AUGUSTA – When
Maine celebrates Independence Day on the Fourth of July each year with fireworks,
a parade or a cook out, are we celebrating a hate crime? One State Representative
in Maine thinks so.
Maine Public interview last week about the issue of hate crimes and prejudice
in Maine, Rep. Rachel Talbot-Ross (D – Portland) said that the founding of the
United States itself was a “hate crime.”
interview occurred during a segment from Maine Public talking about hate and
prejudice in Maine, and what can be done.
Rooks, public affairs host and producer for Maine Public asked Rep. Talbot-Ross
to give a background of the history of hate groups in Maine.
think many people would be surprised to know about the history of Maine, as far
as active hate groups, can you give us a little background?” asked Rooks.
Rep. Talbot-Ross said, “Uh, thank you, and welcome to the listeners. What I
know, and others can jump in, is uh, a history that has existed for centuries.”
dare say, the founding of this country was a hate crime against the indigenous
populations of this, uh, of the Americas.”
Without any further explanation of how the founding of the United States was a hate crime, Talbot-Ross then went on to correctly describe slavery in America and Maine’s history as a home for the KKK, both dark stains on American history.
interviewing for MPBN, didn’t challenge the statement from Talbot-Ross, instead
moving on to ask Professor Abraham Peck from the University of Southern Maine a
Later in the
interview, Rep. Talbot-Ross also said she ‘marveled’ at the way the leader of
New Zealand was able to immediately take action on “getting rid of assault
weapons” in the wake of the Christchurch shootings. (starting at 27 min mark at
the link above)
The history of the founding of the United States and the first treaty signed by our newly founded country say something different.
In 2013, the 126th Maine Legislature unanimously passed a Joint Resolution Sponsored by Rep. Henry Bear, representing the Maliseet people, that recognized the Treaty of Watertown of 1776. This was the first Treaty entered into by the fledgling United States Government and was signed by several Native American tribes that spanned what would eventually become known as the Canadian maritime provinces and New England.
The Treaty of Watertown was a military alliance between the United States at the request of General George Washington, and the St. John’s Tribes, the Maliseets and the Passamaquoddy Tribe, and Mi’kmaq First Nations in Nova Scotia and 2 of the peoples of the Wabanaki Confederacy, according to official legislative documents.
representatives for the United States signed the treaty literally one day after
the proclamation of the Declaration of Independence.
Among other things the treaty delivered a strong message of alliance and friendship and a commitment on behalf of the Native American tribes to provide 600 strong men to fight alongside the Americans against Britain.
“We like it well. We now see that America is right and Old England is
wrong, and we will joint with you in this fight,” is how the Mi’kmaq and
Maliseet delegates were said to have
responded to the translation of the Treaty according to contemporary accounts.
Proclaiming the new Native American allies as brothers, Captain James Bowdoin, the man for whom Bowdoin College, a bastion of the social justice movement, is named, said, “the United States now form a long and strong chain, and it is made longer and stronger by our brethren of the Maliseet and Mi’kmaq Tribes joining with us, and may the Almighty God never suffer the chain to be broken.”
For a bit of light reading on The Treaty of Watertown and the early relationship between the United States government and regional Native American tribes, click here or here.