United States v. Mills, No. 16-1424 (1st Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
The Penobscot Nation filed suit against the state of Maine and certain state officials claiming rights to a sixty-mile stretch of the Penobscot River, known commonly as the Main Stem. The district court made two rulings on cross-motions for summary judgment, concluding (1) the Penobscot Indiana Reservation includes the islands of the Main Stem but not the waters of the Main Stem, and (2) Penobscot Nation was allowed to take fish for individual sustenance in the entirety of the Main Stem section of the river. The First Circuit affirmed the first ruling and vacated the second ruling on sustenance fishing and ordered dismissal, holding (1) the plain language of the definition of “Penobscot Indian Reservation” in the Maine Implementing Act and the Maine Indiana Claims Settlement Act includes the specified islands in the Main Stem but not the Main Stem itself; and (2) Plaintiffs’ second claim was not ripe, and, under the circumstances, the Nation lacked standing to pursue the claim.