PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A Maine state official who resigned after his comments offended rural residents, African-Americans and Native Americans is being criticized by NAACP and tribal leaders.

The heads of the Penobscot Indian Nation and the Maine chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said Friday that remarks attributed to Philip Congdon are “reprehensible and inherently untrue.”

Congdon resigned as Economic and Community Development commissioner this week. He had been quoted as saying affirmative action programs have contributed to a decline in higher education and that it’s time for northern Mainers to “get off the reservation” if they want to succeed.

The NAACP and the tribe also called upon Gov. Paul LePage to condemn the statements.

Congdon has said his comments were misunderstood.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.