Archive for the ‘Wampanoag’ Category

In this Friday, Oct. 30, 2009, file photo, the sun begins to rise over Nantucket Sound as seen from Popponesset Beach in Mashpee, Mass. The sacred rituals of the Wampanoags require an unblocked view of the sunrise, and they object to the proposed construction of turbines from the 25-square mile Cape Wind project that would obstruct the view. (AP/Julia Cumes)

In this Friday, Oct. 30, 2009, file photo, the sun begins to rise over Nantucket Sound as seen from Popponesset Beach in Mashpee, Mass. The sacred rituals of the Wampanoags require an unblocked view of the sunrise, and they object to the proposed construction of turbines from the 25-square mile Cape Wind project that would obstruct the view. (AP/Julia Cumes)


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Developers of the proposed wind power project off Cape Cod are looking at shifting it to acccommodate concerns by Wampanoag tribes that it would disrupt sacred sites.

The developers also would search for Native American artifacts where the turbines would be built, as per an agreement proposed in June, the Boston Globe reports here:

    That never-signed document is expected to serve as a rough template today in Washington when US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar convenes key players to broker a compromise on what appears to be the last major roadblock to Cape Wind’s approval: Native Americans’ conviction that the project will interfere with their age-old spiritual rituals, and the resulting determination by the National Park Service that Nantucket Sound is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

Aquinnah Wampanoag leader Cheryl Andrews-Maltais (Martha's Vineyard Gazette photo)

Aquinnah Wampanoag leader Cheryl Andrews-Maltais (Martha's Vineyard Gazette photo)

Two press conferences are set after today’s meeting, one with Salazar and one with the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, which opposes Cape Wind’s project. (Watch a news report previewing that meeting, here.)

It’s unclear whether a deal can be reached by March 1, the deadline set last week by Salazar. We’ll update after today’s meeting.

Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe head, told Indian Country Today that the project has to be moved.

“My fear is that they’ll try to throw money at us just to go away and let it happen,” she says, “but what kind of legacy would we be leaving for our children?

Gwen Florio

In this Friday, Oct. 30, 2009, file photo, the sun begins to rise over Nantucket Sound as seen from Popponesset Beach in Mashpee, Mass. The sacred rituals of the Wampanoags require an unblocked view of the sunrise, and they object to the proposed construction of turbines from the 25-square mile Cape Wind project. (AP photo)

In this Friday, Oct. 30, 2009, file photo, the sun begins to rise over Nantucket Sound as seen from Popponesset Beach in Mashpee, Mass. The sacred rituals of the Wampanoags require an unblocked view of the sunrise, and they object to the proposed construction of turbines from the 25-square mile Cape Wind project. (AP photo)

Here’s the entire text of today’s story from the Associated Press:

By ANDREW MIGA of the Associated Press

WASHINGTON  – Federal officials on Monday agreed to a request by two Indian tribes for special protections for Nantucket Sound, a move that could delay construction of a proposed wind farm off Cape Cod.

The National Park Service said the sound is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places due to its significance as a traditional cultural, historic and archaeological property.

The Mashpee and Aquinnah Wampanoag tribes say the designation, which would come with new regulations for activity on the sound, is needed to preserve the tribe’s sacred rituals.

The Wampanoag — the tribe that welcomed the Pilgrims in the 17th century and is known as “the people of the first light” — practice sacred rituals requiring an unblocked view of the sunrise. That view won’t exist if the Cape Wind project’s turbines, each over 400 feet tall, are built several miles from the Cape Cod shore. The turbines would be visible to Wampanoag in Mashpee and on Martha’s Vineyard.

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Here’s the entire text of today’s Associated Press story:

PLYMOUTH (AP) – American Indian activists are planning to mark Thanksgiving by holding a “Day of Mourning” in Plymouth.

The United American Indians of New England say they have been holding the annual protest since 1970 to call attention to the disastrous consequences that eventually followed that first feast between European settlers and Native American tribes nearly 400 years ago.

The group’s co-leader Moonanum James, a Wampanoag Indian, said native people have no reason to celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrims.

He called Plymouth Rock a monument to racism and genocide.

Organizers said participants in the protest planned to gather at about noon on Thursday by the statue of Massasoit on Cole’s Hill above the Plymouth waterfront.

Gwen Florio

 An artist’s conception of the Cape Wind project. (AP photo)

An artist’s conception of the Cape Wind project. (AP photo)


Federal consent for Cape Wind, a 130-turbine wind project off the shores of Massachusetts, has stalled because two tribes object to its potential effect on historic and ceremonial sites.

The Wampanoag tribes, whose name translates to “People of First Light,” say the hundreds of square miles in Nantucket Sound must provide an unobstructed view of the rising sun in order for the tribes to continue ceremonies that are centuries old, according to this New York Times story. The story goes on to report that the tribes want the federal government to designate the sound as a “traditional cultural property” and prohibit the project from being built there. Both the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) are involved.

The turbines would be sunk on a shallow ocean bottom that long ago, before being covered by seawater, was a tribal burial site, the tribes say.

“It is a place where our ancestors are buried,” George “Chuckie” Green, a historical officer for the tribe, tells the Times’ Evan Lehmann. “It is a place that is principal to our practices. An unobstructed view of the eastern sun is paramount to our religion.”

Supporters of the wind farm say that if the tribes’ objections stand, it could set a legal precedent that could affect other planned wind farms along the coast.

Gwen Florio