Chairman’s Message – November 2017

Greetings Tribal Family,

And as a family we’ve gone through a lot over these past few weeks. We’ve made some pretty big adjustments to our operational budget and expense lines at our Community and Government Center – which needed to be done regardless of our bottom line. We’ve focused on efficiency and streamlining our processes without cutting services. These were all business decisions that we needed to make and will put us in a better position in the future. With that being said, I want to take a moment to extend my highest regard to the staff that keeps our Community and Government Center running so well. Each one of these individuals have shouldered a great deal of undue pressure based on circumstances beyond anyone’s control. Their professionalism and focus have not gone unrecognized by me, our Tribal Council or our Tribal Administrator.

As we look ahead, we still have some difficult decisions that we need to make. Please know that these are not decisions that are made without consultation. That’s why we’ve held several all-staff meetings over the past few months to keep everyone informed of the issues, and potential changes that may be coming down the road.

We’ve taken a thoughtful and painstakingly meticulous route to reducing our expenses. We first met with each department head to review their budget line by line. We then took a look at our outside consultants to make cuts where appropriate. These initiatives resulted in a good amount of cost savings that we’ve been realizing for over a month. We then looked to our full time tribal council to voluntarily take cuts in their own salaries, which they did, and may take further reductions.

If we do reach the point where we have to undergo any position realignments, please know we will make resources available to ensure the transition is as seamless and handled with the utmost of care and respect. We truly care about the well-being of our family.

We’ve exhausted a tremendous amount of resources to navigate a bureaucratic process that is easily the federal government’s longest, most convoluted process ever developed. It’s taken us over 40 years to reach this point, and we still had submissions and document reviews taking place on a daily basis through early November.

Thankfully our final response to the Department of Interior was completed and submitted last month. While I can’t guarantee that the Department of Interior will accept the historic records in the same light that we have, I can tell you that it truly is an extremely powerful document that best reflects the Mashpee Wampanoag and our rightful place in history.

The irony is overwhelming. Our history is Our history. Yet, we have to continue to prove it over and over again all in an effort to maintain our ancestral land.

With every fiber in my being, I believe together we will get through this and we will ultimately come out stronger on the other side.

It is clear our Tribal members do not always agree on methods that we travel our path, however we ALL do agree that that path will be traveled. Our ancestors began the journey and we must continue to forge onward for the sake of our ancestors and the generations that are not yet born.

 

 

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