Passamaquoddy tribe to take hit from Gov. LePage poor relief reform
State House-watchers in Maine have been discussing Gov. Paul LePage's plan to reform the way the state compensates towns who provide emergency poor relief, "General Assistance" in local parlance. The governor's plan: that frugal municipalities should be rewarded and "free-spending" cities like Portland should be punished with cuts.
But, as the story asks, why are those reservations spending such staggering sums on General Assistance: over a quarter million dollars a year in the case of Indian Township, population 718, or more than forty times that of the similarly-sized Penobscot reservation at Indian Island and about thirty times that of Indian Township's immediate neighbor, Princeton, population 832.
Tribal officials refuse to say, but a former chief has an unpleasant answer.
For more on the Passamaquoddy, consider "Unsettled", the 32-part serial that ran in the Press Herald this past summer, also available as an ebook.
I am an award-winning journalist and author of American Nations, American Character, Ocean's End, The Lobster Coast, and The Republic of Pirates. I'm a staffer at the Portland Press Herald, where I won a 2012 George Polk Award for my investigative reporting and was named a 2016 Pulitzer Prize finalist.