Important Update from Chairman Cromwell regarding the Federal District Court ruling

Dear Tribal Family,

As you have probably heard, we learned today, July 28, 2016, that U.S. District Court Judge William Young overseeing the litigation challenging the U.S. Department of Interior’s decision to hold our land in trust ruled in favor of the plaintiffs.

This lawsuit was led by attorneys hired by a rival casino developer from Chicago, Neil Bluhm. The plaintiffs are also associated with CERA, one of the foremost anti-Tribe groups in the country.

But, let me assure you that our legal team and Tribal Council is working overtime to address our next steps. We expect an appeal to be filed, as both parties agreed to before the court proceedings in federal district court in Boston where this case was heard.

Obviously, we are disappointed in the ruling, as it represents an attack on Indian sovereignty and an attempt to undermine our right to self-determination and self-reliance.

While our legal team and Tribal Council develops our strategy moving forward, let me tell you what this ruling does not mean. This ruling does not mean that we have lost our land. This ruling does not mean we have been ordered to stop moving forward with our First Light Resort & Casino.

I don’t need to tell you that our people have been challenged many times over the centuries. But I am comforted by the fact that we are still here, living on the land of our ancestors. At this time, we need to stand united as a Tribe. If we can do that, with the blessings of our Creator and our ancestors, I have no doubt we will prevail!


Congratulations to the Class of 2016 ~ Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Graduates are on the Rise!!

Dear Tribal Family,

Pure elation….that’s the only way to describe the pride I feel as I consider the endless possibilities of our Tribal citizens who have recently graduated this spring!

An essential goal as leaders of this Tribal Nation is to provide educational services and support in order to assist our Tribal Education Scholars in reaching and achieving their goals; from kindergarten through 12th grade, as undergraduate students and graduate candidates right here at home. What is more impressive is we have Tribal students with concentrations in the areas of healthcare, law, Human Resources, Medicine, Information Technology, Environmental Protection, Business, Theater & Art, Public Policy  degree seeking programs.

The phrase “Knowledge is Power” is not lost on our Tribal Citizens, this is clearly evident! We see this important education lift in a nation as a true achievement to one’s self-betterment and “Self-Determination,” if you will. The successes of our Tribal graduates have achieved are more than a high school diploma or a degree from an institute of higher-learning…they are advancing our Tribe by virtue of advancing at each and every stage of achievement in their academic career.

What may not be in the forefront of each graduate’s mind is they are now equipped with abilities, capabilities, motivation and upward mobility to compete in the 21st century “global economy.”

With all of these educational degree’s, they are sealing accomplishments, setting the bar higher, all while developing their Leadership Skills.

Our Tribal Nation and the World is a better place, because we have bright, excited and well educated people entering the local, regional, national and global workplace from the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Nation. Our Tribal graduates continue to Inspire as they thrive, achieve and succeed.

We as a Strong, Proud Tribal Nation shall continue to RISE!

Congratulations to all of our 2016 Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Graduates…You are Heart and Soul of our Nation!


Mashpee Wampanoag Gaming Authority announces “Emerging Leaders Program”


The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is launching a new program to advance First Light Resort & Casino’s mission to empower new leaders to be passionate about the gaming and hospitality industry. The Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) will run every six months and seeks to equip qualified candidates with the tools and opportunities necessary to rise to and excel in senior gaming and hospitality management roles on a fast-track basis.

The ELP program is only open to citizens of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and the application deadline is Monday, June 20. Applications must be completed online at under the “Jobs” Tab. Please make sure to click on the “Read More” link to access the online application.

The six-month program will provide successful candidates with stipends and will be eligible for paid supervised placement. The first ELP cohort will include eight successful candidates in each of the following department areas: Gaming Operations, Finance, Legal, Information Technology (IT), Human Resources (HR), Marketing and Food and Beverage.

In addition to providing program participants with valuable work experience, they will also be challenged to find their personal leadership style, gain an understanding of how to motivate and work with others and to solve complex problems that arise during early stage gaming and hospitality projects.

Expectations on the participants for the ELP program are high. Candidates for the program are expected to commit to at least 40 hours per week and to take initiative whenever possible. They will be asked to do learning milestone reporting and will be expected to exceed expectations.

To be eligible for the program, you must have completed a minimum of a four-year college degree prior to the program completion. Prior experience in gaming and/or hospitality industries is preferred. And you must have the ability to work a minimum of 40 hours per week and participate in departmental rotations.

Don’t worry if this program is not a good fit for you. There will be other future programs (not ELP) available for Tribal citizens with varied educational and work experience.


Cedric Cromwell Qaqeemashq (Running Bear)

Continuing to Build Our Nation!

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)

“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!!


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!



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!



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!



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. 


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.


Cedric Cromwell

Qaqeemashq (Running Bear)