- By Native News Online Staff
BOSTON — The First Circuit Court in Boston ruled against the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe on Thursday in its battle to get land the tribe owns back in trust.
The decision upholds a lower federal court decision that the U.S. Department of the Interior made a mistake by putting the land into trust during the Obama administration.
At issue is land the Tribe designated to build a casino. The land was once held in trust by U.S. Department of the Interior in September 2015, but reversed by the Trump administration in September 2018.
In a statement sent to Native News Online, Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Chairman Cedric Cromwell expressed his disappointment in the Appeals Court’s decision, but vowed the fight is not over and the Boston case will not impact the tribe’s pending litigation in Washington, D.C.
"There's no question that this is a grave injustice," said Chairman Cromwell. "Much of this case revolved around the ambiguity of the word 'such.' We will continue to fight, as our ancestors did, to preserve our land base, our culture and our spiritual connection to our homelands."
Mashpee Chairman Cedric Cromwell testifying on Capitol Hill in July 2018.
The tribe is also working with the Massachusetts Congressional delegation. Last year, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly - and in bi-partisan fashion - passed two legislative proposals to correct this injustice to the Mashpee Wampanoag people and all tribes.
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, Mass., a suburb of Boston.
More Stories Like ThisREPORT: Amazon.com partnering with Puyallup Tribe to Build Sorting Center on Tribal Lands near Tacoma, Wash.
Washington Tribe Waits to Resume Whaling
Indian Country Remembers Contributions of Rep. Dale Kildee Who Passed Away Last Week
Chumash Culture Day to be streamed on Facebook Live
Funding Available for Native Cultural Institutions
Native Perspective. Native Voices. Native News.
We launched Native News Online because the mainstream media often overlooks news that is important is Native people. We believe that everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities. That's why the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers. We hope you'll consider making a donation to support our efforts so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount — big or small — gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.