Greetings Tribal Family,
We’ve received a tremendous amount of support from our friends in the federal government last month – from both sides of the isle. Last month our U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren signed a letter along with fellow republican and democrat senators urging Congress to provide significant funding to tribes to combat the opioid epidemic…something we’ve been investing heavily in over the past few years and welcome any additional support we can get. We also saw members of both parties come together to approve a spending bill that includes funding for the BIA and Indian Health Services. Two departments we rely heavily on.
Most importantly, I want to provide an update about what is considered a historic show of support by representatives of the United State Congress, not only across Indian Country but across the United States of America on behalf of the Mashpee's.
A bi-partisan bill has been introduced by U.S. Rep. William Keating, D-MA in the U.S. House of Representatives that would protect our reservation lands in Mashpee and in Taunton. The group totaling 10 Congressional representatives -- including the Chairman of the House subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs U.S. Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-CA, and U.S. Rep Don Young, R-AK, the second most senior member of the House Natural Resources Committee and former Chairman of Indian Affairs -- are co-sponsoring "HR-5244: The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reservation Reaffirmation Act", if passed, would re-affirm the status of the Tribe’s reservation, which ended the Tribe's landlessness when it was established by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 2015.
While the bill is in the legislative process with a series of steps before becoming law, the significance of such an enriched piece of legislation specifically naming the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is unprecedented.
I applaud the courageous leadership of Congressman Keating and his fellow congressional representatives from across the United States who are responsible for this bipartisan bill to protect our ancestral homeland.
Such bi-partisanship is proof of the urgency that our rightful place in history remains in tact and our Land remains in trust.
I will provide updates as needed to our Tribal membership on the progress of HR-5244: The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reservation Reaffirmation Act.
Chairman Cedric Cromwell
Qaqeemasq (Running Bear)