Regarding today’s 2023 Maine Referendum Election, the Maine Campus Editorial Board has chosen to zero in on Question Six to both describe and provide a shared stance on. It asks “Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to require that all of the provisions of the Constitution be included in the official printed copies of the Constitution prepared by the Secretary of State?” We believe that Indigenous obligations deserve to be represented in our constitution, so we advocate for yes.
Its enactment would require Maine Indian Treaty Obligations to be incorporated back into the Official Printing Amendment, after having been legally removed in 1876. Its re-establishment would be codified under Section 5 of Article X. Under Sections 1 and 2 of that article, the documentation must be involved in all official printed copies of the Maine Constitution.
To vote yes would be in support of the above notions. To vote no would be in its opposition and in favor of keeping the current constitutional components as they stand. Nearly 150 years ago, Section Seven was amended in the constitution.
It set in motion the prohibition of Sections 1, 2 and 5 from appearing in printed copies distributed by the state. Those particular sections contain language specific to the relationship between the state of Maine and Tribal Nations with ties to our region.
To insert this recognition back into printed versions of the constitution would be beneficial, as residents of Maine should acknowledge that this state was built upon stolen land. It is necessary to include the prospective history and contributions of Indigenous peoples.
As University of Maine students, we are highly aware of the fact we occupy Indigenous land, as outlined in our land acknowledgment and stressed in many class and community settings. Reflecting the rights and values of Indigenous peoples in our state constitution is a logical step – especially when we consider that we are the ones occupying their historic land.
This step is not superficial or meaningless. Adding Indigenous people back into our state constitution helps retract centuries of oppression and racism, even if it’s in small increments. To support a more inclusive and progressive Pine Tree State, vote yes on Question Six.