Wuneekeesuq Nutuwam (Hello My Tribal Community);

Happy Spring! As we enter this season of renewal and rebirth, our Tribe is redoubling our efforts to achieve our goals in 2011.

At the March General Body Meeting, Tribal Council announced the expansion of our external team, including the addition of former US Congressman Bill Delahunt.

We are extremely excited to have Bill on board. As you know, Bill represented the South Shore, Cape and Islands in Congress for fourteen years. During that time, he was a consistent champion of our cause, pressuring the federal government to move on our recognition and to treat our Tribe with the respect to which we are entitled as a sovereign tribal nation. Bill’s new role will be a continuation of his advocacy on our behalf, joining the rest of our external team, along with Tribal officers, in fighting for our rights on the state and federal level. Working together, we will make great progress on our efforts to provide housing, healthcare, education, and economic assistance to our people.

I often have the opportunity to update you on the Tribal officers’ and lobbying team’s efforts to make sure our voices are heard, and tell you about our frequent meetings in Washington and Boston. But recently, I have heard from a number of Tribal members who want to use their voices as well. I think that this is a fantastic idea, and I pledge to facilitate and encourage every individual’s right to make his or her voice heard.

At the March General Body Meeting, we presented some guidelines and ideas for how Tribal members can go about being effective advocates for our Tribe. First and foremost, every eligible Tribal member needs to be registered to vote. We have registration forms at Tribal Council headquarters, or you may go to your town or city clerk. Please encourage all of your family members and friends to make sure they are registered, then exercise their right to vote!

Second, you should feel free to contact the people who represent you on the state and federal levels. Every communication is an opportunity to educate people about our history, our rights, and our goals. If you live in Massachusetts, you can find out who represents you by going to wheredoivotema.com or calling your town clerk. We have postcards that you can use to write to your legislators available at Tribal Council headquarters, or you can always write your own letters or emails. As you tell your story, please remember to be positive, courteous, focused and accurate. You have a proud, strong voice, and you should use it!

Let’s take the great enthusiasm that so many have shown recently and transfer it to these efforts. I am so impressed by the level of involvement in tribal activities. The 15th Annual Wampanoag Ball was amazing, with hundreds of Tribal members, family, friends and neighbors gathering and sharing good medicine.  Dozens of our youth have taken advantage of the opportunity to train at Falmouth Academy, and wowed the crowd at our arch General meeting with their demonstration of the skills they are learning. And our young basketball players and cheerleaders, along with their families and supporters, represented us proudly once again at the Spirit Lake Basketball Tournament. I thank everyone who has taken the time to participate, and I look forward to seeing you all again soon and keeping our positive momentum going.

Kataputumuw;

Qaqeemasq (Running Bear)