"Indian Nations had always been considered as distinct, independent political communities, retaining their original natural rights, as the undisputed possessors of the soil ... The very term 'nation,' so generally applied to them, means 'a people distinct from others.'"
John Marshall, 1832 Worcester v. Georgia ,31 U.S. (6 Pet.) 515, 561
Before contact with Europeans, the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians occupied much of what is now considered the eastern border line of the U.S. and Canada in northern New England . After the Jay Treaty in 1794, the Maliseets obtained free border crossing rights between the two countries because their villages spanned both countries.
This photo is the Meduxnekeag River which flows through Maliseet Tribal Lands.
Below is our Tribal Administration office, located on 88 Bell Road in Littleton, Maine. Also located in the building are other services: Vocational Rehabilitation, Natural Resources, Economic Development, Tribal Planning, Boys and Girls Club, and the Education Department. Our Health and Wellness center can be found at 3 Clover Circle in Houlton, Maine.
In the early 1970's, some Maliseet and members of other tribes not living on recognized reservations banded together to form the Association of Aroostook Indians, which eventually allowed them access to federal and state programs. The Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians (HBMI) has been federally recognized as a government by the United States of America since October of 1980. This federal recognition gives HBMI a unique government to government trust relationship with the United States . In turn, recognition entitles the Houlton Band to many services provided to Indians by the United States of America, including health care through Indian Health Services (IHS), housing through the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the ability to govern our own Tribal Affairs.
The Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians is comprised of some 1700 members and is lead by a Tribal Chief. A smaller band of the larger Maliseet Nation of New Bunswick, Canada, the Houlton Band calls the Meduxnekeag River home. The Maliseets are river people who have traditionally been hunters and gatherers in the St. John River basin, of which the Meduxnekeag is a tributary.
The river itself is prized for its brook and brown trout populations. Currently, HBMI has farm and commercial land holdings in Aroostook County . Much of the land borders a significant amount of the Meduxnekeag, a critical link in preserving tribal practices, traditions and history.