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Indian Affairs

Indian Affairs fundamental role is to assist Native American individuals, tribes and organizations in their relationship with state and local government agencies and to advise the Commonwealth in matters pertaining to Native Americans.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Commission on Indian Affairs (MCIA) was created by the legislature in 1974. The Commission is governed by M.G.L. Chapter 6A: Section 8A and is housed within the Department of Housing and Community Development. Its fundamental role is to assist Native American individuals, tribes and organizations in their relationship with state and local government agencies and to advise the Commonwealth in matters pertaining to Native Americans. According to the 2010 Federal census, there are more than 37,000 Native Americans living in Massachusetts.

The Commission consists of seven members who are recommended by tribal councils and Native American organizations and appointed by the governor. Each member must be of verifiable Native American descent. Each member serves a term of three years and are assigned an area of representation such as a county, Native American organization, or tribe.

The Commission can assist tribal councils, Native American organizations, and individuals in the areas of social services, education, employment opportunities, health, housing, civil rights, legal aid, treaties, a census of Native American residents, legislation, and any other rights or services concerning Native American residents of the Commonwealth. The Commission is also responsible for making recommendations to the Commonwealth concerning programs and policies that will best serve the interest of Native American residents of the Commonwealth.

In accordance with the Massachusetts Unmarked Burial Law, the Commission investigates the discovery of unmarked native graves, and in consultation with the Massachusetts Historical Commission, determines the disposition of the remains.

Commission Members

Commission on Indian Affairs
100 Cambridge St., Suite 300
Boston, Massachusetts 02114

John “Jim” Peters, Jr, Executive Director
617-573-1292
john.peters@mass.gov


Burne Stanley, Administrative Assistant
617-573-1291
burne.stanley-peters@mass.gov

 

Commission Members:

  • Joanne Dunn, North Shore
  • Aaron M. Gonzales, North American Indian Center of Boston & Suffolk County
  • Gail A. Hill, Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and Barnstable & Plymouth Counties
  • Love T. Williams, Nipmucs and Worcester & Middlesex Counties
  • Troy W. Phillips, Bristol & Norfolk Counties
  • Vacant, Western Massachusetts
  • Vacant, Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head/Aquinnah

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