Pokanoket Nation Responds to Brown University with Strong Statement
Thursday, September 07, 2017
READ THE STATEMENT:
In response to inquiries regarding Brown University’s August 31st, 2017 public statement, the Pokanoket Tribe has indeed turned down the first proposal that was offered by the University. The Pokanoket Tribe was concerned with the assertion that while in its own ancestral lands other tribes, most of whom have already been designated reservation lands for their own administration and use, would be able to dictate when and how the Pokanoket Tribe would steward its own ancestral lands. For those who are familiar with traditional tribal law and relations, a sovereign Tribe or Nation is imbued with the right to make decisions about its own lands free from interference by other tribes, nations or entities. The Pokanoket Tribe stands by and upholds this right.
Since the August 31st response the Pokanoket Tribe held a third meeting with officials from Brown University on Friday, September 1st, 2017 to continue the process of negotiating an amicable resolution to the Po Metacom encampment of the lands of Potumtuk. Ongoing dialogue with Brown University was initially believed to be quite productive and the Pokanoket Tribe believed that they and Brown University were much closer to negotiating a mutually acceptable agreement that would satisfy both the Pokanoket Tribe and Brown University’s interests in this matter. However recent communications from Brown, including emails sent out to their own student body on September 2nd, 2017 and pamphlets passed out by Brown faculty to new students during commencement on September 5th, 2017, are forcing the Pokanoket Tribe to reassess Brown University’s good faith commitment.
Since the August 28th, 2017 meeting, the Pokanoket Tribe has repeatedly requested that Brown University convene a meeting with the Tribes that have expressed claims to the lands of Potumtuk. These Tribes include the Mashpee, Gay Head, Aquina and Assonet tribes of Wampanoag heritage to once and for all lay the controversy to rest over who the proper, historical and rightful stewards of the lands of Potumtuk are. While Brown University has verbally agreed to convene this meeting at the request of the Pokanoket Tribe, the University has also disingenuously continued to publicly present the Pokanoket Tribe as an unwilling partner in these regards, rather than the instigators of this meeting. In this capacity, the Pokanoket Tribe does now publicly request that Brown University convene said meeting so that this controversy can be laid to rest for once and for all.
In closing, the Pokanoket Tribe would like to extend sincere gratitude to all who have continued to support their lawful right to reclaim their ancestral lands, and is confident that a positive and productive resolution will soon be reached that will both uphold the law and preserve the Pokanoket Tribe’s ancestral lands for now and for future generations.
Po Wauipi Neimpaug
Sagamore of the Pokanoket Nation
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