Opinion: Shunning not traditional at Mashpee

"Before their tribe was recognized by the federal government, members of the Mashpee Wampanoag possessed the same rights as any other American citizen. These included free speech, freedom of assembly and presenting grievances against those who govern them without fear of reprisal.

Now, with their sovereignty in hand, members of the tribe find themselves without some of the freedoms they enjoyed when they were governed by the non-Indian government that occupies what was their land for 10,000 years. Birth certificates proved their American citizenship, but their names are mysteriously and secretly being scrubbed from tribal rolls. The right of grievance is smothered by intimidation, hastily made rules and shady readings of petitions.

Worst of all is the introduction of a non-Indian practice, shunning. Tribes in the western United States have experienced this bizarre practice in similar circumstances: when members spoke against plans put forth by outsiders for making money using tribal sovereignty in enterprises such as gambling, members who objected were shunned ... voted out of the tribe.

The practice of shunning is, according to those in the Mashpee, a foreign thing. Now there are drafts of a new rule making it possible to banish members. At a time when sovereignty should unify and strengthen the tribe, the leadership of the tribal council, lapdogs to outside"investors" whose only goal is profit at the expense of the tribe, are busy finding ways to push those who question them out of the tribe. It is cruelty beyond measure that a few greedy people in the tribe are denying their kin what the federal government has finally acknowledged."

Get the Story:
Peter Kenney: The most dangerous enemies are thos within the walls (Cape Cod Today Blog 9/27)

Mashpee Casino Agreement:
Intergovernmental Agreement (July 2007)

Relevant Documents:
DOI Final Determination | Summary of Acknowledgment Cases | R. Lee Fleming Declaration

Only on Indianz.Com:
Federal Recognition Database V2.0 (May 2005)

Relevant Links:
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe - http://mashpeewampanoagtribe.com

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