September 2018 Mittark

Vice Chair Testifies Before U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs


Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council Vice Chairwoman Jessie “Little Doe” Baird testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Wednesday, August 22 about the tribe’s effort to revive its native language, saying the linguistic work is critically tied to the tribe keeping its reservation.

“Having a reservation helped us open our own school,” Baird told the committee. “Here Wampanoag children attend a tribally run preschool and kindergarten, where they are taught in our language. It would be nearly impossible on an off-reservation public school to exercise this level of sovereignty.”

Baird’s testimony comes as the tribe awaits a decision from the U.S. Department of Interior on the status of its 321 acres of reservation land in Mashpee and Taunton.

Chairman's Column


Greetings Tribal Family,

A new season is knocking on the door. It’s hard to believe fall is just a few weeks away. We had a great summer – brought our powwow back to tribal grounds, secured the resources for our housing development, and moved forward with important legislation to forever protect our land – and I’m confident fall will be several more months of positive momentum for the Wampanoag Nation.

We’ve been working tirelessly with local, state and federal legislators to keep the issues important to our people top of mind. We will not rest until we have secured our tribe, our culture and land for the next seven generations.


Mashpee Tribal Leaders Hopeful Reservation will be Affirmed by Interior Department

Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal leaders are hopeful a formal decision by the U.S. Department of Interior on the review of the tribe’s Land-in-Trust status will be announced by September 21, 2018.

After a decades-long quest to establish a reservation, in September 2015, the Interior Department took 321 acres of tribal land in Mashpee and Taunton to be held in trust by the federal government as an initial reservation for the historic tribe. A subsequent lawsuit challenging the Department's legal reasoning in establishing the reservation prompted a federal district court judge to remand the case back to the Interior Department to determine if the Tribe qualified to have land held in trust under a different legal category.

Tribal attorneys have been notified by Interior Department officials that the review to determine whether the Tribe submitted sufficient evidence to establish proof of being under federal jurisdiction prior to the 1934 as defined by the Indian Regulatory Act is near completion. Interior Department officials indicated they would inform the Tribe of the conclusion of that review by September 21.


Explore Additional News in this month's Nashauonk Mittark


List of Committee and Board Seat Openings