How did Cedric Cromwell a lifelong resident of Dorchester and Attleboro become Mashpee Wampanoag Chairman from otherwise obscurity to the tribe and Wampanoag people’s community in Mashpee? Just last Saturday he was reported raising a celebratory toast at the Willowbend Country Club along side of Senate President Therese Murray and former Congressman turned lobbyists Bill Delahunt on their victorious legislative scheme to create a tax-free, non-competitive haven for Indian-only gaming in Southeastern Massachusetts. It begs the question, was Cedrick planted there on behalf of deep pocketed, behind the scenes foreign gambling syndicates to do their bidding funneling billions of dollars in tax-free slot machine income out of Massachusetts into overseas bank accounts?
His “membership” in and history with the tribe is vague at best. He appears to have come on the scene with his name on formal rolls only around 2006. This coincides with significant investments in the tribe by overseas backers, the likes of which Time Magazine reported were “helping” tribes establish membership with their own genealogists as part of efforts to secure tribal status for the sole purposes of creating tax-exempt Indian gaming operations.
Tribal elders certainly hold no fond sentiments or recollections of either Cedric or his maternal family ties to the tribe. Cromwell derives at least 50 percent of his genealogy from his father’s Nova Scotia, Canadian birthplace so his claims to Wampanoag ancestry come via his mother, Connie “Lone Eaglest” Tobey. Via this line his Wampanoag “blood” ties are 1/40th at best. In fact, several elders have claimed Connie’s family were descendants of former African slaves who took on the Mashpee Tobey family name in relative recent history with questionable Native American genealogical evidence at best. However, Lone Eaglest and her relatives took control of the tribal genealogy and membership records during the election which brought her son Cedric to power and have locked them away from view of questioning tribe members ever since.
It wouldn’t be the first time someone in the Wampanoag leadership turned from one race to another lured by overseas gaming syndicate dollars. One of Cedric’s tribal council chair predecessors Glenn Marshall was fighting for local Portuguese-American rights before he too found his niche in the lucrative gaming Indian ancestral scheme. Marshall, of course, was found guilty of fraud, rape and various other crimes associated with the Wampanoag Indian gaming ventures so perhaps he’s not the best role model if we’re to give Chairman Cromwell any benefits of the doubt - and doubts there are many.
But how Cedric Cromwell became a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag, let alone Council Chair, of what Governor Patrick is now helping become a multi-billion dollar casino enterprise is a miraculous mystery indeed. Cedric certainly didn’t rise to his position of power and influence from any record of stellar previous accomplishment. His lowly roots as an IT administrator with a financial services company with only an Associates’ degree from a local community college isn’t what one would highlight as a calling card to the tribe begging them to call him into service. In fact, prior to securing his tribal chairman role and financing from the Malaysian gambling syndicate Genting, Cedric was in default on his mortgage, taxes and utility bills. Again, not what one looks for in the leader of a community in need of financial acumen and integrity.
Perhaps it was his strong ties to the Mashpee community and prior service to the tribe? Again, tribal elders don’t recall Cedric, let alone his mother Connie, being part of the local Pow Wows or other activities until right about the time promises of casino gold started to appear. In fact, a requirement of tribal membership is having documented “vital records” showing “tribal community involvement” for a minimum of twenty years. Further, the membership requirement includes residency “near Mashpee” which is specifically defined as within 20 miles. (Mashpee Ordinance 9/21/2006, 1-2)
However, not only are there no “vital records” showing community involvement prior to Cedric’s name being added to the tribe’s formal census, there are vital records proving he did not and still does not meet the residency requirements. Cedric’s mother Connie left the Mashpee area and any association with the local tribe at the age of five. She moved to Boston, married James Oliver Cromwell of Nova Scotia and raise Cedric and brother Craig in the Dorchester neighborhood (60-plus miles from Mashpee). Even after finding his native ancestral roots, Cedric moved from Dorchester to Attleboro (also more than 50 miles from Mashpee) where he lives today. His brother, by all accounts not a registered member of the Mashpee Wampanoag, and mother still reside in Dorchester.
So, how does someone with a highly questionable, 1/40th at best claim of Native American ancestry, with no documented evidence of association with or even residential proximity to a newly recognized Indian tribe rise in less than a few years to become the go-to-guy for Governor Deval Patrick and Massachusetts Senate President Therese Murray to tap into tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions and lobbyist cash from the tribe?
If you ask the tribal elders they’ll tell you – Cedric Cromwell is Genting’s Manchurian Candidate positioned to do their bidding. Only unlike the movie, Cedric wasn’t brainwashed into his role, he appears to be happily complicit up to his neck in this scheme which will leave the Wampanoag people riddled with debt and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts robbed of otherwise taxable casino income.