A seven-member Council of Elders is responsible for overseeing judicial matters
and the Tribe's cultural integrity and possesses legislative powers specifically
granted to this body pursuant to the Tribe's Constitution. The Council of Elders
provides traditional Mohegan names to members and appoints, defines, and
supervises all religious and ceremonial positions such as Medicine Person, Chief
or Sachem, Pipe Carrier, Tribal Historian, Sagamores, Nonners, Fire Keepers,
etc. They advise on Tribal cultural matters and enforce rules of Tribal
Front Row Left to Right:
Marie Pineault, Treasurer
Back Row Left to Right:
Bill Gucfa, Secretary;
Bob Soper, Chairman;
Larry Roberge, Vice Chairman;
| ||Robert (Bob) Francis Soper, Chairman and Justice|
Bob Soper is now serving his third term on the Council of Elders, second term as Chairman. His background with the Mohegan Tribe includes serving on the TERO Commission, participating in the Strategic Planning Focus Group, and serving as Chair and Vice-Chair for the Mohegan Constitution Revision Commission. Prior to his experience with the Mohegan Tribe, he had a thirty-year career in education, working as a teacher, assistant principal and an elementary school principal. He received a B.S. Degree in Education from Central Connecticut State College, a Masters Degree in Biology from Georgia State University and a Specialist Degree in Supervision and Administration in Education from Georgia State University. Bob served our country as a member of the Army National Guard for six years. He also has a long-standing tradition of being active in the community, serving in such organizations as Kiwanis, the American Cancer Society, the Headstart Advisory Committee and the Colchester Conservation Commission.
| ||Laurence J. Roberge, Vice Chairman and Justice|
Laurence J. Roberge is now in his second term as a member of the Council of Elders, and his first term as the organization’s Vice Chairman. As a founding member of the Mohegan Tribe’s Housing Authority, he was part of the managing body that created the Tribe’s elder residence. In addition, his position included overseeing other programs that served the general housing needs of Tribal members. His professional background includes experience with the building industry, having worked with L.H. Bond Sand & Gravel, and also for the Town of Montville’s Department of Public Works. Laurence has also coached youth basketball, Babe Ruth baseball, and Little League for the Town of Montville. He also carries on a long-standing family tradition of stewardship, being the eldest child of Tribal Nonner Loretta Roberge, who was part of the council that fought for the Tribe’s federal recognition during the latter decades of the 20th Century.
| ||Bill Gucfa, Secretary and Justice|
Bill Gucfa is in his second term of office for the Council of Elders, and was appointed to the position of Secretary in October of 2012. Prior to serving on the Council, he spent nearly 10 years as a photographer and writer for the Mohegan Tribe’s publications division, and also worked as an officer for the Tribe’s Public Safety division. During 1998 and 1999, Gucfa took part in the Mohegan Tribe and Eastern Connecticut State University’s archeological field school. Before his involvement and employment with the Mohegan Tribe, Gucfa graduated from the Rhode Island School of Photography, and worked as a freelance photographer/writer for over two decades, and his work has appeared in The Providence Journal, The Pawtucket Times, the Attleboro Sun-Chronicle, and the Kent County Daily Times. Gucfa also served on the Rhode Island Parks Commission for nine years, representing the City of Pawtucket. He lives with his wife Ruth and their child Lily.
| ||Marie Pineault, Treasurer and Justice|
Marie Pineault has devoted many years of service to the Mohegan Tribe, and in 2012 was appointed to the position of Treasurer, with previous experience acting as the Elders’ Secretary. Before being elected to the Council of Elders, she held several administrative posts at the Tribe. Marie has also volunteered at many events sponsored by the Tribe, and served on various Tribal committees. She has been a part of the Indigenous Games Committee and Constitution Review Committee. Prior to her experience with the Mohegan Tribe she worked for Norwich Public Schools, responsible for the planning, coordination and supervision of food management programs. Marie has a strong interest in the youth of the Tribe and has committed herself to passing on Tribal knowledge and traditional values.
| ||Stephanie "Morning Fire" Mugford Fielding, Elder and Justice|
Stephanie “Morning Fire” Mugford Fielding is very involved in the resurrection and instruction of the Mohegan language. She has a wide-ranging background of experience and interests, and has lived all over the United States and abroad. Her experiences have put her artistic talents to work as a teacher, writer, editor, graphic artist and radio announcer. She has also served on the board of directors of educational institutions, media outlets, non-profit organizations, and religious organizations. In 2002, she received a Bachelor’s degree with honors from the University of Connecticut with an emphasis in linguistics and anthropology. She continued her education at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), gaining a Master of Science in Linguistics in 2005.
| ||Sharon "Accomac" Maynard, Elder and Justice|
Sharon "Accomac" Maynard is currently serving her second term as a member of the Council of Elders. Her background has shown a commitment to the Cultural/Historical concerns of the Mohegan Tribe as manager for the Cultural and Community Programs department of the Tribe. In addition, she is a Tribal representative to the board of the Connecticut State’s Native American Heritage Advisory Council. Sharon has passed down the gift of basket-making that she learned from Nonner Pauline Brown to many Mohegan tribal members, and has also worked on the language project. She has worked as a field and lab technician in the Tribal archeology department, and has also been a guest instructor in the ethno-biology department at Connecticut College. She earned an A.S. in hospitality management from Three Rivers Community College, and also holds a B.S. with a focus in Anthropology from Charter Oak State College. Her other interests include music and the culinary arts.
| ||Charlie "Two Bears" Stickland, Elder and Justice|
Charlie “Two Bears” Strickland began his service on the Council of Elders in October of 2012. Prior to his election to the Elders, he worked in the tribe’s Cultural and Community Programs department in educational and community outreaches. Following his experience in that program, he worked in the Tribe’s Behavioral Health department as the Sober House and Recovery Coordinator. At the Sober House, Strickland started the Supported Work Program, performed various duties for those in recovery, and was a mediator with the court system. He is currently working toward an Associate’s degree at Three Rivers Community College in Norwich. He is a lodge keeper from the Mohegan tribe, and the drum keeper for the Unity of Nations Drum Group, which performs at the Mohegan Wigwam and other tribal events. He resides in Preston with his wife Suzette, children Brandin and Lexi, and five beloved Yorkie Terriers.