Cedric Cromwell's "most recent" application attempt for Land in Trust (LIT) submitted to the Bureau for Indian Affairs makes for amusing reading if you can wade through the typos and gaping holes for "to be submitted" tabs and data. Of the data submitted one set of the many conflicting pieces of information that glaringly stands out relates to the Tribe's enrollment.
Now Mashpee Wampanoag enrollment has been a contentious issue among Tribe members ever since Cedric Cromwell took office and locked down the enrollment office records from view of other Tribes members. You see, Cedric himself only became an enrolled member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe in 2006. As readers of this and other spaces like Reel Wamps know, Cedric Cromwell's personal credentials for membership qualification are much in question.
One key membership requirement, spelled out in the Tribe's federal recognition application, is that to be a tribe member you must live within 20 miles of Mashpee (Mashpee Ordinance 9/21/2006, 1-2). Now Cedric grew up in Dorchester and lived in Attleboro (some 50+ miles away from Mashpee) when he found his Indian heritage sufficient to actually enroll as a formal member. It now appears he's encouraged others to follow suit.
In 2007 when the tribe had to submit formal enrollment numbers for their federal recognition they listed 1,400 members of the Tribe. Today, just five years hence, Cedric has submitted new enrollment numbers showing more than 2,600 members - an 86 percent increase! And, to help make their case that the Mashpee band of Wampanoag can lay claims - both historical and current - to distant Taunton in order to build their Indian casino it appears the federally defined membership requirement of living "near Mashpee" (Mashpee Wampanoag federal tribal recognition on pg 26 states that “near Mashpee” means having a residence “within 20 miles of Mashpee”) no longer applies.
That's certainly a lot of new Indian's in such a short time period. It certainly appears that in addition to "reservation shopping" Cedric Cromwell has been doing some Indian shopping as well to make sure he can fit his square pegged tribe into Taunton's round hole for the purposes of his LIT application. To make his case that the Tribe has ties to Taunton he claims 2,633 members, but in his residency listing he provides data on only 1,700 - in which at least one new member resides in Taunton.
However, in other parts of his LIT application with the Tribe's detailed claim and enrollment registry of 2,633 members, the Tribe's "need" claims showing they suffer from higher health problems and lower economic opportunities are based on evaluations of fewer than 325 enrolled members. Seems like they're using some highly selective and suspect data to make their case to BIA that they meet the need requirements for being allowed a casino.
So, what is it? Are there now 2,633 Mashpee Wampanoag's sprinkled throughout the Commonwealth well outside the tribe's own mandated rule of living within 20 miles of Mashpee as claimed in their application? Are there 1,708 as listed in their application "Massachusetts Residency Data" section? Or are there 324 members referenced in their "Health Status" needs claim section? Or the 399 members used to generate their median income needs assessment?
They say numbers don't lie. But it appears the Mashpee Wampanoag just might - and their numbers simply don't add up. Good luck collecting any shared revenue if Taunton's Wampa Word casino uses these same accounting methods.