Courtesy United South and Eastern Tribes, Inc.
From left: Rodney Butler, Mashantucket Pequot tribal council chairman; Randy Noka, Narragansett Indian Tribe council member; and USET vice president, and USET President Brian Patterson

USET's Semi-Annual Meeting Begins; Honors Two Veterans


The United South and Eastern Tribes’ 2015 semi-annual meeting opened today in Mashantucket, Connecticut, with a focus on making an impact in Indian country.

“Our goal this week is to engage in meaningful dialogue to address issues regarding economic development, healthcare, trust asset reform, taxation, and climate change,” USET President Brian Patterson said to attendees, according to a news release.

The three-day conference, which ends May 20, is hosted by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and is taking place at the Foxwood Casino and Resort where leaders from USET’s 26 tribal nations gathered this morning for a general assembly. On the agenda, its board of directors, along with individual committees, will tackle policy and legislative issues as well as call for comment on an array of issues including: the Federal Communications Commission’s Tribal historic preservation efforts, the creation of a regional comprehensive economic development strategy, updates on the Affordable Care Act, and discussions on how to further develop efforts to reduce prescription drug abuse. A highlight of the semi-annual meeting will come from a the transportation committee’s presentation on new drone technology.

“One of the missions of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation is to build and promote positive community interests and social climates intended to meet the current and future needs of the people,” Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Chairman Rodney Butler said according to a release. “We hope this week’s USET meeting will foster this work throughout Indian country.”

Also during the opening ceremonies, USET honored veterans Sam Lambert and Ernest D. Panther, who were presented with ceremonial blankets in appreciation of their service.

Veterans Sam Lambert, left, and Ernest D. Panther pose for a photograph at the USET meeting in Mashantucket, Connecticut on Monday, May 18, 2015. (Courtesy United South and Eastern Tribes, Inc.)

“You are not just veterans of the United States Armed forces,” Patterson said to Lambert and Panther. “You are valued warriors who have protected our tribal nations’ sovereignty and are honored members of Indian country.” 

For more information on the meeting, visit

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