fbpx
 

Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Chairman Brian Weeden pleaded not guilty to two charges of theft in Plymouth District Court on Thursday.

Weeden, 30, is facing two charges for allegedly breaking and entering a local museum and stealing four Wampanoag cultural items in November. The cultural items, valued at $10,000, have since been returned to the Plimoth Patuxet Museums, where Weeden once worked. 

Want more Native News? Get the free daily newsletter today.

Another suspect in the theft, Phillip C. Hicks, Jr. also pleaded not guilty to the charges of breaking and entering and larceny of less than $1,200.  

A pre-trial hearing for both Weeden and Hicks, who is also Mashpee Wampanoag, was set for March 17. 

The two were identified as suspects in December after an investigation by Plymouth police. A police report, dated November 9, 2022, said the items were stolen from the “Native American exhibit” at the Plimoth Patuxet Museums at approximately 2 a.m. on Monday, November 7. 

The stolen items included two bulrush mats and two black bear skin rugs, taken from inside a “wetu” – a traditional oval shaped hut used historically by the Wampanoag. 

Museum staff noticed the items were missing the morning after the incident, but “they were unsure if the items had been removed by another staff member for a repair.” Once staff confirmed that no employee had taken the items, museum staff called the police and reviewed surveillance footage.

Enjoying Native News Coverage?
NNO Logo Make A Monthly Donation Here
 

The museum’s surveillance footage captured a dark SUV pulling into the museum parking lot, and three people exiting the car—two men and a woman. A fourth man remained in the car for the 18 minutes it took to secure the four stolen items, according to a police report.

A Patuxet Museum staff member, a police officer, and a special detective all identified Weeden as the driver of the vehicle. Police matched Weeden’s license plate registration with photos of his vehicle going north over a nearby bridge leading to the museum at 1:47 a.m., and then going south over that same bridge around 3:30 a.m.

A museum staff member also told police that Weeden, one of the youngest elected tribal chairman in Indian Country, used to work for the museum.

Native News Online reached out to Weeden for comment, but has not heard back from him as this story went live. 

More Stories Like This

Committee on Indian Affairs to Host Astronaut Nicole Mann, 1st Native Woman in Space, on LIVE Video Call
Native American House Members Committee Assignments Announced
Native News Weekly (February 5, 2023): D.C. Briefs
Day of Solidarity with Leonard Peltier Set for Monday, Feb. 6th
Sen. Markwayne Mullin (Cherokee) Appointed to Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

12 years of Native News

This month, we celebrate our 12th year of delivering Native News to readers throughout Indian Country and beyond. For the past dozen years, we’ve covered the most important news stories that are usually overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the rise of the American Indian Movement (AIM), to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous People (MMIP) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools.

Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps. If you’re in a position to do so, we ask you to consider making a recurring donation of $12 per month to help us remain a force for change in Indian Country and to tell the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked.

Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you. 

About The Author
Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online StaffEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Native News Online is one of the most-read publications covering Indian Country and the news that matters to American Indians, Alaska Natives and other Indigenous people. Reach out to us at [email protected]