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) Christopher Harris, Councilor and Justice; Laurence Roberge, Chairman and Justice; Beth Regan, Secretary and Justice; Bill Gucfa, Councilor and Justice. (Front row, left to right) Sharon Maynard, Councilor and Justice; Charlie Strickland "Two Bears," Vice Chairman and Justice; Marie Pineault, Treasurer and Justice
Laurence J. Roberge, Chairman and Justice
Laurence J. Roberge is now in his third term as a member of the Council of Elders, and his second term as Chairman; he previously served as Treasurer and 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. 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.
Beth (Elizabeth) Regan, “Morning Deer", Secretary 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 courses in both subjects. An integral part of the Mohegan Tribe’s partnership with the Connecticut Teacher of the Year Program, Beth has created curriculum and lessons on Mohegan history and culture for Connecticut teachers of all grade levels to incorporate into their instruction. Outside the classroom, she has coached at the high school and collegiate levels, and has a strong interest in soccer, basketball and Unified Sports. Beth has also spent over 30 years as a coach and volunteer 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, was a longtime member of the Mohegan Board of Education and a current member the Mohegan Tribe Language Committee. Beth and her spouse Geri White are longtime residents of Hampton, CT where they both serve on various civic committees.
Marie Pineault, Treasurer and Justice of the Peace
Marie Pineault is in her fourth term on the Council of Elders. She 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.
Sharon Maynard, "Accomac", Elder and Justice
Sharon Maynard is currently serving her third 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 a participant in many Tribal committees and programs. In addition, she is the Tribal representative to 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, as a manager of the Cultural and Community Programs Department, and as a guest instructor for the ethno-botany 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.
Bill Gucfa, Elder and Justice
Bill Gucfa has worked in various capacities for the Mohegan Tribe since 1996. Prior to serving on the Council of Elders, 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. 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.
Christopher Harris, “Painted Turtle,” Elder and Justice
Christopher Harris has served the Mohegan Tribe in various roles for more than two decades. He joined the Mohegan Sun team prior to its opening in 1996, a job he proudly held until being elected to the Council of Elders in 2016. Chris was appointed to the role of Pipe Carrier for the Mohegan Tribe in 2010, where he carries and honors the pipe in important traditional ceremonial events for the Tribe. He has been a part of the Mohegan Veterans Association since 2012. Chris has also served as a volunteer for the annual Wigwam Festival since 2000, and has spent time as a liaison between the Native American Heritage Advisory Council and the Mohegan Tribe, as a Tribal Drummer and Dancer, on the Sober House and Language Committees as well as Mohegan Museum Village committee chairperson and many other key roles that have helped shape and develop the Mohegan Tribe since the early 1990s. Outside of the Tribe, Chris, an herbalist and Ordained Minister, is a Pastoral Care Volunteer at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital, bringing Native American spiritual care to patients and their families. Chris is the grandson of the late Tribal Nonner Virginia Damon, and lives in Lisbon, CT with his wife Donna.