Born in Wareham, the daughter of Bernard Marsden Harding (Herring Pond Wampanoag) and Elizabeth Luisa Oakley, raised in Cedarville/South Plymouth by Verna May Harding (Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribal Elder). Melissa attended Plymouth Carver School system through the 11th grade and graduated Pembroke Academy, NH the following year. Her time in New Hampshire was very short lived as she yearned to be back to her Tribal homelands. She attended Cape Cod Community College studying Information Technology. She is a happily married Mother of two wonderful sons and a proud Grandmother of four.
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 Realtor 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 on her second term as the elected Chairwoman of the Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribe located in Plymouth MA. She volunteers much of her time to better her community. In her dedicated role as chairwoman she has worked tirelessly on the many initiatives and challenges that indigenous communities face on an everyday basis. 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, mental health, substance use, addiction and prevention and she is passionate about educating the non-native public about the Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribe and its rich, well documented history. In Spring of 2020 she co-taught an undergraduate course alongside Dr. Amy Den Ouden at the University of Massachusetts Boston In the Women’s Gender Studies Department, namely Indigenous Women’s Leadership and Tribal Nation Self Determination. She is also the Board President at the Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project in Mashpee.
Jennifer ‘Healing Waters’ Harding, has been active on the Tribal council for over 10 years, serving as Treasurer for much of that time, before her current role as council member. Jennifer prides herself on her two daughters, whom she homeschools full time, while also running their family farm, Iona Diamond Farm, where they raise heritage breed pigs, Scottish Highland cows, and too-many-to-count meat and egg laying chickens, as well as her honey bees.
As the Tribal Health and Wellness Nurse, Jennifer is currently focused on implementing the training she has been doing around substance use disorder, including individual and community Narcan training and Narcan distribution for any and all Tribal members, As well as support services as needed.
Jennifer is also responsible for helping to develop programs, lesson plans, and curriculum to educate the Tribal youth through the Tribe’s TEK project, bringing her traditional and cultural knowledge of the land, and all of its resources, to the youth.
Jennifer also worked with the WLRP for 10 years, becoming fluent in the Wampanoag language, writing curriculum, lesson plans, and helping to direct and organize Summer Camps for more than 45 children since 2012, as well as being the summer Camp nurse; she also helped to launch and open the Weetumuw school in 2016, where she was a co-teacher for children ages 3-6, in addition to being the Weetumuw School Nurse.
Jennifer also serves as an LPN / Wellness Coordinator and Executive Administrative Assistant for the Herring Pond Wampanaog Tribe.
Kathleen ‘Morning Star’ Gately, has been active on the Tribal council for over 10 years, serving on the council for much of that time, before her current role as a youth mentor and on the enrollment committee member. Kathleen is a Social Worker where she is helping elders live an independent life in their home. She has also worker in the medical field as a hospice home health aide. As a tribal youth mentor, she hopes to instill native traditions in our youth that can be passed down too many generations. Such as gardening, songs and especially be Intune with the land. As an enrollment member she supports and educated members to enroll and helping member with recourse to attend higher education. Kathleen was a speaker on a national conference in May 2021 on Crimes against women. She spoke about native women are portrayed and what we can do to help the fight on missing and murders indigenous woman. She hopes to one day have more recourses for Northwest tribe to educate and help native women combat domestic violence.
Troy Currence, I was born in Germany, Bitgurg (Frankfurt) May 31, 1972. I was raised in Germany, Albuquerque, NM, Panama, England and Cape Cod, MA. I am the grandson of the Great Great Great Joseph and Love Saunders both of Herring Pond. The Great Great grandson of Harriet Saunders Harding. The Great grandson of Caleb Saunders Harding. And the Grandson of Maurice "Buster" Belmont Harding. The son of Hazel Ann Harding Currence, ``The One Who Smiles Easily", Elder to the Herring Pond people and heavily involved in Herring Pond Tribe & The Wampanoag Nation.
Medicine man to the Herring Pond Tribe. And have been involved with the tribe since my parents returned here in 1986, and more involved since the birth of daughter, Kendall Ann-Marie Currence, the one who is known as "Rising Feather" Waapumeeqan. Kendall is currently the Captain of the Women's Northeastern Basketball team. I have been the medicine man for the last 14 years. I was involved in so many things within our tribe from Genealogy, language, pow wows, ceremonies, socials, guest interpreter at Plimoth Plantation (Patuxet), Wampanoag Nation Singers and Dancers Wampanoag Nation Advisory Committee and have represented not only our tribe but the Wampanoag nation at events and the list goes on and on. I assist the Woods Hole Diversity committee on racial and social justice issues and Falmouth Academy on diversity and affordability about education and I was a past member of the Woods Hole Black History Committee.
I have a degree in Sociology (Concentration in Criminology) and a minor in Psychology. I have worked with the Department of Social Service and Juvenile courts and was an Assistant Director of a Youth Program for several years. I have been an employee for the United States Geological Survey as an IT Technologist for the last 21 years.
Born in Wareham, MA and the daughter of Maurice "Buster" Belmont Harding Sr. of Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribal Elder and Alberta Virginia Hunt Harding. Lifelong resident of Bourne and attended Public school in the Town of Bourne. I have two sons, Samuel Gene Currence Jr. and Troy BelmontCurrence, the Medicine Man for the Herring Pond Tribe. I have 3 granddaughters and 1 grandson. I have lived in South Carolina, Germany, New Mexico, Panama, and England.
I have always participated in my Wampanoag Culture with my father and have always continued today. I have been involved and or a member of the Regali's workshops, Canal Celebration for Meet & Greet the Herring Ponders, Native Land Conversvcery, Wampanoag Plymouth 400 Committee, Wampanoag Nation Advisory Committee, Herring Pond Singers, and the Wampanoag Language Project, The Plymouth No Place for Hate, Homes for the troops, Massiost Repatrication and attended many different tribal socials and pow wows within the New England areas. I have been on the Election and Genealogy committees for Herring Pond for several years. I have assisted with multiple tribal cemetery clean ups as well & ceremonies within the area.
Other activities that I have been involved in coaching volleyball, basketball, softball, football, cheerleading, officiated the same sports. I am an active member of the Bourne Historical Society & Bourne Historic Preservation Society, Bourne High School Alumni, National Sports Coaches Association, and Panama Arm Forces Sports Coaches Association.