USDA Rural Development Financing Provides Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s Government Center and Health Clinic, Creating or Saving Over 300 Jobs
November is National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month and a fitting time to highlight USDA Rural Development’s recent projects on tribal lands. The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe of Mashpee, Massachusetts, are the direct ancestors of those who helped the Pilgrims on their arrival to New England over 400 years ago. Thanks to recent financing from USDA Rural Development (USDA RD), a means to preserve their culture and conduct tribal operations will soon improve dramatically.
The status quo of two small, outdated trailers, a tiny cottage and no health clinic did not allow the proper space or capabilities to serve the Tribe’s some 2,000 members. The Tribe recognized the need to upgrade their facilities and made plans for improvement. After 2-3 years of failed attempts to receive financing in light of the nation’s market difficulties, Tribal leadership came upon funding opportunities through USDA RD.
On August 23, 2010, the Tribe was awarded a $12.7 million Community Facilities Recovery Act Direct Loan to construct a 46,000 square foot Tribal Government Center and Health Clinic. Once complete, the facility will house Tribal administration, a library and archives, a health clinic and an educational and cultural community facility. Space provided by the project will enable the Tribe to vastly expand essential services to current and future generations. The project will create or save approximately 316 jobs, with 58 of those jobs being permanent tribal employment.
This is a critical step in expanding core social services and providing for economic development and cultural preservation for the Mashpee Wampanoag.