FEMA Praises Wampanoag Nation’s Virus Response

Mashpee Wampanoag Government Center

MASHPEE – The Wampanoag Nation was recently praised by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for its response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Mashpee Wampanoag was the first Native American tribe in the region and second in the nation to establish an official virus response plan.

Mashpee Wampanoag Emergency Management Director Nelson Andrews Jr. had requested state of emergency declaration and shut-down before the pandemic was even declared a national emergency by the United States.

Andrews then initiated a request to FEMA for direct Federal Assistance and the agency said it has been working on virus safety with the Tribe ever since.

“Throughout history, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe has been self-sufficient and FEMA respects them as a sovereign nation,” said Captain Russ Webster, FEMA’s Regional Administrator who also serves as the Federal Coordination Officer for the COVID-19 response, in a statement.

“If they have a mission we can support, we’re going to be there.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, FEMA has awarded the Mashpee Wampanoag more than $130,000 in Public Assistance grants for security glass, disinfection of the government building and shelter for the Tribe’s homeless.

When case numbers climbed for the Mashpee Wampanoag, Andrews used $30,000 of emergency management funds to rent a hotel to quarantine those who were infected with the virus.

Several events, including the Tribe’s annual Pow-Wow, were also cancelled to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19.

With case numbers rising across the state as winter approaches, the Tribe said that it plans to be ready with their ‘Resilient Comeback’ document plan.

In the plan, the Wampanoag Nation has outlined what the school year will look like as well as how the Tribal Court will function.

The Tribe is also making preparations for the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine coinciding with a potential flu season.

FEMA said that the agency and the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe will continue to work together to provide meals and personal protective equipment, as well as non-congregate sheltering for sick and homeless tribe members.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native from Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the CapeCod.com News Center in 2019.

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