An inquiry and open dialog into the underbelly of Massachusetts Indian Gaming and its politics.
MashpeeA trip made every year by my family to attend the Mashpee Wampanoag POW WOW a celebration of our culture and our mother earth. Stepping out of the car hearing the drums beating like a heart. The sounds of the men singing praise to our great spirits. This was the summer that made me the person I am today this is when I realized what a beautiful and amazing thing it is to be a Native American.It’s been years since that week that would undoubtedly change my life. I remember my mother telling me about my people and our beliefs, but I never really listened. I would go to school with pictures and tell stories, but I never felt it didn’t quite understand the beauty of what I was raised around. When my mother took us to Mashpee that summer for our annual Pow Wow, I remember stepping out of the car as we pulled up to tribal grounds. Sands of the beach cover the streets ahead, for the beach was just a few paces beyond. There were so many people walking so many miles to get to this Gathering of Nations. My Mother made us run, screaming “were late for grand entry.” Her regalia looked absolutely beautiful running down the street with her chocolate brown hair flowing down her back. Finally we reached the front. The men still drumming and singing even louder now like their lives depended on it. I didn’t understand how they could sing and drum the way they did.
I watched as all the different tribes, Peqouts, Narragansetts, Aqquinah, gathered, awaiting to dance for their spirits. Waiting at the entrance with tobacco was the medicine man of our tribe to bless the dancers at grand entry. The year, also for John Russell and Randy Peters, whom all passed away in the years before. Slow Turtle, Fast Turtle, and Box Turtle were their names, three men who did great things to keep our culture alive. An eagle flies over us, which I have noticed has happened every year at the start of Pow Wow. First to go into the circle were the elders pacing in slowly to the beat of the drum. Then a faster beat for the men traditional dancers. Their bodies moving to the beat of the drum, dancing and singing with their children in arms. What an amazing display of culture and family! We never stayed to long after grand entry we were always in such a rush so much to do in so little time. I often thought if maybe that’s why it took me so long to understand what I was a part of what I was born into.Off to Aunties house. A beautiful home surrounded by trees and in the back yard a river. I remember my mom walking us through the woods all you could hear was the water flowing, which smelled like fresh laundry. She walked me down to the water I took my shoes off and got in. It felt so nice cold but not freezing fantastic for a hot day. Water so clean you could see right through it no matter how deep. While I jumped around kicking and splashing I heard my mother say do you hear that? I just stared at her confused thinking what are you talking about. Hear what mom I replied. She looked at me with sad eyes I didn’t understand why. We walked back to Aunties house a few minutes later.Back at the house dinner was being made family members who had not been seen in a while were around everyone hanging out and talking. Everyone was having a good time except for me. I sat on the patio by myself trying to figure out what my mom was talking about what she heard. I figured the only thing I could do was go back down to the water and listen.I took my shoes off walked through the woods and down to the water I sat on the bridge low enough to put my feet in the river. The sun soon to set, I sat there in silence alone with my eyes closed and heard nothing. Sad about this because I so badly wanted to know what she heard. With no answers and just a little bit more confusion I hopped into the water to get off the bridge when I began to walk through the water I felt like something was there. It wasn’t a scary feeling more of a calm feeling that made me want to stay. I closed my eyes one last time; a gentle breeze blew on my face. I could hear the birds chirping, the water flowing, and the trees swaying in the breeze. When I opened my eyes I looked forward and saw a turtle in front of me at the edge of the water just sitting there like it had been there for days. It finally happened, I had my answer. . .What my mother heard were our ancestors!Though not with us in body they were there. They were there with us, the trees, the water, the gentle breeze. it was the sounds of our ancestors that we listened too while laying on that bridge. This was sound of my people their spirits became apart of our earth. See what she gives us we have to one day give back. She gives us life and we give it back to her by taking care of her our reward is we become apart of her beauty that we so long to preserve. I stayed down by the water for a little bit longer happy for the feeling I finally felt. I realize what beautiful thing my heritage is to be a part of. To be able to discover such a beauty at such a young age is absolutely amazing. Since that year I never miss a summer in Mashpee and every year I go down to the river and listen. What I felt down by the water that year is something I will never forget. It was something so wonderful it changed my life forever.
Gee, you write just like Paula Peters, alleged wife of Mashpee Wampanoag tribe treasurer Mark Harding, and Cedric Cromwell's campaign manager. But maybe not...
Actually im not paula I am a mashpee wampanoag going to school and my teacher asked us to write about a life changing experience so I wrote about the love i have for being a wampanoag and I thought I should share my feelings so the maybe the people of our tribe would know that their young still feel proud...and if that offends you well sorry
It's very nice (though off-topic) that you are proud of your tribal heritage. If you really love your Tribe then you want it to be free of greed and corruption. How can we accuse the "white man" of these things when our own leaders are guilty of the same. Educate yourself and add your voice to those who are tired of those who treat our beloved tribe as their own source of enrichment while others struggle to live.
I would add a voice but i truly believe you are all wrong those who feel the need to take from the tribe and those who feel the need to post our problems within the tribe so the world can see that we are unable to govern ourselves that we are merely what they said when the europeans came here savages who need to be molded i think all the adults in the tribe need to realize that you all are doing more damage to your young by showing us it is ok to fight and not love each other as we once did were supposed to be family no greed no jealousy no hatred how can anyone of you preach to the youth of our tribe about what we need to do when you all show us the exact opposite you are teaching us to fight not showing us how to love one another and be proud of our culture but thats just how i feel i hope things get better one day until then HAPPY FRIDAY
wampgirl657 your writing outed you as a newbie to the tribe. You know nothing about whats going on if you did you would be crying. And you have a HAPPY FRIDAY also
"...and not love each other as we once did.."Do you mean all the love that was shown to Glenn, Shawn, Desi, Nellie, Richard, Norman, Patty, and all the Elders by Cedric Cromwell, Paula Peters, Mark Harding, MeeMee, Stevie, The Tobey Gurlz, and others when they were trying to take over the Tribe? Give me a break. Your smarmy posts don't amount to a yellow spot in the snow. You are either really naive or a terrible liar.
wow see like i said have a voice you guys shoot it down i have attended pow wow since i was a baby been a part of a lot my family had a lot to do with getting the tribe federally recognized and you guys are trying to fight with me what is wrong with you people fighting with a 20 something year old girl really messed up you guys... all i wanted to show was how i felt about being a wampanoag and because i choose not to take sides you attack me for it and you call me naive well i call you all ignorant SORRY I EVER WROTE THAT PAPER I GUESS EVERYTHING I BELIEVED SHOULD JUST GO OUT THE WINDOW RIGHT?? because i refuse to choose a side you turn your youth into an enemy? really great people once again im sad for you all and i hope we never get our casino maybe if money wasnt involved you guys would be happy and not attacking a young woman for having views how dare you tell me to have a voice and then shoot it down because i do not share what you believe you all are very right minded JOHN RUSSELL AND RANDY would have been ashamed to call any of you family if they were still alive i truly believe that they were great people who are you??? nobody people who want to be a part of the fight people who want the drama and arguments this is my last post no point in trying to talk to you unless i agree with everything you say right? you dont wanna hear it? get a voice? well you showed me why i dont speak up because you all refuse to listen there is no point in trying to speak because you are all stuck in your opinions im sure you'll write something angry back but thats ok i dont care you dont care what i have to say so i do not care what you have to say...and im supposed to be the immature one?
Paula Paula calm down
you guys are such jerks
If we are jerks, it is because we are opposed to liars, thieves, and charlatans, a very good kind of jerk to be indeed.
No. Just plain jerks
Too many hits from the peace pipe??