Mayflower Society Votes to Support Preservation of Mashpee Tribe’s Reservation

Published December 13, 2018

Descendants of Pilgrims will send formal letter to Congress

MASHPEE, Mass. — Tribal leaders are hailing the support of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants after its Executive Committee voted unanimously to support the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s efforts to protect its reservation land.

A vote to formally support the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reservation Reaffirmation Act, now pending in Congress that would permanently preserve the Tribe’s reservation land in Mashpee and Taunton, passed unanimously at the Society’s Executive Committee meeting held in Plymouth on Dec. 8.

The Mayflower Society has over 30,000 members in America, Canada, and Europe. Its mission is to educate the world about the Mayflower story and research lineal descent from the Mayflower Pilgrims. The Executive Committee determines and votes on policy for the national society which charters independent societies across the world. Membership requires lineal descent from a Mayflower Pilgrim.

“This is a truly historic moment in which descendants of the Mayflower Pilgrims stand shoulder-to-shoulder with us as descendants of the Wampanoag people who broke bread and brokered a long-lasting peace with their ancestors,” said Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council Chairman Cedric Cromwell.

After helping the Pilgrims survive their first winter in what would eventually become the United States of America, leaders of the Wampanoag Nation in 1629 deeded land to the Pilgrims to establish Plymouth Colony.

Mashpee Chairman Cedric Cromwell testfying on Tuesday, July 24, 2018

“Without myth or malice, this is a Thanksgiving story for the 21st century. I am extremely thankful the Mayflower Society has voted to support our quest to maintain our reservation land, as they understand the current threat to our sovereignty is an injustice that cries out for a solution. To get their unanimous support demonstrates that reconciliation and reciprocity are still possible — that the dignity and fairness of the human spirit still soars, even at time when this nation is beset with so much division and acrimony,” Cromwell said.

Mayflower Society Governor General George Garmany said the Committee’s vote was not about politics but about “doing the right thing,” citing the bipartisan support the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reservation Reaffirmation Act has already garnered in Congress.

Garmany said the Mayflower Society is sending a letter of formal support that will be sent to both chambers of Congress urging the bill’s passage.

“While the Interior Department may not agree with the Tribe on the question of whether the Tribe was under federal jurisdiction for the purposes of the Indian Reorganization Act, we hope the federal government and its representatives agree that the Tribe who played such a central role in the formation of this country ought to have a federally-protected reservation where it can exercise its sovereignty, create jobs, protect its culture, and benefit from the federal laws and programs that are tied to having reservation land,” Garmany said.

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