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It’s an all-too-familiar story of state-sanctioned theft, land grabs in violation of Indigenous rights, and selective memory in the national news media. But the latest turn marks a major milestone. After Maine split away from Massachusetts generations ago, land controlled by the Passamaquoddy tribe was stripped. The tribe had acquired it under a treaty signed with Massachusetts, which then included Maine, after the Revolutionary War.

Now, thanks to a sale of the island, supported by Indigenous communities, the tribe has reacquired almost all of the 150 acres in southwestern Maine’s Big Lake, which had been taken in violation of the treaty. A number of reporters have amplified the story, from the Boston Globe’s Charlie McKenna to the Portland Press Herald’s Colin Woodard, the Bangor Daily News’ Robbie Feinberg, and the Good News Network’s editorial staff, creating a composite portrait of local gains with national reverberations.

Read their write-ups, and send more good news about Indigenous land and other areas of human rights to recharge@motherjones.com.

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FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2021 demands.

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