I just finished interviewing Hartman Deetz, and I am disgraced. I am embarrassed to be a part of a nation that treats it’s indigenous people so poorly. We have all heard of the struggle going on in North Dakota with the Standing Rock Reservation Sioux Tribe in regards to the Dakota Pipe Line, but have you heard of the continuous struggle that has been plaguing the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe since the white man arrived in this county? I hadn’t, and I am ashamed at the way they are being treated. Their people are still living on the original land that they were living on when the white man first arrived in this country. It was their land, not ours, yet we created laws and regulations that we required them to conform to. Now we are going back on our word, and creating new laws to try to limit their rights even more. It is a despicable situation and one that seems to have no end. They filed a petition back in 1970, and it took over 30 years before it finally was addressed in court. It is still not settled, and the tribe had to partner with some casino developers in order to get money to continue their legal struggle. They are now in big debt, and they have still not seen any resolution either in court, or with the development of a casino.
On a more positive note, the Wampanoag people have started the Wampanoag Language Project, bringing back the indigenous language of their tribe. So far, over 500 students have gone through the program, and Hartman Deetz is one of their teachers. The tribe has also partnered with the Native Land Conservancy, which is the first Native-run land conservation group east of the Mississippi, dedicated to preserving native, sacred spaces. To learn more about the Maspee Wampanoag Tribe, listen to our interview below, and check out their website!