Dear Tribal Family,
The evolution and growth of our tribal government continues. Over the past few weeks we have brought on many new important employees as well as several employees taking on new roles. But, even as we continue to expand governmental services, we are also seeking out ways to enhance non-government economic opportunities for Tribal citizens and business owners. And I’m not talking about First Light Resort & Casino. I’m talking about the newly formed Community Development Corporation Tribal Council recently ratified, appointing five members: Danielle Hill, Mark Harding, Stephanie Sfiridis; Angela Shwom and Steven Peters. The enacted legislation has set up a corporation to help forge a path for tribal business ventures beyond gaming – from retail and energy businesses to free trade zones, air travel and a variety of other economic development initiatives. Our tribal citizens are also stepping up in local, town politics. We had a group of dedicated Tribal citizens step up and run for a variety of positions during the May 17 Mashpee town elections. While they did not all win their respective races, they reminded us why we need to be involved at all levels and at the table when decisions are being made. They also reminded us of our duty to protect this land that we call home…our need to preserve this land for the next seven generations does not end at the borders of our sovereign land. Join me in thanking Trish Keli’inui, David Weeden, Brian Weeden, Marie Stone and Joan Avant Tavares for stepping up. And remember the opportunities for leadership do not end at the election booth, there are many committee openings in town and I encourage you to put your name in the ring. As we look ahead to one of my favorite times of year – powwow season – I get a little emotional. Even as I write this I can hear the sound of the drum, feel the pulse of our dancers and smell the fritters and fish cakes our traditional cooks will be stirring up at our 95th Annual Mashpee Wampanoag Powwow that’s going to be held July 1-3 at the Cape Cod Fair Grounds. Save the date and let’s Powwow. Right around the time of our powwow we’re also going to be hosting a group of very special guests. Natives from the Hawaiian Islands have been traveling by “Hokule’a”, Polynesian voyage canoe, across the Earth’s oceans to join and grow the global movement toward a more sustainable world…very similar to what we’ve been saying for generations. These guests are scheduled to arrive on our shores around July 1. The schedule is contingent on sea and weather conditions. We look forward to welcoming our guests and sharing more about this with you in the near future. Please join me in welcoming our new employees, thanking all of our citizens that ran for civic offices and congratulating all of our students graduating this month and the members of our newly formed Community Development Corporation – proof that when we talk about growth and opportunity in our Tribal Nation, it’s not just words. It’s an emerging reality.
Cedric Cromwell Qaqeemashq (Running Bear)