Wunee keesuq Tribal family,
There are a few topics that I’d like to cover in my column this month. Most notably are our efforts to see the Congressional legislation passed to forever protect our homeland and our upcoming tribal elections on February 10. These are two topics that will have a significant impact on our tribal nation for years to come.
The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reservation and Reaffirmation Act is vital to our tribal economy, community and culture. Thankfully we have broad support for the bill across both sided of the aisle. Bipartisan support headed by our Congressman William Keating who refilled the bill along with co-sponsor Joseph Kennedy last month. The new bill is HR 312. Please consider contacting your congressman or congresswoman and letting them know you support passage of this bill.
We also have far more local politics taking place in our community. We have a tribal election on Sunday, February 10 for six tribal council members. We have several tribal members that have stepped up to serve their community that include Carlton Hendricks, Denise Johnson Hathaway, Winnie Johnson Graham, Yvonne Avant, Aaron Tobey, Brian Weeden, Joanne Frye, Rita Pocknett Gonsalves, and Marie Stone. Offering to sit on council is a selfless commitment to serve your community and each of them should be commended for making themselves available in this way.
There’s also going to be a Candidates Forum on February 5 from 6-8 PM at our Community and Government Center with a candidate meet and greet from 5-6 PM in the lobby. I strongly encourage all tribal members to attend this important event and learn as much as possible about each candidate. It’s our responsibility as citizens to make informed decisions that will guide the direction of our Tribe.
I’d also like to take a moment and thank three of our council members that will not seeking reelection. Coucilwoman Winona Pocknett supported our tribal operations at every turn, Councilman Robert Dias committed himself to our youth and Councilwoman Cheryl Frye-Cromwell worked tirelessly to improve our tribal health. It has been an honor to serve with them and I know that they will continue to serve us well in new capacities.
We have many challenges and opportunities in the near future for our community. I have and continue to commit myself to seeing that we overcome these challenges and nurture the opportunities presented to strengthen our Tribal Nation for many generations to come.
Chairman Cedric Cromwell
Qaqeemasq (Running Bear)