February 19, 2010

Wampanoag disputes Cape Wind claim

Tribe member challenges sun rite in letter to Salazar

Wampanoag man’s claim may aid wind farm

By Beth Daley
The already twisted Nantucket Sound wind farm saga just got a bit stranger: A Wampanoag tribal member says it is "fabricated cosmology" that his tribe performs sun ceremonies that need an unobstructed view of the Sound - as the tribe has claimed in a campaign to halt the energy project off Cape Cod.

But the tribe member made the allegation only after his law firm was recently hired by the developers of the Cape Wind project.

Jeffrey Madison, a Martha’s Vineyard lawyer, wrote in a Feb. 9 letter to US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar that his father and grandfather were both tribe medicine men. "I am stating to you with complete honesty and knowledge that I never participated in, witnessed, or even heard of a sacred spot on the horizon that is relevant to any Aquinnah Wampanoag culture, history or ceremony. Nor did I see, or hear, either my father or grandfather conduct such ceremony," he wrote.

Madison also submitted a petition to Salazar with eight signatures of other Wampanoag tribe members, saying they did not believe the wind turbines would "materially interfere with any significant cultural activity."

Critics of the project immediately challenged Madison’s assertion be cause the firm he works for, Wynn & Wynn, was hired about two months ago to help strike a compromise with the tribes.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Salazar Tours Cape Wind Site and NPS Rules Against Wind Turbines.

Below:  "Interior Secretary Ken Salazar (center) joined Wampanoag leaders at sunrise on Feb. 2 for what they called a traditional rite. One Aquinnah Wampanoag member has questioned the authenticity of that rite."

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