The Mohegan Tribal Council of Elders
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 custom.
Back row (left to right): Bill Gucfa, Secretary and Justice; Laurence Roberge, Chairman and Justice; Charlie Strickland "Two Bears," Vice Chairman and Justice. Front row (left to right): Beth Regan, Councilor and Justice; Marie Pineault, Treasurer and Justice; Sharon Maynard, Councilor and Justice; Stephanie Fielding, Councilor and Justice
Laurence J. Roberge, 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 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. He lives in Chesterfield with his wife Susan, and they have three children, Kelly, Nicole and Dan.
Charlie Strickland, "Two Bears" , Vice Chairman and Justice
Charlie Strickland began his service on the Council of Elders in 2012, and was appointed as Vice Chairman in 2014. Prior to serving on the Council of Elders, he worked in the Behavioral Health Department as the Sober House Coordinator. He also started the Work Supported Program, helping those tribal members who are in recovery, and chairs the Thursday Night Feather Meetings. Reaching out to his fellow tribal members, he also has served as a mediator in area court systems, and holds tribal sweats and healing circles. At the Tribe’s annual summer gatherings, Charlie volunteers as a cook during Cultural Week, and performs with the Unity of Nations Drum Group at the Wigwam festival. He has been appointed as the Tribe’s Lodge Keeper and is also the Drum Keeper for the Unity of Nations. Outside of the Tribe, he has been a part of many outreaches on the topic of Mohegan history and culture to community schools and scouts, and he has helped Boy Scouts to achieve their Indian Lore badges. He also welcomes school groups to his home to learn about Mohegan and Eastern Woodlands tribes. Charlie lives in Preston with his lovely wife Suzette, six spoiled yorkies and three beloved horses.
Bill Gucfa, Secretary and Justice
Prior to serving on the Council of Elders, Bill 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 Mugford Fielding, "Morning Fire" , Elder and Justice
Stephanie 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 Maynard, "Accomac" , Elder and Justice
Sharon 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.
Beth (Elizabeth) Regan, “Morning Deer”, Elder and Justice
Beth Regan comes to her position at the Council of Elders with an extensive background in education and athletics. Over her 35 year career as a teacher at Tolland High School, she specialized in both Native American studies and Russian history, creating curriculum in both areas, and traveling to both Native American and Russian sites. She also maintains a strong interest in Mohegan culture and ceremony and has participated in several presentations on the subject. Outside the classroom, she has coached at the high school and collegiate levels, and has a strong interest in soccer, basketball, softball and Unified Sports. She has also spent over 30 years as a coach for Special Olympics. Her work in all of these areas has earned her many citations as both Teacher of the Year and Coach of the Year, and she is a member of the athletic Halls of Fame at Eastern Connecticut State University, New Britain High School, and the Connecticut Girls Soccer Association. She holds two degrees from Eastern Connecticut State University, both a Bachelor of Science degree in history and education and a Master’s degree in Human Relations, and is a longtime member of the Mohegan Board of Education. Beth and her spouse Geri White are longtime residents of Hampton, CT where they both serve on various civic committees.