Paula Peters: Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is best steward of land

Young members of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe of Massachusetts helped harvest quahogs during the tribe's 6th annual Quahog Day in July 2015. Photo from Facebook

Land controversies involving the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe are once again surfacing in the local community. Tribal member Paula Peters delivered a statement at a town meeting in Mashpee, Massachusetts, last week in defense of the tribe's interests:
I ask you to consider that I and my tribe are the best stewards of this land.

Consider that the 300-some acres we were able to preserve after decades of fighting for our federal acknowledgement is only a fraction of what we would have been entitled to had Judge Walter Skinner ruled in 1978, as did the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 2007, that we are indeed a historic tribe still living in our ancestral homeland.

Consider that we have a vested interest in the conservation of land in Mashpee where tribal members still hunt and fish to sustain their families and that we have a newly established Native Land Conservancy committed to that cause.

Consider that we agree that appropriately sited affordable housing is as critical to maintaining our community as is a wastewater treatment facility that prioritizes the elimination of septic waste going into our estuaries and contaminating shellfish beds.

Consider that the tribe needs land for a school to provide a socially and culturally appropriate education for our children, increasing the likelihood that they will thrive.

Consider that we are all fortunate, whether tribe members or not, to live in Mashpee. That my neighbors and I are not so far apart on what we would like to see happen to our surplus land in Mashpee.

This conversation did not start here and it will not likely end here.

Get the Story:
Paula Peters: Tribe Is Best Steward Of Mashpee's Land - Guest Commentary (The Mashpee Enterprise 5/6)

Also Today:
Mashpee Land Petition Articles Revive Memories Of Bitter Land Lawsuit (The Mashpee Enterprise 5/7)
Tribal Citizens Announce Write-In Mashpee Candidacies (The Mashpee Enterprise 5/5)
Old tension simmers in Mashpee (The Cape Cod Times 5/4)
Mashpee Voters Take No Action On 500-Acres Proposal (The Mashpee Enterprise 5/3)
Mashpee tribe's articles lose steam at town meeting (The Cape Cod Times 5/2)

Related Stories:
BIA formally declares reservation for Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe (01/07)
Brian Patterson: Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe reclaims homeland (09/28)
BIA treads new Carcieri ground in ruling for Massachusetts tribe (09/23)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe celebrates land-into-trust decision (09/18)