Appeals Court to Hear Oral Arguments in Mashpee Wampanoag Case on Feb. 5

The Mashpee Wampanoags broke ground on the First Light Resort & Casino on April 6, 2016.

Published January 29, 2020 

BOSTON — The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is getting its day in court next week in a case involving its tribal land.  

The Tribe appealed a 2019 federal court determination that would not allow the Wampanoag to put land it owns back into trust. At issue is land the Tribe designated to build a casino that once was held in trust by U.S. Department of the Interior in September 2015, but reversed by the Trump administration in September 2018.

The appeals case will be heard in the First Circuit Court in Boston on February 5 in Boston. Each side in the David Littlefield, et al. v. Mashpee Wampanoag Indian Tribe will be given 15 minutes to present oral arguments.

“Through this appeal, the Tribe hopes to uphold the original Record of Decision accepting the Tribe’s land into trust,” Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council Chairman Cedric Cromwell said. “This appeal concerns the question of whether the Department of Interior was authorized to take the Tribe’s land into trust,”

By the time the Trump Administration reversed its decision, the Tribe had already begun construction on its plan to build the proposed First Light Resort & Casino in Taunton, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston.

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