Opinion by Aunt Joan Avant Tavares: Don’t You Dare! Mashpee Wampanoag’s are Sovereign


Talk about making an elder ill to the core, the Town of Mashpee Selectman did a good job making many of us sick with their greedy tactics on the Mashpee Wampanoag Indigenous people who inherently have a right to this land. Yet you want us to just give it all to you to put more fences up , build larger complexes so there will no spaces for our relatives today or future generations.  Our leaders have worked with you faithfully with decisions made and agreed upon by both governments. Now you want to open old wounds regarding the rights of our people. Since colonization we have endured repeated law violations regarding land, fishing rights, ancient paths, rivers, lakes and with indigenous spirituality unaccepted. Your elected Town Officials. It’s very apparent you’re hearts have never been in the right place to accept who we are, our values , beliefs, and concerns about the preservation of Mashpee.  You don’t care about preserving Mother Earth and her resources that gives us all energy for life.

In the 1970’s we were faced with if we were a tribe conveying along negative legal arguments in the courts. It appears today again as elected officials you want to open a similar can of worms as the saying goes. Making non-natives, Cape Coder’s and others to believe we are the culprits negating our tribal government responsibilities and not working with the Town of Mashpee for cohesive relationships. My best guess is you believe the same because all of a sudden you want to add new language to the proposed Federal Legislation you agreed upon in 208.  Now you want it to include (1) Waive and release any and all claims, right, interests and/ or entitlements relating to real property located within the geographical boundaries of the f the Town of Mashpee and owned by the Town of Mashpee, its agencies, commissions and authorities. (2) Not apply for, nor consent to, trust status for, or otherwise exercise control over or limit access to, any real property owned by the Town of Mashpee, with exception of the parcels described in Exhibits A and B of the IGA; and (3) Not to construct or operate a casino conducting  either Class 11 or Class 111 gaming authorized under IGRA within the Town. This is clearly criminal and discrimination. “  Mashpee Indians-Tribe on Trial” again. Don’t you Dare! Mashpee Wampanoag’s are now Federally Recognized and a Sovereign Nation.

 Our leaders have worked very hard with 208 legislation. Chairman Cedric Cromwell says In 208 we cooperatively entered into an IGA (Inter-Governmental Agreement) to allay fears that the tribe would bring a land claim against the Town and local land owners. In the decade that has passed since then, we have continued to honor every aspect of the commitments we made in that IGA-and nothing has changed since the introduction of legislation that would protect our reservation…there has been many productive outcomes of our relationship with the town. We have offered to help pay for road repairs due to storm, helped town officials expand shellfish propagation, improve water quality and protect the Mashpee shoreline. We provide mutual aide between our tribal police and town police; have secured funding to develop housing for elders and have made our tribal Government and Community Center available  during storms for shelter to all Mashpee residents…as well as numerous other non-tribal public events”.

We want to continue to strengthen our Wampanoag indigenous identity here in Mashpee the Land of the Wampanoags and keep it that way. Remember, too much of this land was stolen and seized from our ancestors. Now it’s time for you to give back, not set up more laws and policies against us. Do your research and read the documents.