Vernon Lopez "Silent Drum"
The soft spoken unassuming leader brought a quiet resolve to the tribal agenda. Like many Mashpeeians, "Bunny" was a nickname given to him by an aunt and most never knew his given name. The thoughtful Chief focused on issues that influenced the future of the Tribe. He was part of the leadership that guided us through the final phase of the very emotional recognition process and the membership is grateful for his steady hand. He says education and healthcare are central to the destiny of the Mashpee Wampanoag. He continues to press for attention to those survival issues.
February 7, 2009
To My Mashpee Wampanoag Family:
I think there are many tribal members who do not understand there are two factions of government within the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe.
There is the political component and a traditional component.
As the Chief of the Tribe, along with the medicine Man we have the right to vote both in political and traditional situations at our own free will for as long as we are currently in these roles.
I did not ever say I was going to resign my position as Chief of the tribe. What I did say was that I would step aside and give the position of Chief to someone more in line with the times, but that I would continue to be here to guide the tribe and that my doors are always open should any tribal member need me.
When it comes time to choose a new chief there is a process that takes place with the entire tribe. This process takes place within the traditional government not the political government. This has not taken place to date.
I remain the Chief of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe who is dedicated to my people and when the time comes to choose a new chief in the proper traditional way, I will then give a letter in writing that I officially resign and the whole tribe will know. May the Great Spirit continue to guide and heal us through these very tough times!
Chief Vernon 'Silent Drum' Lopez