The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s ambitions to build a casino in Taunton, Massachusetts, have suffered a serious setback. This setback is due to the tribe abandoning its efforts to get the Department of the Interior to designate the land around its new casino as sovereign tribal land. It will be interesting to see how the situation pans out going forward.
Mashpee Wampanoag Casino Supported by Many
The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe gained federal status back in 2007. Its tribe has already started construction on its new casino, which is rumoured to cost $1 billion. The tribe has been funded by Genting, the Malaysian casino company, and the project is supported by the local town mayor and Senator John Kerry, who is from the state of Massachusetts.
While the project has plenty of support, there are also those against it. Namely, homeowners in the area. Back in 2015, the Department of the Interior ruled that 151 acres of land in Taunton was sovereign Mashpee land, which was 35 miles away from its base. This didn’t sit well with the homeowners in the area, who opened a court case in 2016, claiming that the tribe had no basis to claim sovereign land. This was due to the fact that the land in question had been recently acquired for the sole purpose of constructing a casino.
All Tribal Land Could Be in Jeopardy
Rewind the clocks back to April 2016, a US District Court Judge ruled that the Department of the Interior had incorrectly given the land to the tribe, as it bypassed a Supreme Court ruling. This decision by the District Court actually puts all of the Mashpee Wampanoag’s land in jeopardy.
However, the tribe said it would continue to work with the department and protect its sovereign land. It also remains committed to completing the casino and providing thousands of jobs for state residents, as well as financial prosperity for Massachusetts.
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