Sunday, October 12, 2014

Don Gellers, 60s-era legal champion of Passamaquoddy, has died at 78.

I'm sad to report that Rabbi Tuvia Ben-Shmuel-Yosef -- known to Mainers by his birth name, Don Gellers -- died Wednesday in New York City. He was 78.

He was a central figure in my recent 29-part Portland Press Herald series, "Unsettled", vigorously defending the Passamaquoddy in court at a time when nobody else would, calling national media attention to official handling of the brutal 1968 slaying of tribal member Peter Francis, and filing the first land claims case against Maine (via colonial power Massachusetts).

As the series reveals, he was for his troubles run out of the state and country by a state sponsored conspiracy orchestrated by the Attorney General's office.

I'll be writing a longer story on Ben-Shmuel-Yosef  for next week's Telegram and will say some words about him at the "Unsettled" ebook launch reception Oct. 16.

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