Editorial: Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe casino bid leads to big fight

The clay cliffs in Aquinnah, Massachusetts, the home of the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe. Photo by Jens Dahlin / Flickr

The Obama administration is backing the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe in a gaming dispute in Massachusetts but a local newspaper is calling on Chairman Tobias Vanderhoop to pull the plug on the controversial project:
Last January, the tribal council voted to complete its long-unfinished community center for its original intended purpose. The tribe must complete the building by Sept. 1, 2016, or repay federal grants totaling $1.1 million.

In an email to The Times Monday, Wampanoag chairman Tobias Vanderhoop said, this dispute is “much more than a simple dispute over gaming.”

In fact, it is and has been all about gaming and the potential to reap gaming dollars. Take that out of the equation, and this lawsuit and its unknown financial backers would evaporate.

In the meantime, Mr. Vanderhoop said, “The Wampanoag Community Center project is moving forward for the benefit of the tribal community.”

What it is time for Mr. Vanderhoop to say is that, irrespective of how the appeal turns out, as leader of the tribe and a resident of Aquinnah, he does not support building a casino on Martha’s Vineyard, for the benefit of the entire Island community.

Get the Story:
Editorial: This fight is for real (The Martha's Vineyard Times 6/8)

Relevant Documents:
Solicitor Letter to Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe (August 23, 2013)
NIGC Letter to Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe (October 25, 2013)
Press Release: GSB Client Aquinnah Wampanoag to be First to Game in Massachusetts (November 12, 2013)

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