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Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Attracts a Crowd Saturday, Fights for Land Sovereignty

The past several weeks have been rough for Mashpee Wampanoag Native American tribe which has been fighting for its tribal rights following a recent blow dealt by lawmakers. Saturday would bring a mass meeting of those in support of the tribal rights, along with other plans seeking land sovereignty protection as an ultimate goal, providing it with the chance to build tribal casino venue.

More attention is set to be drawn to the most recent complications around the Native American tribe seeking to provide its members with the most favorable living conditions. The Mashpee Community Park in Massachusetts is set to witness the official starting point of the rally striving to raise awareness of the tribe’s sovereignty and how it could improve the future of the community.

Rally Organized this Saturday Asks the Right Questions

In support of the idea, Indigenous Rights speakers would welcome participants in the rally at its endpoint and share their point of view regarding the situation. For the time being their names have not been publicly disclosed. Starting at 10 a.m. the congregation is set to continue until 1 p.m. providing all parties involved with enough time to showcase their point of view and arguments.

The rally would go all the way to the powwow grounds of the tribe in the vicinity of the Community and Government Center. At this point, the more informative part of the gathering will commence, with the help of the authorities on Native American tribal rights’ help. A potluck meal is also planned, encouraging everyone to bring their home-cooked meal and stay for longer. Both tribe and community members are more than welcome to join the organized event.

In addition to this, it was recently announced that Town Manager Rodney Collins would make his way to Washington D.C. for an arranged meeting with representatives with the Department of the Interior, as well as officials from the Congress. The main objective of this trip would be holding open conversations regarding the tribal land in trust, as well as other benefits it was eligible for up until this point.

Support Sought through More Discussions

9th District Congressman William Keating stated that the tribe would no longer have the right to utilize various assistance programs. Among them the one aiming to provide help for individuals struggling from the impacts of opioid epidemic. The beginning of September saw the US Department of Interior announcing that a land in trust would not be held for the tribe.

It would no longer be considered eligible 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. This means that its plans for a casino venue development hit a significant roadblock. Previous plans issued publicly 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. Furthermore, this ruling would also negatively affect education as the tribe school would have to cease operation, whereas an extensive housing project would have to be scrapped.

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. Upcoming days would see more development on this crucial for many tribe members topic.

 Author: Hannah Wallace

Hannah Wallace has been part of our team since the website was launched. She has a master’s degree in IT.