Wunee keesuq Tribal family,
It’s hard to believe that the fall season is right around the corner…our summers always seem to move past us far too quickly. We tend to squeeze in a lot of family, powwows and good food in the summer. We’ve also been moving diligently through our work in operations and at the Council table over the past few months and I’m happy to report on the solid progress we’ve made.
Let’s start with our housing project. Affordable housing is a major problem for our tribe and the region surrounding our homeland. Right know only 5% of Mashpee is affordable, but we’re changing that. We’ve taken control of our ability to provide quality housing at an affordable price with our First Light Wampanoag Homes development. Tribal members could start moving into their new homes as soon as Mid-October.
We also have a beautiful new classroom for the incoming Mukayuhsak Weekuw (Children's House) class. We now have space for 30 students from preschool to grade 2. WLRP is also looking to add new staff and additional grade levels to offer language immersion from preschool through grade 4 by 2021. We have a bright future thanks to programs like this…our culture and traditions will continue.
These projects, along with the numerous other great projects that are being tackled at our Community and Government Center are being funded through grants. That’s not something that’s lost on me or the rest of our leadership team. We understand the value of grant funding for a tribal nation and have worked hard to streamline our process and increase funding. To do this we’ve entered into the “477 Program.” Over the past few months we’ve coordinated with the Department of Interior and the Bureau of Indian Affairs to provide much needed training on the 477 Program to our grant managers. I’m confident that we’ll continue to improve our grant processes over the coming years thanks to this program.
I’ve also been working diligently on our legislative issues and legal filings in regard to our land in trust. As we approach the end of the summer our legislative efforts will be ramping up as congress returns from summer break. Also, we were successful in moving our land bill through Congress in May and we also had positive movement in our suit against the feds in June. These are all areas that I’ve been pushing forward with.
Our land is sacred. Our unity is sacred. Mashpee above everything!
Chairman Cedric Cromwell
Qaqeemasq (Running Bear)