Wunee keesuq Tribal family,
It’s hard to believe that we’re ushering in a new year and we’re still petitioning the U.S. Government to recognize our full rights as a tribal nation. Last month the General Society of Mayflower Descendants recognized the hypocrisy of the situation and decided to formally put its support behind our Tribe. We’re also up to 23 co-sponsors of our bi-partisan Mashpee Wampanoag Reservation Reaffirmation Act, a bill that will forever protect our homeland, traditions and culture. We’re not alone in our fight and we will succeed.
This support, while welcoming, doesn’t ease the burden this constant assault on our sovereignty has placed on our operations. The financial impact of this long-drawn-out fight has placed on our finances is real and has required us to streamline our staffing and expense lines. These are not decisions that we make lightly at the Tribal Council Table. The vast majority of our staff are tribal members and any reductions in hours or positions have very real impacts on our community. We understand this all too well and are committed to minimizing these impacts to our family members and to the tribal members that they serve.
We’ve also been working diligently over the past year to stabilize many of our core departments with grant funding and I’m proud to say we’ve accomplished this for many of our departments. This is the result of many hours of hard work by our Tribal Administrator, department heads and Tribal Council working cooperatively to effectively manage grant submissions and grant management in 2018.
I’m happy to say that our Education Department is in a good position and is even looking at available funding through the Cape Cod Child Development Fund and additional grants that will allow for the construction of a day care facility. We’ve also stabilized our Food Pantry and expanded grant funding for LIHEAP – two programs that are vital in servicing nutritional and household heating needs. The Language Department is moving forward with placement of Yurts for additional class rooms for the immersion school and the Emergency Management Department has expanded their roll with grant funding for the Ameri Corps. Program.
2018 was a challenging year for our people. It tested our resolve and it tested our connections as a unified tribal nation. They want to take our land and we will not allow that to happen. We will stand united against injustice and will prevail. We have a great piece of legislation that I’m confident will pass in the 116th Congress in 2019. We will continue to rise…Mashpee Lives.
Chairman Cedric Cromwell
Qaqeemasq (Running Bear)