Mashpee tribe’s reservation land ‘disestablished’ – News – – Hyannis, MA


MASHPEE — An unprecedented decision by the U.S. secretary of the Interior to rescind the Mashpee Wampanoag’s land-into-trust comes as a “hardcore blow” to the tribe, according to Tribal Council Chairman Cedric Cromwell.

Cromwell learned the news during a call Friday afternoon with the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

He thought the bureau was calling to see if there was anything the tribe needed during the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, he was told that Interior Secretary David Bernhardt has ordered that the tribe’s land be taken out of trust and the reservation be disestablished.

“It was absurd,” Cromwell said in a phone interview Saturday. “It’s like a punch in the nose from a bully.”

Cromwell said he tried to ask questions about what this new order means and when it will take effect, but he received no answers.

“It’s somewhat of a dictatorship,” he said.

“It feels like we’ve been dropped off into a new world we’ve never seen before, i.e., in this pandemic and the way my tribe is being treated,” Cromwell said. “With this happening now, this is a direct, hardcore blow to dissolving and disestablishing my tribe.”

Because of the pandemic, many tribal operations were put on hold, such as the construction of 42 affordable housing units in Mashpee and the operation of a school dedicated to reestablishing its tribal language.

Also in limbo are the tribe’s plans to build a $1 billion casino in Taunton, which was part of a yearslong litigation that led to the questioning of whether the tribe qualified for land-in-trust status”

“. . . .  Keating said the bill is bipartisan, with Republican leaders co-sponsoring it, and should have moved through quickly.

When the bill was put forth in the House in May, President Donald Trump tweeted his opposition.

Matt Schlapp, chairman of the Conservative Political Action Committee, is a lobbyist for the Rhode Island casinos, such as the Twin River Casino in Lincoln, Keating said. His wife, Mercedes Schlapp, is a senior White House communications aide.

“I think that’s what’s slowing it in the Senate,” Keating said.

He said there is no logic in the Interior Department’s decision. During a time of national health and economic emergency, the secretary of the Interior should be reaching out to help all Native American tribes, Keating said in a statement.

Keating said Bernhardt should be ashamed.”


Source: Mashpee tribe’s reservation land ‘disestablished’ – News – – Hyannis, MA

Opinion | The 184-Year-Old Promise to the Cherokee Congress Must Keep – By Chuck Hoskin Jr. – The New York Times


Mr. Hoskin Jr. is the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation.

CreditCreditSue Ogrocki/Associated Press

“The number seven is significant to the Cherokee people. We have seven clans in our origin story, seven sacred directions and centered in our government seal is the seven-pointed star. And when we make a decision affecting our people, its purpose is to advance our tribe seven generations from now.

The Cherokee Nation is strong today because we rest upon this solid foundation. It is a foundation laid by a people of grit whose great suffering has been eclipsed by greater determination. It is a foundation built by great leaders whose names are recorded in our history books and imprinted in our hearts, and by hundreds of thousands of Cherokees who struggled and forged ahead in anonymity.

In 1835, when the Treaty of New Echota moved us from our homelands in the Southeast to the Indian Territory, we were coerced into ceding vast amounts of land where we once prospered. But our leaders at the table negotiating with the federal government also had the foresight to insert into the treaty what they knew would be best for us roughly seven generations later.”

Opinion | Trump Wants Immigrants to ‘Go Back.’ Native Americans Don’t. – By Deb Haaland – The New York Times

By Deb Haaland

Ms. Haaland is a Democratic representative from New Mexico.

Bears Ears National Monument.CreditMark Holm for The New York Times

“Last week President Trump told four of my colleagues to “go back” to where they came from — even though all are American citizens, and only one is an immigrant. But Mr. Trump has somewhere to “go back” to as well: He is a second-generation American. For Native Americans like myself, his comments are perplexing, and wrongheaded.

If anyone can say “go back,” it’s Native Americans. My Pueblo ancestors, despite being targeted at every juncture — despite facing famine and drought — still inhabit this country today. But indigenous people aren’t asking anyone to go back to where they came from.

When I heard the chilling, hate-filled chants coming from the president’s rally the other night, I thought about my fight in a committee hearing, earlier that day, to protect my ancestral homeland of Chaco Canyon in New Mexico. The Bureau of Land Management plans to sell leases in the area for fossil fuel extraction.

In the late 1200s, my Pueblo ancestors migrated to the Rio Grande Valley from the areas of Chaco Canyon, Bears Ears, Mesa Verde, Grand Staircase Escalante and other places. I want to protect these sacred sites for future generations and against this administration’s policies that put profits over people. This administration has put a premium on leasing federal land to oil companies and neglects to consider the impacts that drilling has on sacred cultural sites.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT comments
I join the chorus of your new fans here, I love your oe-ed, and welcome your voice. I have a concern to share though. You sound as if you are for open borders, and unlimited immigration. I hope and expect that is not true, because I think it would be wrong for this country and our neighbors. Overpopulation is causing climate damage, and unlimited population growth will destroy our beautiful, blue planet for human habitation. If Democratic leaders, including you, are not clear about controlling illegal immigration, you will be handing Trump, who was apparently Drumpf in Germany, four more years, which would be bad for the Pueblos, the environment, and the world that we strive to protect. In my Christian religion, some of us pray that we may learn to do good works, and practice stewardship towards the enviroment.
David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth Century Vietnam” and blogs at

Who Can Adopt a Native American Child? A Texas Couple vs. 573 Tribes – The New York Times

“FORT WORTH — The 3-year-old boy who could upend a 40-year-old law aimed at protecting Native American children barreled into the suburban living room, merrily defying his parents’ prediction that he might be shy. He had a thatch of night-black hair and dark eyes that glowed with mischievous curiosity. As he pumped a stranger’s hand and scampered off to bounce on an indoor trampoline, his Superman cape floated behind him, as if trying to catch up.

Zachary, or A.L.M. as he is called in legal papers, has a Navajo birth mother, a Cherokee birth father and adoptive parents, Jennifer and Chad Brackeen, neither of whom is Native American. The Brackeens are challenging a federal law governing Native American children in state foster care: It requires that priority to adopt them be given to Native families, to reinforce the children’s tribal identity.

Last fall, a federal judge ruled in the Brackeens’ favor, declaring that the law, the Indian Child Welfare Act, was unconstitutional — in part, he said, because it was based on race.

The case is now before a federal appeals court. Whoever loses is almost certain to ask the Supreme Court to hear it.”

David Lindsay:

This is an incredible story, thank you Jan Hoffman. I had trouble processing it, but the comments were very articulate and persuasive, and helped me understand my own position. Here are three of many good comments, but these three particularly pushed me to see the point of view of the Indian family.

Times Pick

It’s misguided for the foster father to turn around and say the only reason is because “We don’t have the right colored skin” and just shows that he is missing the entire point. this is not about the colour of your skin, it’s about the fact that you are taking this child away from the rich culture and history of his family and bringing him into a completely different one. It’s ignorant and naive to reduce this right down to skin tone and ignore everything else

13 Replies507 Recommended
Randy Kritkausky
Middlebury VT USA
Times Pick

My grandfather was sent to the Carlisle Indian school “for his own benefit”. He could never talk about that experience, even as an adult. As a child I sat on his knee and he talked about being in the trenches during WWI and the horrors of mustard gas. But the shame and horrors of Carlisle he could not discuss. Those of European settler descent do not understand that Native Americans have profound ancestral connections and memories which are broken only with a great sense of loss. I just spent two years writing a book about this in my own life, the return of such connectivity several generations “off the rez”. Well-intentioned non-Native Americans cannot uproot Native American children and then replant them in suburban greenhouses without shattering a spiritual connection. If this seems too mystical, just think Treaty Rights. They are not “merely” legal, they are moral obligations. Canada is moving toward truth and reconciliation, providing economic support to its First Nations people so that families and communities can be preserved. And we south of the Canadian border? Are we about to undermine Native American rights in order to advance the larger agenda of white people who would eviscerate any mild concession to righting historical wrongs? Randy from Vermont An enrolled member of the Citizens Potawatomi Nation

12 Replies382 Recommended
New York

When I was five years old I chose to leave my Navajo parents to live with a white family. I was never adopted by this family. Eventually my mom wanted me back and it turned into a bitter lawsuit. My white parents were able to obtain legal guardianship because at 12, I did not want to go back. I refused to speak with my family until I turned 18 and graduated from high school. During breaks from college, I spent more and more time with my large Navajo family. As I became more integrated into my family’s life, I came to realize what I lost in relationships, culture, language and especially spirituality. Today I live in New York, but I am learning to speak Navajo. My grandmother passed away and she only spoke Navajo. I would sit with her, but other than smiles I could not communicate. I am so sad I could not speak Navajo to any of my grandparents. Now I try to speak Navajo with my mom but I’m still a long way from fluent. Growing up without my mom left a huge hole in my heart even though my white parents loved and cared for me. I see the struggles my brothers underwent, the poverty, the neglect and I know I’d be a different person if I had grown up there. Today, I love visiting my mom on my grandmother’s land in the middle of nowhere. A month ago she got hot water in her shower and a toilet that actually flushes. She rises before dawn to tend to the sheep and other animals. This is the life I was born to and knowing everything I do, I would choose my Navajo family this time.

5 Replies192 Recommended

‘Why Are So Many of Our Girls Dying?’ Canada Grapples With Violence Against Indigenous Women – The New York Times

WINNIPEG — In the 24 hours before the disappearance of Tina Fontaine, a 15-year-old from the Sagkeeng First Nation in Canada, she was seen by provincial child welfare workers, police officers and health care professionals.

Then she was found dead, dumped in Manitoba’s Red River, and wrapped in a plastic bag and duvet weighed down with 25 pounds of rocks.

“Canada and the system failed Tina at every step,” Thelma Favel, the great-aunt who raised her, said on a recent day from her small home in Powerview, a sleepy town on Lake Winnipeg near the reserve of the Sagkeeng First Nation. “Why are so many of our girls dying?”

Francis Parkman – Wikipedia

DL: This is the very famous historian who was blind most of his adult life.
Francis Parkman
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Francis Parkman
Francis Parkman Jr.
Francis Parkman Jr.
Born September 16, 1823
Boston, Massachusetts
Died November 8, 1893 (aged 70)
Jamaica Plain, Boston, Massachusetts
Resting place Mount Auburn Cemetery
Occupation Historian, writer
Nationality American
Alma mater Harvard College; class of 1844
Spouse Catherine Scollay Bigelow
Francis Parkman Jr. (September 16, 1823 – November 8, 1893) was an American historian, best known as author of The Oregon Trail: Sketches of Prairie and Rocky-Mountain Life and his monumental seven-volume France and England in North America. These works are still valued as historical sources and as literature. He was also a leading horticulturist, briefly a professor of Horticulture at Harvard University and author of several books on the topic. Parkman was a trustee of the Boston Athenæum from 1858 until his death in 1893.[1]

Early life
“Parkman was born in Boston, Massachusetts to the Reverend Francis Parkman Sr. (1788–1853), a member of a distinguished Boston family, and Caroline (Hall) Parkman. The senior Parkman was minister of the Unitarian New North Church in Boston from 1813 to 1849. As a young boy, “Frank” Parkman was found to be of poor health, and was sent to live with his maternal grandfather, who owned a 3,000-acre (12 km²) tract of wilderness in nearby Medford, Massachusetts, in the hopes that a more rustic lifestyle would make him more sturdy. In the four years he stayed there, Parkman developed his love of the forests, which would animate his historical research. Indeed, he would later summarize his books as “the history of the American forest.” He learned how to sleep and hunt, and could survive in the wilderness like a true pioneer. He later even learned to ride bareback, a skill that would come in handy when he found himself living with the Sioux.[2]

Education and career

Francis Parkman House, a National Historic Landmark on Beacon Hill
Parkman enrolled at Harvard College at age 16. In his second year he conceived the plan that would become his life’s work. In 1843, at the age of 20, he traveled to Europe for eight months in the fashion of the Grand Tour. Parkman made expeditions through the Alps and the Apennine mountains, climbed Vesuvius, and lived for a time in Rome, where he befriended Passionist monks who tried, unsuccessfully, to convert him to Catholicism.

Upon graduation in 1844, he was persuaded to get a law degree, his father hoping such study would rid Parkman of his desire to write his history of the forests. It did no such thing, and after finishing law school Parkman proceeded to fulfill his great plan. His family was somewhat appalled at Parkman’s choice of life work, since at the time writing histories of the American wilderness was considered ungentlemanly. Serious historians would study ancient history, or after the fashion of the time, the Spanish Empire. Parkman’s works became so well-received that by the end of his lifetime histories of early America had become the fashion. Theodore Roosevelt dedicated his four-volume history of the frontier, The Winning of the West (1889–1896), to Parkman.

In 1846, Parkman travelled west on a hunting expedition, where he spent a number of weeks living with the Sioux tribe, at a time when they were struggling with some of the effects of contact with Europeans, such as epidemic disease and alcoholism. This experience led Parkman to write about American Indians with a much different tone from earlier, more sympathetic portrayals represented by the “noble savage” stereotype. Writing in the era of manifest destiny, Parkman believed that the conquest and displacement of American Indians represented progress, a triumph of “civilization” over “savagery”, a common view at the time.[3] He was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1855,[4] and in 1865 was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society.[5]”

Source: Francis Parkman – Wikipedia

Everything You Learned About Thanksgiving Is Wrong – By Maya Salam – The New York Times

“The holiday wasn’t made official until 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln declared it as a kind of thank you for the Civil War victories in Vicksburg, Miss., and Gettysburg, Pa.

Beyond that, claiming it was the “first Thanksgiving” isn’t quite right either as both Native American and European societies had been holding festivals to celebrate successful harvests for centuries, Mr. Loewen said.

A prevalent opposing viewpoint is that the first Thanksgiving stemmed from the massacre of Pequot people in 1637, a culmination of the Pequot War. While it is true that a day of thanksgiving was noted in the Massachusetts Bay and the Plymouth colonies afterward, it is not accurate to say it was the basis for our modern Thanksgiving, Ms. Sheehan said.

Plymouth Rock in Pilgrim Memorial State Park in Plymouth, Mass. The rock, known as the “landing place of the Pilgrims,” was not mentioned in the Pilgrims’ original writings. Instead, it is a part of the region’s oral history.

Plymouth Rock in Pilgrim Memorial State Park in Plymouth, Mass. The rock, known as the “landing place of the Pilgrims,” was not mentioned in the Pilgrims’ original writings. Instead, it is a part of the region’s oral history.CreditErik Jacobs for The New York Times
And Plymouth, Mr. Loewen noted, was already a village with clear fields and a spring when the Pilgrims found it. “A lovely place to settle,” he said. “Why was it available? Because every single native person who had been living there was a corpse.” Plagues had wiped them out.”

Opinion | The Republican Attack on California – By Tim Wu – NYT

A challenge to the state’s net neutrality laws shows that the G.O.P. no longer believes in federalism (if it ever did).
By Tim Wu
Mr. Wu is a law professor at Columbia.
Oct. 3, 2018

“For the past 60 years or so, the Republican Party has declared itself the true party of decentralized government, the founding vision of federalism and what are sometimes called states’ rights. Whether its pious declarations were ever actually about more than securing Southern votes or limiting the rights of women and minorities has always been questionable, but at least in theory the party took federalism seriously.

But now, with the party under new management and in control of every branch of the federal government, a profound transformation is underway. States’ rights still get lip service, at least when it comes to matters like limiting transgender rights. But the new reality is that we face a rising nationalist party, uninterested in local variation, aggressively devoted to molding the nation in the image of the party and its leader, Donald Trump, into one white-hot mass.

California (surely the state now most tempted to leave the union) is the flash point. This week, it passed its own net neutrality laws, to ban blocking and throttling of the internet, as a stand-in for the federal net neutrality rules abandoned by the Trump administration in June. California has obvious reasons to want to protect an open internet: It is the land of the internet’s origin, and a place where tech entrepreneurship has thrived.

If the Republican Party actually believed in economic decentralization, it might well accept the premise of state rules where the federal government explicitly disclaims any authority to act. But Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a self-declared states’ rights champion, declared within hours of the law’s passage that the Department of Justice will sue California for infringing corporate prerogatives — that is, interfering with the right of cable and phone companies to block or slow internet content.”

For Native Americans- a ‘Historic Moment’ on the Path to Power at the Ballot Box – The New York Times

“SAN JUAN COUNTY, Utah — In this county of desert and sagebrush, Wilfred Jones has spent a lifetime angered by what his people are missing. Running water, for one. Electricity, for another. But worst of all, in his view, is that the Navajo people here lack adequate political representation.

So Mr. Jones sued, and in late December, after a federal judge ruled that San Juan County’s longtime practice of packing Navajo voters into one voting district violated the United States Constitution, the county was ordered to draw new district lines for local elections.The move could allow Navajo people to win two of three county commission seats for the first time, overturning more than a century of political domination by white residents. And the shift here is part of an escalating battle over Native American enfranchisement, one that comes amid a larger wave of voting rights movements spreading across the country.“It’s a historic moment for us,” said Mr. Jones, during a drive on the county’s roller coaster dirt roads. “We look at what happened with the Deep South,” he went on, “how they accomplished what they have. We can do the same thing.” ”

Bravo. Here is a comment I endorse:

DW In the shadow of Monticello 38 minutes ago
it’s about time that the Native American citizens have an equal opportunity to have a proportional vote and to equalize the use of government resources (i.e., tax income) for all – not just for those who control the boundaries of voting districts in their favor.

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