Editorial: Mashpee Tribe neglects treasures

"If town leaders neglected a historic property, such as a 200-year-old town hall, citizens would demand action.

So why aren't the Mashpee Wampanoag mobilizing to save the Old Indian Meeting House off Route 28, one of the oldest places of worship in New England? Built in 1684, the historic site has been closed for renovations, depriving the Wampanoag people of their spiritual meetings and burials.

Meanwhile, another historic treasure, the Wampanoag Tribal Museum on Route 130, has been closed for renovations since 1997.

What's going on? Why hasn't the tribal council moved faster to reopen these historic sites?

In 2000, the tribal council received a permit from the town building department to repair the meeting house. But it wasn't until 2003 that an engineering and construction firm inspected the property. Why the three-year lapse?

Then, in the fall of 2005, workers laid the foundation to restore the meeting house, but little has been done since. If work doesn't start up again, the town building inspector could pull the permit.

Worst of all, the tribal council has been negligent in applying for funds from the Community Preservation Act, which collects money through a 3 percent property tax surcharge for affordable housing, open space and historic preservation."

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Editorial: Neglected treasures (The Cape Cod Times 1/31)