MITSC chairman Bisulca stepping down
Written by Michael R. Brown
from The Quoddy Tides
Citing lack of progress after four years as the chairman of the Maine Indian Tribal State Commission (MITSC), Paul Bisulca recently announced he is stepping down. A U.S. Military Academy graduate and career army officer, Bisulca, who was the first Native chairman of MITSC, previously served as Penobscot representative to the state legislature. While mentioning some progress has been made in tribal state relations since the settlement act of 1980, Bisulca cited the need for a process for executive and legislative branches to heed concerns expressed by the tribes because the state has not honored agreements to affirm the sovereignty of the Wabanaki nation.
Denise Altvater of Pleasant Point, who is currently a MITSC board member and also chair of the Wabanaki Criminal Justice Commission and on the Maine State Prison Board of Visitors, said, “I’m really disappointed and worried. He doesn’t think the state is willing to work with the tribes.
“As a result of all the work, we went from being spokesperson for Pleasant Point to being spokesperson for any native inmate in the state. When we went to MITSC, Paul went right up the hill with us. No problem was too big or too small. I’m worried that we won’t have that advocacy.”
Pleasant Point Passamaquoddy Governor Richard Phillips Doyle said, “One of the missions of the settlement act was to be a forum for tribal state relations. Paul had worked hard at that ever since the settlement act was finalized. It seemed to be one battle after another. He would always persevere. To his credit, we have made some inroads into improving relationships. They are more cognizant of our presence here in Maine. He also helped create relationships throughout the state, such as with Colby, Bates, and Bowdoin.
“Like a lot of us, we just get tired of the daily battle. I truly believe if Paul thought there was a real chance of things improving, he would have stuck it out.”
When asked what will happen next, Phillips Doyle replied, “It’s still valuable for the tribes. It just doesn’t end here.”
Altvater said, “We were supposed to submit nominations, but we didn’t come up with anybody.”
Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission (MITSC)
13 Commissary Point Road, Trescott Township, ME 04652
Paul Thibeault, Managing Director: 207-271-7762