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Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe remains optimistic for gaming bid

Filed Under: Casino Stalker | Litigation
More on: bia, carcieri, cowlitz, land-into-trust, massachusetts, supreme court, wampanoag

An artist's rendering of proposed First Light Resort and Casino. Image from Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe of Massachusetts is still waiting for a decision on its casino land-into-trust application.

The tribe submitted the application within months of gaining federal recognition in May 2007. But the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar threw a wrench in the process because it restricted the land-into-trust process to tribes that were "under federal jurisdiction" as of 1934.

The justices, however, did not define the meaning of "under federal jurisdiction." So the tribe remains hopeful of success since a federal judge has upheld a land-into-trust application that was approved for the recently recognized Cowlitz Tribe.

“While this ruling gives a green light on the Cowlitz tribe's application for placing 152 acres of land into trust, it also gives hope to tribes throughout all Indian country seeking to regain control of tribal lands,” Chairman Cedric Cromwell said in a statement, The Cape Cod Times reported.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs is still reviewing the application. "There is no specific time frame for a decision at this time," a spokesperson told NECN.

If the BIA approves, the tribe plans to open the $500 million Project First Light Resort & Casino in the city of Taunton. The tribe already has a federally-approved Class III gaming compact.

Get the Story:
Court ruling could impact tribe's casino quest (The Cape Cod Times 12/24)
Tribe Hoping for Reservation to Build Casino (NECN 12/24)

DOI Solicitor Opinion:
M-37029: The Meaning of "Under Federal Jurisdiction" for Purposes of the Indian Reorganization Act (March 12, 2014)

Federal Register Notice:
Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Fee-to-Trust Transfer of Property and Subsequent Development of a Resort/Hotel and Ancillary Facilities in the City of Taunton, MA and Tribal Government Facilities in the Town of Mashpee, MA by the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe (September 5, 2014)

Related Stories:
Column: Wait for decision on Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe casino (12/19)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe submits casino environmental report (12/10)

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