Cape Cod Times, on March 5th, 2010

Indian tribe disputes tribal ceremony

A Fall River-based Indian tribe has joined the fray in a dispute over the effects of the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm on tribal properties and ceremonies.

In a letter sent earlier this week, the Pocasset Wampanoag Tribe chairman George Spring Buffalo questioned contentions that the project’s 130 wind turbines would interfere with tribal sunrise ceremonies. The letter was sent to federal Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and John Fowler, executive director of the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

“We have asked our elders and they do not know of and have never witnessed a daily ceremony on the waters of Nantucket,” Buffalo wrote in the March 3 letter.

Salazar is expected to decide whether to issue a federal permit for the project by April.

The Mashpee Wampanoag and the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) have argued that the wind farm would be built on lands where the tribes’ ancestors once lived and were possibly buried. They also contend that the 440-foot-high turbines would obstruct an unfettered view of the horizon necessary for important sunrise ceremonies.

Some members of the Aquinnah tribe, including two former members of the tribal council, have also contested these views in a letter and petition sent to Salazar last month.

The Pocasset tribe supports Cape Wind and the views of Gov. Deval Patrick and President Barack Obama “that green energy jobs are the way to recovery,” Buffalo wrote in his letter.

by Patrick Cassidy

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