Tribe to Receive $200,000 Grant For Fuel Assistance
by Brian H. Kehrl
The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council is slated to receive more than $200,000 for fuel assistance from the Citizens Energy Corporation and Citgo Petroleum Corporation, according to a tribal council spokesman.
The grant, which has been certified but not yet received, should last through the winter and will be a major boost t othe tribal council’s otherwise limited fuel assistance program operated the federal Low-Income Housing Energy Assistance Program, spokesman Gayle Andrews said.
“It is just one of the best things to happen to us since we became a nation. It is the product of some very serious bulldogging by [Vice chairman] David Pocknett. He takes this very seriously because we do have so many people that do need fuel assistance. It is one of the biggest problems we have, maintaining a decent quality of life for our people,” Ms. Andrews said. “This is one of the benefits of sovereignty.”
Citizens Energy Corporation, founded by Joseph P. Kennedy II, distributes oil to needy households, charities, and Native American tribes. The nonprofit accepted a $25 million donation from the Venezuelan-owned Citgo petroleum company last month, according to various news reports.
Tribal council officials met with representatives from the Venezuelan government at the South American country’s embassy in Washington, DC, last fall, Ms. Andrews said. In addition to cementing the fuel assistance deal, the meeting also laid the groundwork for future cooperation between the tribal council and the Venezuelan government on economic development and business projects, she said.
“They want to help us get on our feet,” she said.
Mr. Pocknett and Chairman Shawn W. Hendricks Sr. were traveling and not available for comment.
Of the $217,259 grant, 90 percent is dedicated to households, and the other 10 percent is set aside for nonprofit and governmental facilities.