Silliboy discusses small tribe left behind April 14 

BAR HARBOR — Join Richard Silliboy, vice chief of the Mi’kmaq Nation, and the MDI Racial Equity Working Group at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 14, for a virtual talk sponsored by the Jesup Memorial Library. Silliboy will discuss how the tribe was left out of the 1980 land-claims settlement with the state of Maine and their fight to be recognized by the state. 

The Mi’kmaq Nation, formerly known as the Aroostook Band of Micmacs, was not part of the 1980 agreement with the state’s three largest tribes – Penobscot Nation, Passamaquoddy tribes and the Houlton Band of Mailseet. In the 1980s, the Mi’kmaq began to seek federal recognition as a tribe, and Silliboy served as a tribal representative. He met with legislators in Maine and Washington, D.C., to lobby for federal recognition. After a very slow process, and with help from Pine Tree Legal Assistance, the Mi’kmaq finally became a federally recognized tribe in 1991. However, the 1990 Aroostook Band of Micmacs Settlement Act, which was meant to adopt the same provisions as the agreement made with other tribes, was never formally received or approved by the Mi’kmaq. A 2007 court case gave the state full jurisdiction over the tribe. Since 2016, the Mi’kmaq have been working to renegotiate their agreement with the state.  

Silliboy has been on the Tribal Council several times since the early 1990s and has served as vice chief for the past six years. He has testified multiple times in Augusta and has taken delegations to Washington, D.C., to meet with staff from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  

This event is part of the MDI REWG speaker. 

Registration is required to receive the link to the Zoom program. To register, fill out the form at or email [email protected] 


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