influenced by tribal chiefs, tribal Sakoms, and the Native American Rights Fund; Indian land cannot be sold without the consent of Congress. Transcript: 16 pp. Recordings: CD2225 40 min

3798 Jim Mitchell interviewed by David Slagger on March 9, 2011 at the law offices of Jim Mitchell concerning the 1980 Maine Indian Land Claims Settlement Act.  Topics include what Mitchell did prior to the settlement act and what his role was; worked for Ken Curtis; asked by Curtis to be his staff liaison with the Native American community; nature of the relationship between the State and the Tribes; tribal land allocation and ownership; worked at the State Housing Authority; as director he implemented an Indian Mortgage Program; Passamaquoddy takeover of forestry building owned by the state on the Indian Township Reservation; candidate for United States Congress; went into private practice of law; hired by Molly Neptune at the Housing Authority at Indian Township; later hired by housing Authority at Penobscot Reservation; served as counsel for both authorities probably twenty years at each one; conflict between Rick Mitchell, the Director of the Housing Authority, and the Penobscot Tribal Council; relations between the State and the Tribes before the Settlement Act and afterwards; optimism when the Settlement Act went through and some lowering of expectations and excitement after the Act; also some personal hostility; wasn’t any major difference in attitude before and after the Act; still some issues that the Tribal state commission has not been able to resolve fully; Implementing Act prevents full tribal sovereignty; Right to Self Determination; best deal that could be worked out at the time; big backlash to having the Tribes claim two-thirds of the land in Maine; Tribes settled for $81,000,000; Clayton Cleaves, Joe Sockabasin, Kurt Francis, John Stevenson, Alan Sockabasin; reopening the Implementing Act; Mitchell’s wife Libby served on Joint Select Committee on Indian Land Claims. Transcript: 13 pp. Recording: CD2442 44 min

3799 Eliot Cutler interviewed by David Slagger on April 13, 2011 concerning the 1980 Maine Indian Land Claims Settlement Act.  Topics include his role in the negotiations of the Settlement Act; in 1977 he was Associate Director of the Office of Management and Budget and President Carter asked him to work with Steven Clay and Leo Cruse in a second effort to mediate the Settlement Act; failure of the first mediation effort; Settlement Act enacted in 1980; political environment in Maine at the time of mediation efforts; Governor Longley; Joe Brennan; political environment in the State of Maine was anti-Indian and toxic under Attorney General Joe Brennan; Brennan refused to negotiate directly with the tribes so Cutler went ahead and negotiated directly with the tribes; death threat; Memorandum of Understanding; effect of Reagan election on the negotiations; believes the tribes got a substantial and fair settlement; Implementing Act; Cutler wished the money claim had been better managed; Dragon Cement; Right to Self Determination; should the Settlement Act be revisited or not. Transcript: 9 pp. Recording: CD2443


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