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Cree-Michelle "Bright Spirit" Burgess

Tribal Council

Grandpop, the late Chief Webster Custalow, sent me beautiful handwritten love notes when I was in college, which I still cherish and possess 30 years later.  He wrote, “Sugar you are going to do BIG things.  Let your BRIGHT SPIRIT shine.   Even when others don’t know any better- you go be better than them ALL….”  

Sadly, not only was Grandpop speaking of the world itself but of our own tribal family.  At that young age,  I didn’t yet understand the depth of how his words would guide me in the future.  Grandpop’s unconditional love and acceptance of me fueled my spirit then and I now know that his message of love and acceptance is meant to unite all of the tribal families. As his heartfelt words of advice healed me then, so too can it heal others now.  Let his words be a bright light that brings all Mattaponi descendants home.  

We Mattaponi People have got to do better, be better and create a community  that will pave the way for all of our children.  My mission is to bring ALL of our beautiful families back home to the great Mattaponi Nation- to restore our reputation, to unify, heal and strengthen our community by making much needed changes that will empower everyone for generations to come. I plan to use my gifts to help others, especially our youth to learn how to tap into and cultivate their own unique gifts.  

I am a long-time educator- a teacher, a counselor, a professional life-coach, world traveler and adventurer into other nations, tribes and reservations, but more important than ALL of that, I am a healer, an intuitive empath and a strong Mattaponi/ Taino woman.  I am a mother and a grandmother (“Bella”) to some beautiful souls who by their own right will contribute greatly to our family and tribal legacy. I am the wife to a very supportive and kind soul who encourages me to put the work in with nurturing yet unwavering determination for great resolution. I am a daughter to a gem of a woman who has always told me to claim my rightful place and a family member to some very beautiful Indigenous warriors whose stories and experiences inspire me to do the work that must be done.

Together, with great fervor and enthusiasm, we will bring a brighter light back to the reservation and our people. I know you have questions too and I know you want and expect better. We, the elected Mattaponi Council, will be relentlessly working on behalf of EVERYONE to make positive changes. You can count on that, and you can count on me, which is why I wholeheartedly take on this responsibility and gracefully accept both the nomination and the election of council woman by our resilient Mattaponi People.


May the Creator continue to guide and protect us ALL.

Peace and Love,

Cree-Michelle "Bright Spirit" Burgess

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Cree-Michelle "Bright Spirit" Burgess
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