That Mumbo Jumbo Tribal Court

The Tribal Court is a fake, as the Elders say.  They told Judiciary Committee members just that during their last meeting.  Vivian Bussiere and Barbara Harris were giving some kind of update.  Shortly thereafter, they resigned from the Judiciary Committee.  There were raised eyebrows, because Barbara especially, felt so empowered on the committee.  Finally someone had to pay attention to Barbara! We’ll get back to this in a minute.

Harold Tobey, never felt accepted by the tribe.

Harold Tobey was there.  Yes indeed.  Harold Tobey, is also a member of the Judiciary Committee. Harold Tobey also has the distinction of having no proof of Wampanoag blood according to those who would know. But, being the purveyors of chaos, the Tobeys put him on the roll.  Tobey’s history is tawdry.  Again according to those who would know, he was the flunky of the Cape police departments.  When they wanted to arrest a Mashpee…they sent Harold in. In a recent newspaper article he said he “never felt accepted by the Mashpee”….guess not. Now he has his revenge. But luckily, he’s on yet another committee without power.

The last remaining judge on the Tribal Court, or the Tribal Supreme Court or the Tribal Council Court  or the Fake Court,  or the Paper Cache Court, is Henry Sockbasen.  Henry is quite a guy.  He’s a Penobscot Indian from Maine.  He’s the first in his family to finish high school let alone law school. Many of us have similar stories.  He worked for the Pequot, and the Aquinnah….yah, he’s done the circuit alright.  Now he’s sitting alone on the bench…chillin’.  And you better believe he’s getting paid very wellLiving on Cape Cod and such.  He and Mark Tilden  probably play golf together being such superior Indians ya know. In article after article, Henry talks about tribal justice and in one in particular, he talked about bringing justice to the newly recognized Mashpee Wampanoag. Oh boy. We sure could use it right about now. Too bad you’re not on your job Henry.

There’s  an interesting twist to this little story.  Sockbasen may not have realized when he took the job that the tribe has no land in trust, which means it has no reservation, no compact with the town, police department, sheriff or any entity that

Judge Sockbasen, a judge in court without authority

works as the enforcement arm of a legitimate judicial system.  He was reportedly running around bad mouthing Cedric Cromwell calling him names because he was caught unaware about the status of the court.

In other words, the court has about as much judicial authority as a kindergarten class at Quashnet. He issues lengthy opinions, not rulings in legal formats that mean nothing. Totally unenforceable.  For someone that values the integrity of his professional reputation, this is pretty embarrassing.  But he keeps taking that check, and making speeches at Dartmouth and Harvard…. sitting on panels  pontificating about  tribal justice and the Native American Court system. If you need a true adjudication it has to be in Barnstable or a jurisdiction with authority.  Ask Bobby “I ain’t got no GED either” Foster.

Also, he’s supposed to be the chief judge of a Supreme Court with two other justices. (Oh ya, there’s no lower court).  The other judges were Rochelle Dechenaux, and Robert Mills. Mills  refused to set foot in the building because he knows two things.  The Tribal Court is a mirage.  It has no rules of procedure, or anything that constitutes a true body of judicial authority.  Dechenaux skedaddled after she admitted to throwing the 2009 election in favor of Cromwell. No one has seen her since.

This could be why Barbara and Vivian resigned. It’s gotten to be very problematic and certainly without prestige or power. No one respects this inept administration.

So Sockbasen sits there holding court like it’s real. The tribe pays big money to attorneys to play lawyer before him and tribal members have actually appeared in court with lawyers as though it’s going to amount to something. Nothing happens.  In the Harvard Project report.  Sockbasen was asked  if the Tribal Council interfered with his decision making.  “Oh Nooooo,” he says.  Cue the Cedric Wink. Followed by  Aaron licks his lips….

Well, he’s never opined against his employer, the Council.

Now we come to the most important part of this intriguing saga.

Nellie Hicks Ramos vs Patricia Keliinui, Chair of the 2009 Elections Committee.  The complaint attached bellow lays it out pretty good. This complaint has been sitting there since mid January.  Nellie calls Marietta Scott on every  one of the 3 days they’re open ( heavy docket ya know).  And Marietta  tells Nellie she’s going to get her that court date real soon. Sure she is.

No court date necessary.  Henry, just ask Cedric to produce the voter sign-in sheets from 2009.  Let’s see if there are any illegal voters on the list and we’ll be all set.

The federal  government takes voter fraud seriouslyThe government has jurisdiction over us.  Henry knows that. If he continues to cover up and will not even ask Cedric to produce the voter list.  There’s a problem  

Just think. We could wipe away the tragedy of the Cromwell Administration.  Haven’t they done enough  damage Henry Sockbasen ?




Nellie Hicks Ramos,




Patricia Keliinui, 2009 Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Election Committee Chairman




Plaintiff alleges:

1. Defendant failed to fully perform their duties as required by the Constitution under Art. IV, and Art. III, section 8, Election Ordinance, Section 1, requiring election records be kept and archived following an election.

2. Because of the Election Committee Chairman’s  negligence, the voter list was never seen after the 2009 election, the ballot box was not properly secured, and there was evidence of tampering and the fact that pending voters, were allowed to vote illegally, has disqualified the election of February 8, 2009

3. As a result, the voter list/sign in sheet has never been produced in order to verify the results of the 2009 election, and the ballots and other election materials have disappeared.

4. Further, Nellie Hicks Ramos challenged the election results in a letter. Chairperson Keliinui failed to follow Election Ordinance procedures for resolution of an election dispute by allowing the Elders of the Tribe, a review, as dictated by the law.  Because of the time constraints set out in the ordinance, the action of the Chairwoman amounts to substantial breach of the responsibility of her office.


WHEREFORE, plaintiff(s) pray(s) for judgment against defendant as follows:

1. That the voter list, sign-in sheets, ballots, and all other election materials for the Mashpee Tribe February 8, 2009 election be produced in accordance with the recordkeeping requirements of the Election Ordinance Section 1, and that the voter participants be validated as eligible to participate in the Mashpee Wampanoag tribal election.

DATED this 17th day of January, 2012.


Nellie Hicks Ramos