Foes raise money to fight Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe casino

The flag of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe flies at the newly-declared reservation in Mashpee, Massachusetts. Photo by Paul E Goddu / Facebook

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe of Massachusetts raised its flag for the first time on its new reservation on Monday as opponents vowed a court fight over plan for a long-awaited casino.

A group called Preserving Taunton's Future is raising funds for litigation, The Taunton Daily Gazette reported. Although details haven't been disclosed, it's expected that the case will center on the U.S. Supreme Court decision in decision Carcieri v. Salazar.

"We’ll do everything humanly possible to raise the money we need and if necessary bring this all the way to the Supreme Court," organizer Michelle Littlefield told the paper.

The Carcieri decision restricts the land-into-trust process to tribes that were "under federal jurisdiction" as of 1934. The Mashpees didn't gain federal recognition until May 2007 but the BIA determined that the tribe lived on a reservation in 1934.

That reservation includes land in present-day Mashpee, the site of tribal headquarters. The tribe's land-into-trust application, includes about 170 acres in the town.

Another 151 acres in the city of Taunton will be used for the First Light Resort and Casino. The tribe plans to break ground this spring.

"We will move forward with all of the important and necessary infrastructure development and services for our people on our homelands," Chairman Cedric Cromwell said on Facebook. "We will increase our homeland base. We will build First Light, First-Class Destination Resort Casino in the Great City of Taunton."

Get the Story:
Wampanoag win federal designation of Taunton, Mashpee land; opposition promises legal battle (The Taunton Daily Gazette 1/9)
Wampanoag Tribe raising sovereign flag for first time on Mashpee land today (The Taunton Daily Gazette 1/11)

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
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe ready to build long-awaited casino (1/8)
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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