Triumph and tragedy in Maine's Indian country
Staff Writer Colin Woodard spent more than a year researching “Unsettled,” logging thousands of miles and more than 250 hours of interviews with some 70 sources, including past governors of Maine and the reservations, tribal elders, councilors and activists, as well as attorneys, state officials, police officers and academic experts.
In a 31-part Portland Press Herald series on the Passamaquoddy tribe's epic struggles with Maine, "Unsettled," I told the story of Donald Gellers, the idealistic young attorney who, in the 1960s, joined forces with Chief George Francis to challenge legal, civil rights, and material abuses of the tribe and its members by state officials, law enforcement, the courts, and local businesspeople. Upon returning home from filing a suit that sought redress for a $150 million trust fund and 10,000 acres of reserved land stolen by Maine -- the fund alone worth $1.1 billion in today's dollars -- he was arrested in a sting and raid that would be comic if its results were not so tragic and charged with "constructive possession" of six marijunaa cigarettes allegedly found in the pocket of a jacket in his upstairs closet.
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