I wanted to bring awareness of a recent correspondence Tribal Council received from the Town of Mashpee Board of Selectmen regarding legislative bills sponsored in both the U.S. Congress and U.S. Senate essentially emphasizing what is already in place; "Reaffirming our Reservation." As it appears, the Town is concerned that specific language related to the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) was not built into the language of the Mashpee Wampanoag Reservation Act legislation.
In 2008 we cooperatively entered into an IGA to allay fears that the Tribe would bring a land claim against the Town and local landowners. 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.
The legislation introduced in Congress to protect and re-affirm our reservation land is consistent with the IGA, and if ultimately enacted will in no way modify or lessen the commitments we have made to the Town in the IGA. Our unwavering position is that by protecting our reservation and the status quo, the legislation also serves to protect the IGA.
There have been many productive outcomes of our relationship with the town. We have offered to help pay for road repairs due to storm damage, helped town officials expand shellfish propagation, improve water quality and protect the Mashpee shoreline. We provide mutual aid between our tribal police and town police; have secured funding to develop housing for elders, and we have made our Tribal Government & Community Center available during storms for shelter to all Mashpee residents, for professional development training for town teachers as well as numerous other non-tribal public events.
I want to assure our Tribal Citizens that we will reach out to the Town to address its concerns in a respectful and meaningful manner, and will provide updates to the Tribal membership.