Discussions For and With Massachusetts Native Peoples

A Reassessment for Our Times

Summary of First Roundtable Discussion in Worcester


What follows is a bulleted summary of the first listening session and roundtable held in Worcester and hosted by the Nipmuc Tribe on August 29, 2015. In addition to the presentations from the Nipmuc Tribe and the Pocasset Wampanoag Tribe, numerous audience members (both native and non-native) shared their thoughts, concerns, solutions and questions. The summary represents those comments and is categorized by general headings, rights and issues.


  • The loss of lands results in the loss of culture
  • Return of land back to tribal communities is of primary importance
  • Enfranchisement of native peoples in mid-1800s was also about the taking of lands
  • Steering excess state lands to native communities


  • Concern over removal of our children
  • Ensuring that native youth know where they fit in; connecting them to their native community


  • Want to return to healthy lifestyle that is natural
  • Return of land to engage in sustainable agricultural practices
  • Revive how ancestors grew food and preserved lands
  • Concerns over substance abuse and other forms of abuse

Relationship with Government of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

  • Commonwealth ignores us
  • Concept of law/equality and fairness is missing from government
  • Relationship between tribe and Commonwealth in non-existent
  • Amend Executive Order 126 to reference the Pocasset Reservation


  • Difficultly staying connected with community which is sometimes dispersed
  • Having access to transportation to stay connected and attend community events
  • Desire for closer community

Federal Acknowledgment/Recognition

  • Federal recognition, with its accompanying regulations and policies hinders the exercise of tribal sovereignty

Survival of Tribal Communities and Native Peoples

  • Ability of native peoples to survive is amazing, however, still obstacles to survival
  • But goal is to live, not just survive: “We are not able to live; we have been surviving for so long, we just want to live”
  • Recognition of survival of native clan families forced to live in untraditional ways


  • Desire to learn more about history, laws and policies impacting native communities and individuals

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.

Skip to toolbar