Tribal Council Members

Rodney Butler

Rodney A. Butler is the Chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council, having served in this role since January, 2010. Chairman Butler’s service on the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council began in 2004, and one year later, he was appointed to the position of Tribal Council Treasurer (2005-2009), at which time he chaired the Tribe’s Finance Committee. During his tenure on Tribal Council, he also chaired the Tribe’s Housing and Judicial Committees.

A local Montville High School alumnus, Chairman Butler earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Connecticut, where he played Defensive Back for the UCONN Huskies' football team. Prior to service on Tribal Council, Mr. Butler worked as a financial analyst at Foxwoods Resort Casino. He later became Chairman of the Tribal Business Advisory Board; an executive body responsible for overseeing the Tribe’s non-gaming businesses and commercial properties. Mr. Butler was actively involved in resort expansions at Foxwoods, as well as the Phase VII housing development on the Reservation. As Tribal Council Chairman, his focus is to ensure long-term stability for the tribal government and its business enterprises.

Chairman Butler is the founding Trustee of the Mashantucket (Western) Pequot Tribe Endowment Trust. He presently co-chairs the Board of Directors for the United Way of Southeastern Connecticut, serves on the Board of Trustees for Roger Williams University, and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Mystic Aquarium.

Crystal M. Whipple

Crystal M. Whipple is the Vice Chairwoman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council, and is currently serving her third three-year term of office. Ms. Whipple chairs the Tribe’s Education and Administrative Support Committees. Ms. Whipple’s Tribal Council service includes two previous consecutive terms (2010 - 2015) during which she served two years as Vice-Chairwoman. She also served on the Board of Directors for United South and Eastern Tribes (USET), and chaired the Tribe’s Administrative Support and Historical & Cultural Preservation Committees.

Throughout her twenty-five year career in tribal government, Ms. Whipple served as Chair and Vice Chair of the Tribe’s Business Advisory Board—an executive body that oversaw the Tribe’s non-gaming enterprises and commercial properties. Her volunteer service included the Tribe’s Parent Advisory Board, Education Committee and Tribal Housing Authority, as well as serving on the Board of Managers for Foxwoods Massachusetts, LLC. Ms. Whipple previously held positions at Pequot Pharmaceutical Network, and she served as executive staff to the Tribal Manager, Chief of Staff, and Tribal Council. She holds an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration from University of New Haven, and is a Ledyard High School alumnus.

Ms. Whipple completed a Co-Active Life Coaching course through CTI International, and presently serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors for Community Speaks Out; a southeastern Connecticut-based agency that advocates for education and assistance in combatting opioid addiction. In her free time, Ms. Whipple enjoys quality time with her family, attending powwows, and working with tribal youth.

 Matthew Pearson

Matthew Pearson is the Secretary of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council as of 2018. Secretary Pearson serves as chairman of the Tribe’s Health & Human Services and Natural Resource Protection Committees. He also chairs the Tribe’s Good Medicine Project Advisory Board, which proactively addresses suicide and substance abuse issues. Secretary Pearson holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Media and Communications from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania, as well as a certificate in Publishing from the University of Denver’s Publishing Institute.

Prior to his election, Mr. Pearson served as director of the Tribe’s High Five Project, a federal grant funded initiative designed to improve the physical, social, emotional, and cultural well-being of tribal adolescents. He also served as a board member for the Mashantucket Business Development Company, LLC.

Beyond his tribal obligations, Mr. Pearson serves as secretary of the Board of Directors for the Eastern Area Health Education Center, based at University of Connecticut’s School of Medicine in Farmington. In his rare free time, Matthew enjoys cooking, reading mystery novels, and spoiling his canine comrade, Bartlet.

 Jean M. Swift

Jean M. Swiftis the Treasurer of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council, and has served on Tribal Council since October 24, 2013. Treasurer Swift chairs the Tribe’s Finance and Economic Development Committees, and serves as vice chair for the Mashantucket (Western) Pequot Tribe Endowment Trust Board of Directors. A Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor and Certified Public Accountant in the State of Connecticut, Treasurer Swift is a Board Member for the Connecticut Community Credit Union, serving as its Supervisory Committee chairperson. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Eastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce, and is serving a three-year term on the Advisory Council for the Internal Revenue Service’s Tax Exempt and Governmental Entities division.

During her tenure on Tribal Council, Treasurer Swift saw the successful completion of three affordable housing phases for tribal families, comprised of twelve new housing units. She also led a financial wellness initiative for the tribal community, covering such topics as social security, estate planning, personal budgeting and insurance.

Ms. Swift is a member of business honor society Beta Gamma Sigma through the University of Connecticut, where she received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration—graduating Magna Cum Laude—and earned her Master’s Degree in Business Administration from DeVry University’s Keller Graduate School of Management in Chicago, Illinois, graduating with Honors.

Jean began her career as an auditor for Coopers and Lybrand in Hartford, Connecticut. After earning her C.P.A., she entered the Management Development Program with the Dexter Corporation in Windsor Locks. After moving to Chicago, Jean worked as the Assistant Controller for the Moody Bible Institute. She later became a liaison to the Native American Bank on behalf of former Chairman Kenneth Reels. Prior to being elected, Jean was an executive assistant to Chairman Rodney Butler and served as a financial advisor to the Tribal Council, during which she spearheaded the effort to bring credit union services to employees of the tribal government and Foxwoods® Resort Casino.

Jean and her husband Wade resides in Preston, Connecticut, and are co-owners of Swift Innovations, LLC of Mystic, Connecticut; a custom metal fabrication business.

 Daniel Menihan, Jr.

Daniel Menihan, Jr. is a member of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council as of 2016, and chairs the Tribe’s Parks and Recreation and Historical and Cultural Preservation Committees. The first of his generation to serve on Tribal Council, Councilor Menihan brings nearly a decade of experience to the Council through higher education and career work in the areas of business management and tribal government.

Prior to Tribal Council, Mr. Menihan held the position of Assistant Director of Bus Marketing at Foxwoods® Resort Casino, having begun as a Bus Marketing Associate and then quickly ascending through various management positions over a five-year period. A 2015 Foxwoods Spirit Award winner, Menihan played a key role in facilitating a number of cost-saving initiatives, as well as staff training, incentives and other morale boosting enhancements, all of which enhanced the department’s stellar reputation. Prior to employment with Foxwoods, Menihan studied Business Management at Mitchell College and DeVry University, and interned in Las Vegas with Friedmutter Group to expand his experience in gaming resort management and operations.

Councilor Menihan demonstrates a lifelong track record of commitment to serving his community. Councilor Menihan began working for the Tribal Council during a summer youth employment program, and was quickly hired full time as staff to various Tribal Council offices at age 17--a career he held for nine consecutive years. Menihan also served as a co-spokesperson on behalf of the Tribe’s Teen/Youth Council, and was a co-founder and spokesperson for The Rising Spirits; a youth-based, community action group that advocated for community and government needs while strengthening relationships between Youth and the Tribal Council.

In his spare time, Menihan enjoys native arts and regalia crafts, drumming, and participating in cultural education activities. His artistic renderings include model replicas of Pequot Villages and historical scenes, which have publicly displayed at Foxwoods® Resort Casino and the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center.

 Merrill Marvin Reels

Merrill “Marvin” Reels is a member of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council as of 2017. Councilor Reels serves as chairman of the Tribe’s Judicial and Public Safety committees.

Councilor Reels holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, and is a graduate of the Leadership Education Advancement Program (LEAP) at Foxwoods Resort Casino. Prior to his election to Tribal Council, Mr. Reels was employed as a table games dealer at Foxwoods, where he achieved multiple dealer certifications in various games, including Blackjack, Craps, Pai Gow Tiles, and Pai Gow Poker.

In his pastime, Councilor Reels is an accomplished athlete and excels in basketball, which he continues to play on a weekly basis. He is committed to self-improvement and education through researching law, health and fitness, civics and biblical studies. He also volunteers as a mentor through the Mashantucket Pequot Mentoring Program, geared toward helping, motivating and encouraging tribal youth. He has resided at Mashantucket since 1985, and as a man of faith and an advocate for justice, is humbled to have the honor of serving and leading the Mashantucket Pequot people.

 Latoya Cluff

Latoya Cluff is a member of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council as of 2018. Councilor Cluff chairs the Tribe’s Community Planning and Housing Committees. A Magna Cum Laude graduate of University of New Haven, Ms. Cluff holds a master’s degree in labor relations with a concentration in human resources management. She achieved her bachelor of science in business management from Johnson & Wales University.

Councilor Cluff brings 15 years of tribal government, business, and management experience to the Tribal Council through past employment within the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Government and Gaming Commission, as well as at Foxwoods Resort Casino, Big Night Entertainment Group, and Fairview Healthcare. Most recently, Ms. Cluff managed two Tribal Council Offices prior to her election.

Ms. Cluff’s community service began with volunteering for the Mashantucket Pequot Youth Council in her teens. She later served as a member of the Tribe’s Administrative Support, Education and Parks & Recreation Committees, and represented Mashantucket at the 1995 Indigenous Games as a basketball athlete. Ms. Cluff was also an active member of the Tribe’s Fox Dance Troupe, having proudly represented Mashantucket in a cultural performance at the 1996 Olympic Games opening ceremonies in Atlanta.

Councilor Cluff lives at Mashantucket with her husband Minter and two sons, Elijah (17) and Jalen (7). She is deeply committed to advancing the education, employment, health and the wellbeing of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, and looks forward to serving her community.