A Timely Tribute to Mashpee Tribal Housing Advocate

 Special citation from Senator Julian Cyr presention to the family honoring  Alice Lopez  for her dedication on behalf of her Mashpee People.

Special citation from Senator Julian Cyr presention to the family honoring Alice Lopez for her dedication on behalf of her Mashpee People.

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe hosted a social gathering Saturday, January 27 in honor of Alice Lopez, a longtime housing advocate who helped pave the way for a low-income development project that recently received state backing.

Lopez was the first director of the Mashpee Wampanoag Housing Department. She is remembered by friends and family as a tireless advocate of the needy and homeless, a mentor to Wampanoag youth and someone who sacrificed time and energy to help preserve the 12,000-year-old nation’s culture and traditions.

“She was always like a big sister to me,” said David Weeden, deputy tribal historic preservation officer, who is spearheading the social event. “Sometimes when we’re young we don’t have faith in ourselves, and Alice was always one to give encouraging words.”

Lopez’s housing activism stemmed from her experience when she was homeless and from when she worked at Housing Assistance Corp. in Hyannis. Carol Lopez, her mother, said she used to invite those who struggled to find housing or were in crisis to live with her.

“She was just trying to help people. That’s who she was,” Carol Lopez said.

Alice Lopez was walking the site of the new housing project, which is proposed for roughly 58 acres on Meetinghouse Road close to the Old Indian Meeting House, back in December 2010 when she sprained her ankle. The injury turned out to be a fracture and she suffered a blood clot, Weeden said. She died on New Year’s Day in 2011 at age 49.

The social came nearly a month after the tribe received word that the state would offer to help fund the project, which has been in the making for nearly a decade.

By Tanner Stening, Cape Cod Times