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Melissa Ferretti

Chairwoman, Herring Pond Wampanoag HPWT

Born in Wareham, the daughter of Bernard Marsden Harding (Herring Pond Wampanoag HPWT), raised in Cedarville/South Plymouth by Verna May Harding (HPWT Elder). Melissa attended Plymouth Carver School system most of her life through 11th Grade and graduated from Pembroke Academy, NH. She attended Cape Cod Community College and studied Information Technology. She is a happily married Mother of two wonderful sons and a proud Grandmother of four and has lived in Bourne for the past 35 years. Her professional career began in early 1998 in a position at the Town of Mashpee, Town Clerk’s office. She then worked for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe as the Executive Administrative Assistant for a few years. In 2003 Melissa went on to become a Commonwealth of Massachusetts licensed Real Estate Sales Associate and Notary Public -- she still holds these designations today and is currently affiliated with Jack Conway & Company. She is the former Vice President of Operations for Select Staffing of MA, a position she held for over 6 years. Currently alongside her real estate work she does freelance research, consulting, and back office/bookkeeping. Melissa is proudly of her third term as the elected Chairwoman of the Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribe located in Plymouth/Bournedale MA. She dedicates much of her time to better her community. In her role as Tribal chairwoman, she has worked tirelessly on the many initiatives and challenges that indigenous communities face in our society today. Some of the work she has dedicated her time to, includes but is not limited to the protection of sacred sites and ancestral burial grounds, tribal archival research, documentation and digitization, advocacy for tribal rights and self-determination, environmental justice, mental health, substance use, addiction and prevention, youth empowerment and grant programming. She is passionate about educating the non-native public about the Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribe and its rich, well documented history. Spring 2020 she co-taught an undergraduate course alongside Dr Amy DenOuden at the University of Massachusetts Boston in the Women’s Gender Studies Department, namely Indigenous Women’s Leadership and Tribal Nation Self Determination. She recently ran a successful campaign for public office in the Town of Board as a Select Board Member and was elected on May 17, 2022. Melissa is the first Wampanoag woman to ever hold this role, and quite possibly the first ever Wampanoag person to ever be elected as a Selectman in this municipality.