Micmacs use grant to buy 1,200 acres

Posted Oct. 06, 2009, at 7:55 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:40 a.m.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The Aroostook Band of Micmacs will use a federal grant to secure more land to benefit members of the tribe.

Richard Dyer, housing director for the tribe, said Tuesday that the band has combined a $253,000 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with its own money to buy 1,200 acres in Winterville Plantation.

“For us, it will be land to use for fishing, hunting and for gathering traditional medicines that we use for health,” he said, noting that the tribe had been searching for such a piece of property for two years.

The land is adjacent to St. Froid Lake and the Fish River, which makes it especially appealing for fishing, said Dyer.

Tribal members and federal officials met at the Micmacs’ administrative offices Tuesday morning to officially accept the grant.

Dyer said the tribe contributed $444,000 to complete the purchase.

“This is a very important purchase for us,” he said. “This is land that is suitable for our tribal needs. It can be used for hunting and fishing, for our tribal members to camp with their families. Our tribal members can educate their children about the medicines we use, and it can serve as a spot for tribal ceremonies.

“This land will help us do work and ceremonies that we have done for centuries,” he said.

This is the second successful land acquisition the tribe has made recently.

In June, the tribe acquired a 13 million-gallon oil tank farm, a coal handling facility, several large buildings, and 619 acres of mixed hardwood and softwood land on property that was part of the former Loring Air Force Base in Limestone.

Economic development potential was a major reason the tribe wanted the land. The tribe expects to attract businesses to the site and will use brown ash trees on the land for basket making.

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