Best of luck to our Mashpee Wampanoag Athletes!

Hello,

I am sending good medicine to all of our Mashpee Wampanoag Young Football Warriors for success tonight and representing our Tribal Nation!

Go Mashpee High School Football team. Congratulations to your undefeated season and all of the focus, work and discipline you have done to get to this high level of excellence. Good luck and best wishes at your playoff game tonight!

Also, best wishes and good luck to Cameron Frye at Bishop Feehan High School at your football playoff game tonight.

We have a lot of proud young leaders leading the way in High School Football in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Gooooooo Mashpee!

Thanksgiving a reminder of the power of unity

The following op-ed by Mashpee Wampanoag Chairman Cedric Cromwell appears in the November 24, 2011 edition of the Cape Cod Times.

Thanksgiving a reminder of power of unity

By CEDRIC CROMWELL

November 24, 2011

It’s fair to say that when the Wampanoag and Plymouth colonists gathered for the settlers’ first harvest feast in the fall of 1621 they had no idea a Hallmark holiday was to be inspired. But the only primary reference to the event, an entry in the writings of Edward Winslow hardly longer than a Facebook post, was not lost on President Abraham Lincoln, who in 1863 proclaimed an annual day of thanks in the likeness of grateful Pilgrims and gullible Indians. We can thank Norman Rockwell for staging a gleeful, wide-eyed family around a feast of fixings, pies and an oversized and perfectly roasted bird on a fine linen tablecloth.

As a result, across the nation people will be gathering with their families today to give thanks for their blessings. Blessings occur every day as the Creator casts his light upon us, giving us another opportunity to bask in its glory, but symbolically it has become the custom for America to bank its cumulative gratitude for this day in large part due to a curious act of humanity by the Wampanoag to a shipload of strangers who came to occupy their territory.

It is that significance that gives us pause as Wampanoag to remember the sacrifices of our ancestors and acknowledge the ongoing struggles of native people today. Since the arrival of the Mayflower nearly 400 years ago, our people have been challenged to simply endure in a climate of unapologetic cultural genocide, from King Philip’s War, to the Trail of Tears, to Wounded Knee (1890 and 1973), and the injustice of the Carcieri decision that continues to hold the recovery of our ancestral homelands at arm’s length.

But from the start they have underestimated the strength and spirit of the Wampanoag and other indigenous people across Turtle Island.

For that we do have gratitude and say kutaputash, primarily to the ancestors who persevered so we could live to fight another day, and then to our elders for their wisdom and guidance, and to the next generation poised to inherit the mantle of the Wampanoag that is both daunting and divine.

It is a mantle heavy with loss and sorrow, but buoyant with the pride and determination bred in us for nearly 13,000 years. It is up to us to preserve that mantle with the same traditional integrity and goodwill that once betrayed us when we could not find the strength in unity to uphold it. It is up to us to write the next chapter of our history.

At this crossroad we are a witness to the power of our sovereignty and what the future can hold if we can bind ourselves together in unity to protect our birthright even while there are still those who have not given up on our genocide. It is time for us to remember that we are all a part of the fabric that is that mantle. We are the pride, the strength and the unity that makes it strong.

In the coming year, this fabric will be beset with challenges by those looking for the fray. There can be no fray. We can disagree and challenge each other with the same veracity that we love and laugh with each other so long as we keep it inside our circle where we can tend our own wounds and celebrate our victories.

We need to band together like the herring rushing from the sea, swimming against the current on the Mashpee River to deliver their precious new life to fertile grounds in Wakeby Pond. To succeed they don’t go alone, or in small groups, but in a mass so great as to blacken the river and proceed impervious to threats.

As we begin our journey on the river toward true economic sovereignty and self-reliance — to preserve this proud mantle for the next generation — the greatest power and the greatest threat we face is among ourselves. Swim together in the cloak of unity.

A reflection of thanks for the Mashpee Wampanoag Nation

Wuneekeesuq Nutawâm kah Neetopak kah Masipee Wompanok;

It was some 420 plus years ago the Pilgrims came to our land. With their arrival we helped them through their first harsh winters, we gave them pride, dignity and respect. Our ancestors were very thoughtful and giving people. We believe that when we give, care, nurture and assist for the betterment of people, this is good medicine and it comes back full circle with good medicine back to those who believe and acted out of respect and harmony. The romantic story of Thanksgiving by Normal Rockwell was not accurate and truly didn’t depict the reality of the day, the food, the experience and the aftermath.

Our ancestors had commerce, trade, leadership & government, very thoughtful and artful thinking, developers of our one nation for sustenance and a substantive way of life. Our ancestors were very rich in the sense of having access, usage, sharing and management of all natural resources. Very amazing at its time and incredible to know in today’s words, like the word economy….we had a high performing economy…we had it all and no Wampanoag was left behind. We had a vibrant, rich, intelligent nation of first people of this land with a culture and history of our people that goes back at least 12,000 years!

Our ancestors paved the way with medicine that is alive and well today. This can never be forgotten! We are amazing, resilient, strong, intelligent and self determined people who have always stood up to be accounted for and as a Tribal Nation, who made the Tribe a better place and nation of communion and defying all odds against us! We are strong! United we stand…United we stand!

I give thanks to the almighty Creator for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe to select me as their tribal chairman in the biggest election of our tribal history to serve, protect, honor, respect, love and advance our Tribal Nation for the betterment of all Mashpee Wampanoag people. I give thanks to my mother Constance “Lone Eaglist” Tobey-Cromwell for having me, loving me and bringing me into this Tribe as a Mashpee Wampanoag leader and modern warrior for our sovereign rights and self determination and the American Indian Movement (AIM).

I give thanks and love to all of you and appreciate you!

Kutâputunumuw Natawam,

Qaqeemasq aka Cedric Cromwell – Chairman & President

Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe

November 2011

Wuneekeesuq Nutawâm (Greetings to my Tribal Community),

It has certainly been a busy fall season! I have been honored to represent our Tribe in so many ways over the past month. From events here at home, to Washington, DC, Connecticut, and Boston, the story of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is being told loud and clear!

I was deeply moved by the opening of our New Bedford Satellite Office. This space will provide services and a community connection to the many Tribal members for whom it is easier to travel to New Bedford than all the way to Mashpee. Hundreds of Tribal members, representing all families, came to share and celebrate the opening ceremony. I was so moved by the Chief and Medicine Man as they spoke of the importance of this new office. Council members, Elders, elected officials, friends and neighbors honored us with their presence. I thank everyone who came out and made the grand opening such a success, and I thank our New Bedford-area family, especially the Helme family, for their hard work to make this a reality.

As you know, the Massachusetts legislature is working on a bill to expand gaming. As I write this today, the House and Senate have both passed the bill. They will now have a conference committee to work out any differences, and then send the bill to the Governor for his signature. I am hopeful that this may all be complete by the time you are reading this column. We have fought long and hard for our right to build and operate a destination resort casino, and today we stand one step closer. There are many more hurdles to overcome, but we are on our way and we will reach our goal!

Recently, I had the opportunity to travel to Washington, DC to show Indian Country Unity around a Carcieri fix. Tribal leaders from around the country spoke of the need for a clean fix and the impact it will have on our Tribes. In addition, we spoke to decision makers about the importance of holding aid to Indian Country harmless as the Super Committee discusses reductions in federal spending. We all know that funding to Indian Country is lower than it needs to be already. Further cuts would be reckless on the part of Washington and devastating to the welfare of Indian tribes.

Later in October, I headed to the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA)’s Mid-Year Conference to serve on a panel discussing the Carcieri decision and its effects. I was able to give voice to the real, on-the-ground effects of the Carcieri decision on Indian Tribes both here in the Northeast and across the country. I am confident that our Tribe will receive a positive determination on our land in trust application. However, we are acutely aware that some of our opponents have every intention of using the confusion created by the Carcieri decision to file lawsuits and try to delay or prevent us from exercising our sovereign right to conduct gaming as an economic development tool for our people. This confusion and the resulting frivolous lawsuits have the potential to delay or prevent the creation of thousands of jobs and the injection of millions of dollars not only into our Tribe but also into the local economy. I encouraged other tribes, even if they think Carcieri doesn’t affect them now, to stand tall and together on this issue so the ruling is not used to come after them too.

This is an exciting time for our Tribe. We will keep working hard to make our objectives a reality. Please check out the Tribal website and Facebook page for updates on these and many other issues.

I hope to see everyone at the November 13th General Meeting and at the Second Annual Wampanoag Thanksgiving ceremony at the Old Indian Meetinghouse on November 19th.

Kutâputunumuw;

Cedric Cromwell
Qaqeemasq (Running Bear)