Paul Bisulca was born and then raised on Indian Island graduating from Old Town High School in 1966. He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point and in 1970 was commissioned a second lieutenant of Infantry. For the next twenty years, he served in a variety of command, staff and instructor positions in the US Army.
While in the Army, Chair Bisulca received cross-cultural training and experience. In addition to serving overseas in both Europe and Asia, he attended the Army’s Foreign Area Officer Course at the JFK Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg in 1985. While there, he did graduate study in political science at North Carolina State University and subsequently received Portuguese language training at the Defense Language Institute in California.
He was then posted to Portugal where he attended the Portuguese Army’s Command and Staff College, O Instituto De Altos Estudos Militares. Mr. Bisulca and his family lived for a year and a half in Portugal learning the country’s culture and the political, social and economic influences on that culture. In 1991, the Bisulcas returned to Maine.
During the spring of 1992, then tribal governor Jim Sappier recruited Mr. Bisulca to serve on the Penobscot Nation Hydro Committee. Shortly thereafter, he was elected chairman of the committee, which developed and executed a strategy to protect tribal aquatic resources and land rights in the ongoing hydroelectric licensing process for Basin Mills and during license renewals for multiple Penobscot River projects. The tribe’s success in persuading the federal government that a permit for the Basin Mills’ project would produce unacceptable impacts on Indian fishing rights resulted in a denial of a permit for that hydroelectric project.
The committee charter to protect tribal aquatic resources later expanded to wastewater discharge permits. These hydroelectric and wastewater activities required that Mr. Bisulca initiate numerous negotiations and periodic meetings with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, EPA, Department of the Interior and Bureau of Indian Affair (BIA), the President’s Council for Environmental Quality, the Maine Governor, the Maine Congressional Delegation, and various state agencies and NGOs. The results of these activities were substantial licensing protections for tribal resources and the general acceptance of the Tribe’s dominant role in matters affecting the Penobscot River and its resources.
In 1995, Mr. Bisulca was elected as the Penobscot Nation Tribal Representative to the Maine House of Representatives where he served in the 117th and 118th Legislatures. In 1996, Rep Sharon Treat and Penobscot Tribal Representative Bisulca collaborated on developing a structured mechanism to compel tribal-state dialog at the highest level. This collaboration resulted in a MITSC fact finding initiative under the aegis of the Maine Legislature with the group’s recommendations published in At Loggerheads – The State of Maine and the Wabanaki. One outcome of that initiative is the annual meeting between the Maine Governor and Maine’s tribal leaders.
Mr. Bisulca was elected chair of MITSC (Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission) on December 20, 2005.