“We Won!!” ~ Brockton Casino Denied by Massachusetts Gaming Commission and Mashpee wins full exclusivity of Region “C” Gaming landscape

Dear Tribal Family,

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted 4-1 to deny a Brockton Commercial Casino.

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe has full exclusivity for Class 3 Gaming in Region C!!

We Won!!

Congratulations My People!!

God is Great All The Time!!

Regards,

Cedric Cromwell – Chairman & President

Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe

2016 Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Annual Balanced Budget for Tribal Operations – Passed!

Dear Tribal Family,

I am pleased to inform you that after months of painstaking work by Tribal Council and Department directors, the 5th annual budget under this administration was passed overwhelmingly by Tribal Citizens who attended the budget presentation at our monthly general membership meeting on April 10.

Of the 119 ballots cast, 88 voted in favor while 31 voted no.

As I noted in my budget letter that was sent out to Tribal households last month, this budget prioritizes funding for housing, healthcare, education, health & human services, Elder and youth services, as well as our food pantry. The model we use – a “wrap-around” services approach – is designed for Tribal Citizens who may have needs in more than one area to tap into all that our Tribal government offers in a much easier way.

This budget also includes resources needed for our own Tribal public safety officers, as we implement Tribal law and order. To do that in a fully accountable and responsible way necessitates we develop and manage our relationships with the Town of Mashpee, City of Taunton, and Commonwealth of Massachusetts. One example of that being the funding needed to execute our Inter-Governmental Agreement which details the infrastructure and traffic improvements needed in order for our First Light Resort & Casino to move forward, as required by federal environmental law.

As I reflect back on the past year, I am amazed at how much has been accomplished, culminating in re-establishing our Sovereign Land.

And now that we have accomplished that, we are fully focused on the forward advancement of our economic development plans, even as we provide programs and services for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Nation.

I want to thank our Tribal Community for supporting and passing the annual budget. I also want to thank the MWT Elections Committee for presiding over the efficient voting process as well as the Tribal Council for providing due diligence, ensuring the integrity of the process, and seeing to it that vital annual funding levels are honored to support our growth as a Sovereign Tribal Nation!

Kutâputunumuw!

FIRST LIGHT RESORT & CASINO MOVES FORWARD

Dear Tribal Family and Friends,

The purpose for my message is to inform our Tribal Community that the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Gaming Authority (MWTGA) has selected three leading firms to start the demolition and site work needed to construct First Light Resort & Casino on tribal lands in Taunton.

The Gaming Authority is also eyeing April 5thas a possible date to break ground on its destination resort facility and I will follow up with complete details as they develop.

The firms contracted by the MWTGA to begin pre-construction work are Dimeo Construction Company, The Penta Building Group, and Talako Construction, LLC.

As you are aware, we have a Compact with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, support from the city of Taunton, and our reservation land in Taunton. We are now ready to move quickly in the construction of a world-class destination resort, which will provide a much needed boost to the regional economy and help secure a more prosperous future for our Tribe – the People of the First Light.

The firms we have engaged are recognized leaders in the industry and an indication of the type of facility we intend to build. We look forward to updating the state Gaming Commission on our plans next week.

The three firms selected to oversee the joint venture construction management services, demolition and site work for First Light Resort & Casino are well-known in the gaming industry. Dimeo Construction oversaw the construction of the Twin River Casino in Rhode Island. The Penta Building Group has led numerous gaming projects in Las Vegas and elsewhere, while Talako Construction worked on several projects in the south east.

The Tribe has already developed a building code ordinance and the MWTGA has put a building code enforcement team in place to oversee inspections of the development.

As a reminder, we will present a First Light Resort & Casino update at the monthly Tribal membership meeting this Sunday March 13that 2 p.m.

On Tuesday, March 15, the Tribe will update the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on itsFirst Light Resort & Casino plans at a public meeting scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.

Both events will take place the the MWT C&G Center.

I realize there is a heavy flow of information that I have been passing along in recent weeks. This is in an effort to keep our Tribal citizens as informed as possible with the most accurate information possible.

Thank you for your attention and understanding as progress on our First Light Resort & Casino is becoming steadier with each passing day….which is a reflection of our positive momentum!

 

Kutâputunumuw!

Important Tribal Updates in March

Dear Tribal Family,

Please mark your calendars. We will be providing an update to the Tribal Citizens on our First Light Resort & Casino project in Taunton at the 2nd  Sunday General Membership meeting on Sunday, March 13th from 2-4 pm.

Also, on Tuesday, March 15th, we will be hosting the Massachusetts Gaming Commission at our Community & Government Center in the afternoon.

If you are able, please come and help us extend our hospitality as members of the state’s Gaming Commission visit our Reservation, the seat of our Tribal Government to learn more about the history of our Nation and how important Sovereignty is to our People – The People of the First Light. They will also  receive an update of our future plans for our First Light Resort & Casino.

Under the terms of the Tribal-State Compact signed by former Governor Deval Patrick and myself in 2013, our Tribe and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission will have a long-term relationship as we move forward with our development plans on our land in Taunton.

I will share further specifics on the MGC’s visit here to Mashpee as the date approaches. This will be an unprecedented occasion and I have no doubt our guests will be utterly impressed by our Land, our Home and our People!

 

Kutâputunumuw!

Cedric Cromwell, Chairman

Important Update For All Tribal Citizens…We Will Defend Our Land!

Dear Tribal Family,

A lawsuit financed by the Brockton casino group was filed today against the Department of Interior to challenge their decision on our land into trust. They are using an anti-Tribe group in East Taunton as plaintiffs.

The lawsuit challenges whether the Secretary of the Interior has authority under the Indian Reorganization Act to place land into trust for the Tribe, whether the Tribe has sufficient historical ties to our reservation, and whether there was adequate environmental review of our project in Taunton.

The Department of Justice will vigorously defend this suit.

And as always, the Tribe will defend its interests in the court of public opinion as well as the federal court in Boston. 

Kutâputunumuw!

Cedric Cromwell

Chairman, Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Nation

 

Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s “Reservation Proclamation” officially signed and recorded by Department of Interior

Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Nation:

We now have our Reservation Proclamation!

Dear Tribal Family,

The U.S. Department of Interior has officially designated our tribal lands in Mashpee and Taunton as a reservation.

It will be published in the Federal Register today.

Many have tried to doubt, deny and distract us, but we have prevailed. The reservation proclamation means our trust lands in Mashpee and Taunton can now be used to further our growth economically, politically, and culturally. This cements our right to self-determination now and for future generations.

And, despite the threats of an immediate lawsuit following our Land-In-Trust decision, no lawsuits have been filed to date. Perhaps the self-proclaimed “legal scholars” who were certain this day would never come have had the chance to analyze our Land-In-Trust decision and realize that not only is it on firm legal footing, but the U.S. Justice Department stands ready to defend it.

Either way, we can now move forward with our plans to uplift of our Tribal Nation and press on towards the construction of our destination resort casino in Taunton.

After decades of painstaking work by Tribal Councils past and present, I am overjoyed that the government of the United States has officially issued our reservation proclamation, as we are witnessing the re-birth of our nation.

To read the proclamation, click the link below.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2016-00310.pdf

Kutâputunumuw,

Cedric Cromwell

Qaqeemashq (Running Bear)

Forward to 2016..Paying Homage to Our Ancestors in 2015 and Centuries Before

(A message from Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Chairman Cedric Cromwell which will also appear in “Indian Country Today: Year in Review” compiled by ICT Staff writer Gale Toensing)

I can’t look forward to 2016 without looking back at 2015, and the centuries before. Last year at this time, Mashpee was still a “landless” tribe. We have left that painful truth behind. For centuries, we have lived in our homelands, walked among our ancestors, but without power to protect those homelands and with only limited power to protect our people. This year, our ancestors have helped us leave some of the pain behind. This year, we have achieved our first trust land base, founded in the record left for us by our ancestors, as they fought to occupy and protect that land base over hundreds of years of pressure. We have their records, the Interior Department has their records, and now the past has come forward to support the present, as it always has. We know an end to the centuries of technicalities designed to remove us from our lands. From this time forward, our children and their children will know that our homeland can be protected. And it will be used for the people.What comes next? We have centuries worth of damage to repair. And we are expecting to build on the foundation of our first reservation. Our people need economic development, so that we can establish and enhance basic services. Like much of Indian country, we need to provide employment and educational opportunities, we need to continue to improve the availability of health and human services to our people. On our reservation.

We are proud to be able to refer to our reservation, finally.   On that reservation, we  will build tribal housing, to make it affordable for our people to return to their homelands. We will continue the important work of our language and culture departments, because we recognize that living among our ancestors, in their language, on their lands, is the way that we will move forward into the future.

On a national level, we look forward to continue working with the governmental officials who have helped us to reach this stage in our journey. We will continue to benefit from the hard work of the team at the Interior Department. We thank Assistant Secretary Washburn for his dedication and courageous efforts to improve the tribal trust relationship across all branches of government. We are confident that these improvements  will  continue under Acting Assistant Secretary Larry Roberts and the rest of the team now in place.

In an election year, the thicket of issues in Washington becomes ever more tangled. We will continue to support efforts to “fix” the uncertainty introduced by the ¬Carcieri decision. We remain concerned by attacks on tribal sovereignty in Congress, and in the courts. These attacks continue, and they are troubling. But of one thing, we are certain – we are not going away. Like our relatives in tribes across the country – we will remain – forever.

“It’s Official – Tribal Lands Are Placed Into Trust!”

Dear Tribal Family,

It’s official! Our land in Mashpee and Taunton has now been acquired by the federal government and placed in trust. It is protected for our people now and for future generations!

As you know, on September 18, 2015, the U.S. Department of Interior announced its decision to approve our land-in-trust application, which included approximately 321 acres of land in Mashpee and Taunton.

This year’s Thanksgiving will have a much different meaning for our Tribe. It will be historic. We are on a different journey now. Instead of losing more land and access each year, we are changing course and headed in a different direction. We are coming full circle.

This new beginning for our Tribe also marks an important milestone in American history and Indian Country, reversing centuries of injustice and encroachment on Wampanoag lands that began in the years after the first Thanksgiving.

We rejoiced in September when the Department of Interior announced its approval of our land-in-trust application. Today, however, the Federal Government has delivered on its promise. We now have a land base from which we can sustain our cultural traditions, develop a thriving tribal economy, and serve the needs of our people as we see fit.

Join me as we pay homage to our Ancestors, Beloved Tribal Elders, Tribal and Spiritual Leaders, Tribal Citizens as well as Future Generations!

Congratulations!

 

Mashpee maps its future

Posted Aug. 11, 2015 at 2:01 AM

Mashpee has a lot of land on its hands.

The town has, over the years, taken possession of more than 500 acres because the owners failed to pay property taxes or chose to walk away from their land. The property in question is a mixture of valuable and less-valuable parcels.

Selectmen have periodically gone to voters asking permission to sell specific lots, but have had mixed results. That is exactly why the board created a committee to consider and categorize the land. Now that group has put forth a report that will undoubtedly be parsed and picked apart, but which will at least serve as a solid starting point for moving forward.

Over the years, the Board of Selectmen has tried to deal with the land on a parcel-by-parcel basis. The challenge with this is that the board must seek approval from town meeting every time it wants to change the use of, or sell, any parcel. This is a cumbersome and sometimes challenging process that can often fall apart at town meeting.

In addition to managing the properties, the town must also contend with the fact that as long as this land remains on the town books, it does not generate tax revenue, which could be considerable, given that the total assessed value of the lots comes in at more than $26 million. Then there is the prospect of generating a bit of immediate cash for the town by selling the land for development.

Fortunately, it appears as though Mashpee selectmen took the approach that a diversity of opinion was wiser than a rubber stamp committee. Reports indicate that there were a wide variety of viewpoints on the committee, with at least one member wanting to sell off all the land and another hoping the town would keep all the land for conservation. Instead of moving to either extreme, the group placed each parcel into one of six categories based on usage, including affordable housing, conservation, wastewater mitigation, park, sale, and reserve, meaning that the town would hold onto it for now.

If approved by voters, the group’s proposal would ensure that nearly half the land remains in reserve, either because there is no clear use for it right now or because there are continuing title issues. The committee also proposed that an additional 183 acres be set aside for conservation. In the end, only about five-and-a-half acres, with an assessed value of $1.175 million, were recommended for sale. The remaining acreage will be divided among the other uses, including just over 16 acres for affordable housing.

Mashpee has learned well from the ghosts of past property challenges. Town officials saw what had not worked and, instead of continuing to bang their collective heads against the same wall, came up with a public input approach that has reached a sensible consensus. That process continues; the committee held one public hearing in July, and has slated another for Aug. 25. This allows for substantial input from an even wider constituency, and may help when it comes time for town meeting to weigh in on the issue.

As with any discussion involving the disbursement of public property, there will likely be some spirited debate about individual parcels. Homeowners and conservationists may make arguments about this lot or that lot, but the committee has tackled a massive task with careful consideration and provided not only a starting point for the people of Mashpee, but a land management template that other towns across Cape Cod would do well to consider.

http://www.capecodtimes.com/article/20150811/OPINION/150819972/101019

IMPORTANT- Mashpee Town Meeting Tonight 7-15-15

Dear Tribal Members,

There is an important public forum tonight at Mashpee Town Hall from 6 to 9 p.m. and another one next month that you need to know about.

The town of Mashpee is looking to designate 500 acres of town-owned land – land that once belonged to our people – for various uses.

The town acquired these lands years ago through non-payment of taxes. We strongly encourage tribal members to attend tonight’s forum to learn more about the town’s plans and to voice to any concerns you may have.

These town sponsored public forums are being held ahead of the October Town Meeting to decide what to do with this land. The town is considering a Town Meeting article that specifically identifies 283 parcels that make up approximately 517 acres, valued at $27 million.

Selectmen Andrew Gottlieb and other town officials have been working to put a proposal together on how the land should be used. The land is mostly undeveloped now and Selectmen Gottlieb said the town’s plan at the moment is to designate most of the parcels for conservation. Other parcels they are thinking about using for other purposes such as affordable housing, wastewater treatment, recreation and parks, and possibly some for sale.

Similar plans in the past have failed because parcels were brought before Town Meeting voters on an individual basis instead of one “master list,” according to Mashpee Selectmen Gottlieb, who briefed the Tribal Council at a special meeting last night.

A map of the project is up on the town’s website for viewing with a color-coded key identifying the proposed uses. There you will find that the proposed plan includes: a 65-acre parcel on the eastern section of Falmouth Road that could be reserved for town playing fields, affordable housing, conservation and a sewer pump on Samson’s Mill Road; 53 acres that includes the town landfill and transfer station that could include a wastewater treatment plant and effluent discharge area; 28 acres off of Red Brook Road with sections reserved for open space and for a waste treatment plant east of the fire station with a possible discharge area for wastewater as well.

Affordable housing is being considered for the western section of Mashpee along Falmouth Road and on Old Barnstable Road near the Quashnet Valley Country Club. Individual parcels for open space are proposed all over the town including plots around Santuit Pond, off Great Neck Road North, off Route 130, parcels between Mashpee-Wakeby Pond and Peters Pond, and near Winslow Farms.

There are other parcels that would be reserved for sewer pumps near Joint Base Cape Cod, Santuit Pond, Mashpee Neck, Great Neck Road South and other areas.

The forum tonight will be held at Town Hall from 6 to 9 p.m. A second forum will be held on August 25th.

The forums will include an explanation of the process used to determine the plan, an explanation of the project categories, and the process moving forward. Residents will also have an opportunity to review maps of the parcels.

Board of Selectmen Chairman John Cahalane has said the forums are an opportunity for residents to understand the reasons behind the project and to make sure there are no surprises or confusion at the October Town Meeting, as there have been in the past.

Even if it’s only to learn more about this, please be there tonight to show the Town that we, as Tribe members, have a deep and abiding interest in how land that once belonged to our people will be used in the future.

Kutâputunumuw,

Cedric Cromwell

Qaqeemashq (Running Bear)