The Hassanamisco Nipmuc Band Council
|Nellie Toney -Chair
Gail Schuyler -Clerk
Cheryll Toney Holley – Sonksq
Current Hassanamisco Sub-Chiefs
Andrea Smith – Andrea is a member of the Hassanamisco Nipmuc Band and currently resides in Cranston, Rhode Island. Andrea is an accomplished registered nurse with over 35 years of leadership experience in long term care, short term rehabilitation, and Labor & Delivery. She is currently employed as a Nursing Staff Educator and Support Infection Preventionist. She has certification in Gerontology, Infection Prevention, Wound Care, and Dementia Care Training. She has presented at the Leading age national conference on a non-pharmacological approach to help prevent urinary tract infections. Andrea also was a founder of the Sickle Cell Family Support Group at Rhode Island Hospital, giving families a voice in the treatment of their loved ones. Andrea believes that disparities in health care should not exist, that Nipmucs and other minorities have a seat at the table, thus an area of focus in her teaching is Person Centered Care and Cultural Sensitivity and the difference it makes in the healing process. Andrea is currently the coordinator for Squaonipmug Waantook Women’s Group and is on the board for the Nipmuc Cultural Preservation. Her area of responsibility as a sub-chief is Tribal Health & Wellness.
Troy Philips – Troy serves as Chairperson of the Massachusetts Commission on Indian Affairs. As a commissioner, Troy’s fundamental role is to assist Native American individuals, tribes and organizations in their relationship with the state and local government agencies as well as to advise the Commonwealth in matters pertaining to Native Americans. Troy serves on the Hassanamisco Elders Council, the Tribal Council and is a member of the Nipmuc Medicine Society. When not working on tribal affairs, Troy is employed by an environmental company, US Ecology, as a field chemist. In his free time, Troy enjoys boating, fishing, hiking, attending powwow and spending time with his family.Troy resides in Seekonk, MA with his wife, Lisa. He is the father of 4 children (3 sons, 1 daughter) and is the proud grandfather of Nipmuc granddaughter, Maliah May. His area of responsibility as a sub-chief is intra-tribal relations and mediation.
Rana Smith – Rana is a member of the Hassanamisco Nipmuc Band and currently resides in Warwick, RI. Rana has a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Northeastern University. She has worked in the State of Rhode Island and United States Court systems for 20 years. She started her career in the District Court for the State of Rhode Island as an Administrative Assistant/Case Manager in the Pretrial Services Office, where she supervised defendants on bail. She is currently the Administrative Specialist in the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island and is responsible for administering a number of outreach programs that connect the Court with the communities that it serves. These programs include: organizing the Court’s civics programs for students, coordinating attorney admissions to the Federal Bar, and on-boarding the law school students who serve as interns at the Court throughout the year. Rana has been involved in the Nipmuc community since her teens. She is a member of the Squaonipmug Waantook Women’s Group and one of the instructors for the tribe’s Nipmuc language reclamation program. Rana loves animals and has two cats, Nico and Luna, who are her babies. She loves attending powwows and other Native events, spending time with family and friends and dancing. Rana has always believed that continuing to learn and share in our culture together, will make us stronger people. We honor the traditions that have been passed down to us and we will create new ones that will be passed on to future generations. Her area of responsibility is governance.
Sonksq (female leader) – The word chief is part of the colonial influence on Indigenous societies. Sonksq is the historic title for female leaders.
As Sonksq of the Hassanamisco Nipmuc Band, Cheryll Toney Holley advocates for economic and social justice in all aspects of her community including producing and distributing healthy foods, creating, and encouraging connections for Nipmuc artists, pursuing land back opportunities, and promoting cultural education for Nipmucs of all ages including language reclamation. Holley co-founded and currently serves on the board of the Nipmuc Indian Development Corporation (NIDC) – an Indigenous non-profit dedicated to the well-being of all Nipmuc people and the stewardship of Nipmuc homelands. Holley served for ten years on the Massachusetts Commission on Indian Affairs and is the former director of the Hassanamisco Indian Museum located on the tribe’s Hassanamesit Reservation. As a former nurse, she is one of the original architects of the Nipmuc Women’s Health Coalition which was the first organization in Massachusetts to advocate for culturally appropriate health care programs for Indigenous people. A member of the Worcester Black History Project, Holley is also a professional researcher, writer, and speaker specializing in African American and Indigenous peoples of New England, a passion she shares by compiling genealogies and written family histories for descendants of New England’s communities of color. A mom of four and grandmother of eight, she currently lives in Worcester where generations of her family lived before her.
Band Members-Only Page
The place to find up-to-date meeting information, tuition-waiver requests, and other assistance.