Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe ready to build long-awaited casino

An artist's rendering of the First Light Resort and Casino in Taunton, Massachusetts. Image from Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe of Massachusetts is planning to break ground on its long-awaited casino in the spring.

The First Light Resort and Casino will be located on about 151 acres in the city of Taunton. The land -- along with another 170 acres in Mashpee, the location of tribal headquarters -- is officially a reservation as of today.

“After decades of painstaking work, we are overjoyed the government of the United States has officially issued this reservation proclamation, as we are witnessing the re-birth of our nation,” Chairman Cedric Cromwell said in a press release.

The tribe first announced plans for the casino in August 2007. Despite a change in leadership, gaming sites and partners, tribal leaders remained focus on the land-into-trust application, which the Bureau of Indian Affairs approved in September 2015. The land was declared a reservation on December 30, 2015, according to a notice that was published in today's issue of the Federal Register.

The tribe has said it will invest about $500 million in the casino. An opening date has not been announced.

Get the Story:
Mashpee tribe's federal status becomes official today (The Cape Cod Times 1/8)
Federal Government Designates Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Lands As A Reservation ( 1/8)
Feds Opens Door for Wampanoags to Build Casino (AP 1/8)
Tribe Land Declared A Reservation (Cape News 1/8)

Federal Register Notices:
Proclaiming Certain Lands as Reservation for the Mashpee Wampanoag (January 8, 2016)
Land Acquisitions; Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe (September 25, 2015)
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)
Land Acquisitions: Appeals of Land Acquisition Decisions (November 13, 2013)

Relevant Documents:
Chairman Cedric Cromwell Announcement | Mashpee Wampanoag Trbe Press Release | Bureau of Indian Affairs Press Release | Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn Letter to Chairman Cedric Cromwell | Record of Decision | Attachment I - Legal Descriptions | Attachment II - Maps | Attachment III - Mitigation Monitoring and Enforcement Plan | Attachment IV - Response to Comments on the Final Environmental Impact Statement

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

Related Stories
BIA formally declares Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe's reservation (1/7)
Foes promise suit over Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe's casino (12/18)
Non-Indian casino in Massachusetts already sees drop in revenue (12/09)
Opinion: Don't break promise to Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe (11/27)
Editorial: Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe moves ahead with casino (11/18)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe casino site finally placed in trust (11/13)

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