About the Commission

Group gathering in a circle

Photo by Nolan Altvater

Mission Statement

The mission of the Wabanaki Commission on Land and Stewardship is to improve the health and well-being of Wabanaki people through a sustained effort to expand our access, management, and ownership of lands to practice our land-based cultures across Wabanaki homeland in what is now the State of Maine.  We, representatives of the Penobscot Nation, Passamaquoddy Tribe-Indian Township, Passamaquoddy Tribe-Pleasant Point, the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, and the Mi’kmaq Nation, support this mission by acquiring lands and by sharing and co-managing, in the spirit of reciprocity, land that is currently owned by land trust and conservation organizations.   To support this collaborative work, we seek to create, through partnership and education, a stronger conservation movement that includes and reflects Wabanaki expertise and perspective.  As Wabanaki representatives, we offer our insights and wisdom to the Land Trust community to identify and protect lands of great importance across the State of Maine.


Beginning ­late 2017, in concert with Wabanaki leaders and educators, representatives of Maine’s land trust and conserv­ation organizations began a collaborative journey with the 4 Wabanaki Tribal Nations in Maine to repair relationships, grant legal access, share and return land.  At the June 2019 First Light Learning Journey gathering in Millinocket in the shadow of Ktaadn, Ktoton, Kji Kmtn, following a separate Wabanaki session, Wabanaki participants suggested the creation of a Wabanaki leadership group or commission to bring Tribes together around issues tied to land, and to bring a unified voice to our engagement with the conservation community.  Wabanaki leaders made this specific request to the conservation leadership: to help build our capacity and a more unified voice to respond to the land stewardship opportunities that you are presenting. This led to the formation of the Wabanaki Commission for Land and Stewardship, which has two representatives from federally recognized tribal nations within the State of Maine. These representatives direct and guide the work with First Light through their knowledge and experience with either being a cultural practitioner and or work within tribal governments. The WCLS planning team provides additional capacity for moving the Commissioners ideas forward. 

Commission Members 

Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians

  • Susan Young
  • Isaac St. John

Mi’kmaq Nation

  • Richard Silliboy
  • Shannon Hill

Passamaquoddy at Motahkomikuk Indian Township

  • Donald Soctomah
  • Darrell Newell

Passamaquoddy at Sipayik

  • Dale Mitchell
  • Ralph Dana

Penobscot Nation

  • John Daigle
  • Jennifer Neptune

Planning Team for the Commission

  • Darren Ranco (Penobscot)
  • Tony Sutton (Passamaquoddy)
  • Suzanne Greenlaw (Maliseet)

Former Commission Representatives

  • John Dennis (Mi’kmaq Nation)
  • Rena Newell (Passamaquoddy at Sipayik)
  • Kendyl Reis (Mi’kmaq Nation Tribal Historic Preservation Officer)