Courtesy USET
Opening Ceremonies with drummers and color guard presenting colors

USET Semi-Annual Meeting Opens, Wabanaki Tribes Hosting

United South and Eastern Tribes Release
6/2/14

Trust Reform, U.S. Supreme Court and federal court decisions and their impact on Indian country, Carcieri fix, Youth and Education, exploring leverage and partnership opportunities, building stronger tribal economies, and dealing with climate change are the seven topics the USET Board of Directors will discuss this week at the 2014 Semi-Annual meeting in Bar Harbor, Maine.

The format of this meeting is a workshop/round-table discussion of topics to identify challenges and opportunities. USET leadership has a goal to develop strategies for implementing solutions to overcome identified challenges and explore beneficial opportunities for the organization and its member tribes. Several tribal, federal, and non-profit or non-governmental agencies and organizations are joining the discussions.

The Wabanaki Tribes of Maine are sharing the hosting and sponsorship of the USET Semi-Annual Meeting. These tribes include the Aroostook Band of Micmac, Houlton Band of Maliseet, Passamaquoddy Tribe – Indian Township, Passamaquoddy Tribe – Pleasant Point, and the Penobscot Indian Nation. In a unified statement the five tribal leaders of these nations told attendees, “While we are all aware of the tremendous challenges we face as Indian people from health disparities to our basic rights to restore our homelands, it is our opinion that nothing challenges the future of our Nations more than attacks on our sovereignty and ability to self-govern. The (USET) Semi-Annual Meeting and its structure will allow us a unique opportunity to engage in a council format to find solutions to the issues facing us all.”

Several individuals are being honored during the Semi-Annual Meeting. In the opening ceremonies, the USET Board of Directors honored retiring Poarch Band of Creek Indians Chairman Buford Rolin. Rolin has been in tribal leadership for more than 50 years after completing his service in the United States military. Chairman Rolin has been a strong and valuable advocate for American Indian and Alaska Native healthcare issues and funding. USET also honored several Wabanaki citizens who are veterans of the United States armed forces. USET will hold an honoring of women and “Light the Night Ceremony” tonight, where three distinguished Native women serving in tribal leadership roles will be honored. Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians Tribal Chief Brenda Commander (Maine), Easter Band of Cherokee Indians Tribal Council Chair Terri Henry (North Carolina), and Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians Tribal Chief Phyliss Anderson will be honored for their work in leadership and advocacy for the rights and well-being of Native women.

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