Executive Order

Executive Order  No. 126: Massachusetts Native Americans

Date: 07/08/1976
Issuer: Michael S. Dukakis

Table of Contents

WHEREAS, as one of the first Thirteen Colonies, the Common- wealth of Massachusetts has long maintained a special relation- ship with the Native American people of the region, and

WHEREAS, for over three centuries, the Commonwealth has molded this relationship by Treaty and Agreement, Legislative Act and Executive Order, and has never ceased to recognize their special status, and

WHEREAS, the state has never ceased to recognize its indigenous tribes, living within or near the boundaries of current or former territories and reservations; nor has it ceased to recognize those Tribes with which it has Treaties; and

WHEREAS, there are approximately eight thousand Indians residing within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and

WHEREAS, the Tribal Councils of the Nipmuc, Mashpee and the Gay Head Wampanoag Tribes are the recognized governing bodies, respectively, of the Nipmuc Tribe, the Mashpee Tribe, and the Gay Head Wampanoag Tribe, and exercise substantial governmental functions; and

WHEREAS, there are Wampanoag Indians within the Commonwealth who are members of neither the Gay Head Wampanoag nor the Mashpee Tribes, and

WHEREAS, as further evidence of the Commonwealth's commitment to the Native American people, the General Court has established by Statute (M.G.L. c.7, s. 38) the Massachusetts Commission on Indian Affairs to advise the commonwealth as to how best to establish positive relationships with the Tribes; and

WHEREAS, the General Court of the Commonwealth has enacted a Statute (Act of 1939, C.384) authorizing the Commissioner of Conservation to establish a reservation within the Fall River Freetown State Forest, and

WHEREAS, in 1945, the said Reservation was laid out, and established in accordance with the authority conferred by the aforesaid Act of 1939, but has not been further developed; and

WHEREAS, the Massachusetts Commission on Indian Affairs and interested groups have presented to Executive Branch officials information concerning the present availability of certain federal funds and services for the benefit of Native Americans, and

WHEREAS, research indicates that Indians who live within the Commonwealth may be able to qualify for several millions of dollars of federal funds which the Congress of the United States has made available to provide benefits and services to Native Americans;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Michael S. Dukakis, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by virtue of all authority vested in me as the Supreme Executive Magistrate, do hereby order as follows:

Section I

State agencies shall deal directly with the Mashpee Wampanoag Indian Tribal Council on matters affecting the Mashpee Tribe; with the Wampanoag Tribal council of Gay Head on matters affecting the Gay Head Wampanoag Tribe, with the commission on Indian Affairs on matters affecting Wampanoag Indians who are members of neither the Gay Head nor the Mashpee Tribes; and with the Hassanamisco Nipmuc Tribal council on matters affecting the Nipmuc Tribe.

Section II

In support of the concept of Native American self-determination, the Secretary of the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs and the Commissioner of Environmental Management shall take appropriate measures to insure that the wishes of the Gay Head Wampanoag and Mashpee Tribes, as expressed by their governing bodies, shall be followed in the management and development of the Wampanoag Reservation within the Fall River-Freetown State Forest.

All other agencies of the Commonwealth, especially agencies within the Executive Offices of Communities and Development and Human Services, are directed to assist as requested in development plans for the Reservation.

The Massachusetts Commission on Indian Affairs shall be involved in all state deliberations regarding the disposition of the Wampanoag Reservation within the Fall River-Freetown State Forest.

Section III

The Boston Indian Council shall be designated as the state's liaison with resident members of the Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Maliseet, MicMac Tribes, with whom the state has entered into Treaties and other Agreements.

Section IV

The Massachusetts Commission on Indian Affairs shall investigate problems common to Indian residents of the Commonwealth and shall assist Tribal Councils, Indian organizations and individuals in their dealings with agencies of state and local government. All state agencies are to cooperate with the Commission in the performance of these important functions, as well as other functions assigned to it by statute. The same level of cooperation will be extended to Tribal Councils and Inter-Tribal organizations in determining which programs require special Native American emphasis within their areas.

Section V

Each state agency shall be responsible for evaluating its own services which are received by the Native American population and shall propose means to rectify any lack of adequate services. The Head of each state agency providing services to Native Americans is directed to determine within a reasonable amount of time whether or not federal, state, or other funds are available to improve such services. Where it is determined that funds may be available for services and benefits to Native Americans, the agency and the appropriate tribal government or inter-tribal organization shall work together to prepare applications for such funds. The Commission's advice on such matters may be sought and the Commission shall be informed of all funding proposals submitted by state agencies.

Section VI

Unless otherwise determined from time to time by the Governor, the Secretary of the Executive Office of Communities and Development, with the cooperation of the Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth, shall act in conjunction with the Massachusetts Commission on Indian Affairs as the principle liaison for the Commonwealth in its relations with the Bureau of Indian Affairs within the Federal Department of Interior, and with other agencies of the Federal Government, in matters affecting resident Massachusetts Native Americans.

Section VII

In addition to seeking the advice of the Massachusetts Commission on Indian Affairs, the appropriate tribal council(s), and other legitimate tribal representatives, as appropriate, with respect to matters affecting Native Americans and within jurisdiction of such groups, state agencies should also attempt to include Native Americans on boards and commissions, particularly those whose functions have a noticeably special impact upon Native Americans. In this connection, the Massachusetts Commission on Indian Affairs may be contacted for assistance in identifying Native Americans with skills and experience, or interest in the particular area of concern; provided, however, that Native Americans who are serving as commissioners on the Massachusetts Commission on Indian Affairs shall be ineligible, during their terms of office, for appointment to such boards and commissions.

Given at the Executive Chamber in Boston this eighth day of July in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and seventy-six and of the Independence of the United States the two hundredth.

Michael S. Dukakis
Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Paul Guzzi
Secretary of the Commonwealth

Contact   for No. 126: Massachusetts Native Americans

Help Us Improve Mass.gov  with your feedback

Please do not include personal or contact information.