Petition of Margaret Peters and Other Chappaquiddick Indians to the Massachusetts Senate and House of Representatives
The Chappaquiddick women are petitioning the State because their guardian is not listening to their complaints. They are experiencing difficulties and embarrassment and are lone women with no one in authority to assist them. The General Court appropriated $2000 to build a fence among them the previous winter, but those who received most of the fencing to make subdivisions of the land were not the native people who are the “genuine descendants of the Aborigines”, but were full-blooded Africans. Some of the Chappaquiddick were cut out of their share of the land because they weren’t able hire a surveyor $3 a day to determine the boundaries. New roads were built illegally across the little land they have, leaving it exposed to cattle and sheep and impossible for them to till and make a living. Some have not been able to plant for two to three years.
The division fence between the colored and whites was built 24 years ago and is dilapidated because it hasn’t been maintained. This has caused an inconvenience and expense, making it necessary for some of them to rent a pasture for their sheep while their lands remain unoccupied. The law requiring the guardian to erect the fence hasn’t been repealed, but the women don’t have the power to do anything but complain to the Legislature. Their white neighbors have cut off the water supply to a once profitable cranberry swamp owned by one of the women petitioners, and she has lost income and is no longer able to sustain. Because of the lack of water, another woman who owns a swamp is prevented from digging peat. They are requesting that their former guardian be appointed and believe that if he had remained guardian, they would not have reason to file a complaint.