I was so pleased to read in the February 26 edition of The Mashpee Enterprise that the US Department of the Interior has withdrawn its appeal to revoke the federal reservation of lands in Mashpee and in Taunton held in trust in the name of the Wampanoag Tribe.
Tribal vice chairman Jessie (Little Doe) Baird was quoted as saying that (the tribe) looked “forward to being able to close the book on this painful chapter in our history” and that the withdrawal of the appeal will “allow us to continue fulfilling our commitment to being good stewards and protecting our land and the future of our young ones and providing for our citizens.”
I agree with the vice chair’s statement, but what bothers me is how much money has been spent over the years both by the tribe, and to a lesser extent by Mashpee officials, defending and arguing for the sovereignty of the Wampanoag tribe which basically had been challenged on a technicality. I think all that money would have been better spent on the tribe’s citizens and young, as Ms. Baird suggests.
I hope and pray that this, indeed, does bring an end to this unfortunate matter. The tribal administration should be commended for its determination and perseverance working for literally decades to bring this matter to a final conclusion. But, in my view, it certainly has been an injustice to the Wampanoag people.
Charles E. Gasior