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Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Members Voice Their Deep Disappointment with Land Ruling

Mashpee Wampanoag Native American tribe got so far when it comes to its casino facility plans, but for the time being the project ’s future remains more than uncertain. A previous decision issued by President Barack Obama was recently overturned, potentially rendering the tribe without a land placed into trust which led to a wave of events and the deep disappointment expressed by Tribal Vice Chairwoman Jessie “Little Doe” Baird this week.

This Wednesday provided the leading official of the Native American tribe with a chance to voice her position in relation to the most recent turn of events which significantly changed the general direction in which the tribe would develop in the future. Ms. Baird stated that the decision issued last Friday by Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney could not be considered the right one, given the current circumstances.

Potential Effect of the Ruling

According to the Mashpee Wampanoag member, this decision is going to reverberate across the states as it has the potential to affect fellow tribes’ future as well. In the days following the announcement, The National Congress of American Indians stated its support of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe in this problematic situation.

The organization made it clear that a detailed inspection should have been conducted by the Federal Department, considering all evidence provided by the Native American tribe in its 54,000-page federal recognition application.

It could be recalled that towards the end of last week the US Department of Interior made it clear that a land in trust would not be held. The tribe is no longer considered eligible to having land into trust since at the time of the Indian Reorganization Act from 1934 it was not under federal jurisdiction.

As a result of this decision, the tribe would be rendered without the authority to govern itself in an independent manner. The only thing giving hope to the tribe at the moment is a potential Congress move which has the capacity to turn the unfavorable situation around with the help of bills filed earlier this year.

Previous Support of the Tribe

It could be recalled that this is not the first instance when the tribe receives the support of other Indian tribes. Back in June tribes voiced their support of the casino project which could improve the economic state of Taunton. As many as 21 individual tribes showed their support of the new casino project and claiming that in 2 different letters pushing the lawmakers in the right for them direction.

However, regardless of the support previously expressed, the current situation proves to be unfavorable for the tribe’s future. The trust land amounts to some 151 acres of sovereign reservation located in East Taunton, in addition to another 170 acres span across Mashpee.

Previous plans voiced by the tribe were projecting a tribal casino resort construction for $1 billion. First Light Resort and Casino, as the project was dubbed would have brought some 900 hotel rooms available for booking to the area as well as competitive offerings such as a premium gaming venue and a waterpark.

According to an earlier announcement issued by Genting Group, also involved in the project, the integrated resort would have introduced new job positions to the area, both temporary while construction is in progress and permanent ones, once operation officially launches. More development on the case is expected in the upcoming days, as well as the eventual final saying of the US Congress.

 Author: Harrison Young

Harrison Young is an experienced writer, who started his career almost 8 years ago. Prior to joining our team at CasinoGamesPro, he worked as an editor for a small magazine.