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Mashpee Tribal Leaders Vow to Fight and Save Ancestral Homeland

Mashpee Wampanoag tribal leaders vow to continue their fight to retain its reservation and push for passage of bipartisan legislation to protect its land after an extremely disappointing decision by the U.S. Department of Interior today.

“We have been on this land for 12,000 years and we are not going anywhere. This only underscores the urgency of passing the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reservation Reaffirmation Act immediately. We implore Congress to act now,” said Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council Chairman Cedric Cromwell.

Tribal leaders were notified today that a negative finding was issued after a court-ordered review to determine if the Interior Department has the authority to hold the historic tribe’s Land-in-Trust under a different legal category within the Indian Reorganization Act than the one previously issued.

 

 

In September 2015, after a decades-long examination of archeological, anthropological, and historical evidence, the Interior Department officially moved to hold 321 acres of land in Mashpee and Taunton in trust on behalf of the tribe under the IRA on the grounds that the Mashpee Tribe had maintained ties to an existing reservation since time immemorial. A lawsuit funded by an out-of-state casino developer was then filed challenging the Interior Department's legal reasoning. A subsequent federal district court opinion remanded the initial 2015 reservation declaration back to the Interior Department for further review.

“Let’s call it what it is: a grave injustice initiated by an out-of-state casino developer to undermine the rights and sovereignty of native people. This is a tremendous blow to our Tribe without whom America’s earliest settlers would not have survived and it should also alarm Tribal Nations all across Indian Country,” Cromwell said.

“I am asking people of good will and all those concerned with justice for the indigenous people of this land – the first Americans – to stand with us in calling on Congress to protect our reservation and ensure we are don’t become the first Tribe since the dark days of the Termination Era to lose its land,” Cromwell said.

In March of this year, U.S. Rep William Keating filed the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reservation Reaffirmation Act, which if passed, would protect the tribe’s reservation and put an end to the ongoing litigation.

At a Congressional subcommittee hearing on the bill held on July 24th the committee heard testimony from Congressman Keating, Chairman Cromwell and the Acting Bureau of Indian Affairs Director. During the hearing, the panel spoke favorably of the bill moving forward.

“I look forward to moving the bill as expeditiously as possible,” U.S. Rep Ruben Gallego, D-Arizona, said during the hearing.

U.S. Rep Darren Soto, D-Florida, apologized to Chairman Cromwell. “Sorry you have to go through this contorted process for land that’s been in your heritage for 12,000 years,” he said.

U.S. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, called the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reservation Reaffirmation Act “a good piece of legislation.”

About the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe:

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, also known as the People of the First Light, has inhabited present day Massachusetts for more than 12,000 years. After an arduous process lasting more than three decades, the Mashpee Wampanoag were re-acknowledged as a federally recognized tribe in 2007. In 2015, the federal government declared 150 acres of land in Mashpee and 170 acres of land in Taunton as the Tribe’s initial reservation, on which the Tribe can exercise its full tribal sovereignty rights. The Mashpee tribe currently has approximately 2,700 enrolled citizens.

 

Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe

483 Great Neck Road, South

Mashpee, MA 02649

Phone 508.477.0208 Fax 508.477.1218

 

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Mashpee Wampanoag

9/22/2018

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9/18/2018

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9/14/2018

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9/12/2018

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9/11/2018

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9/10/2018

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9/9/2018

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9/8/2018

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9/7/2018

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9/6/2018

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9/5/2018

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9/4/2018

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9/3/2018

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9/2/2018

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9/1/2018

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8/28/2018

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8/27/2018

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8/25/2018

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8/23/2018

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8/22/2018

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8/21/2018

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8/9/2018

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8/1/2018

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7/31/2018

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7/30/2018

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7/28/2018

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7/26/2018

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7/25/2018

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7/24/2018

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7/23/2018

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7/22/2018

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7/20/2018

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7/19/2018

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7/18/2018

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7/15/2018

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7/14/2018

article Tribal Member Questions IGA Reaffirmation
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7/13/2018

article OP/ED: Elections Have Consequences
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7/10/2018

article Town To Hire Lobbyist To Help Mashpee Tribe
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7/9/2018

article Mashpee seeks lobbyist to support bills backing tribe land in trust
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7/7/2018

article ICYMI: Indian land-trust case raises red flags
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7/5/2018

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7/4/2018

article Land-Trust Case For Mashpee Tribe Raises Concerns Across Indian Country
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7/1/2018

article OP/ED: Energy independence
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6/30/2018

article Tribal support grows for Mashpee legislation
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6/23/2018

article Native American Tribes Back Up Mashpee Wampanoag Taunton Tribal Casino Project
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6/21/2018

article Support grows for legislation for Mashpee tribe
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6/13/2018

article RFP Issued For Tribal Housing Development
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6/9/2018

article Massachusetts Gaming Commission Urged to Reconsider Southeastern Casino Proposal
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6/8/2018

article Tribe Pursuses Energy Independence
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6/1/2018

article BLOG: Elizabeth Warren Lobbies for Native American Indian Massachusetts Casinos
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5/31/2018

article LET THE IDIOT SPEAK: Elizabeth Warren takes gamble on Wampanoag casino
(Massachusetts) -- What’s the deal with Liz Warren and the Mashpee Wampanoags? If you haven’t heard, Sen. Liz Warren is pushing legislation to let the...

5/26/2018

article Wampanoag member’s research leads to language revival project
(Massachusetts) -- The Wopanaak Language Reclamation Project (WLRP) began in the early 1990s when Jessie Little Doe Baird, a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, began...

5/24/2018

article As Tribe's Budget Shrinks, Council Salaries Draw Scrutiny
(Massachusetts) -- The recently approved Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe budget has raised red flags for some tribal members, specifically over the salaries of the tribal...

5/22/2018

article Town, Mashpee tribe reach agreement on land in trust bill
(Massachusetts) -- The Board of Selectmen is formally backing federal legislation that aims to end an ongoing legal challenge to the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s...

5/21/2018

article Mashpee selectmen support legislation protecting Wampanoag land rights
(Massachusetts) -- The Board of Selectmen is formally backing federal legislation that aims to end an ongoing legal challenge to the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s...
article Mashpee Tribe, Town Reach Accord
(Massachusetts) -- The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council and Mashpee Board of Selectmen, after grievances aired publicly, have agreed to an amendment to proposed federal...

5/19/2018

article Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Making Steep Budget Cuts As Casino Project Stalls
(Massachusetts) -- The Malaysian company backing the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s bid to build a $1 billion casino in Taunton is dialing back the amount it will lend...
article Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe to Vote on Dwindling Budget
(Massachusetts) -- The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe is facing a future with far fewer financial resources, at least temporarily, as it continues to fight to gain reservation...

5/18/2018

article Tribe concerned about proposed changes to bill
(Massachusetts) -- The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe has responded to a letter issued by the Mashpee Board of Selectmen last month that took exception to a bill that, if...

5/16/2018

article LETTER: Casino is at heart of Wampanoag challenge, and Obama was no help
(Massachusetts) -- Maybe the Wampanoag deserve a reservation, but it is understandable that the rest of the state may not want another casino open. What that would...

5/15/2018

article Fake News Website Goes After Mashpee Wampanoags & Genting
(Massachusetts) -- A bill by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) to allow a Native American tribe to continue a stalled Massachusetts casino project is being pushed by...

5/12/2018

article What is Elizabeth Warren up to with the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe?
(Massachusetts) -- Here’s a bit of legislative mystery which has mostly flown under the radar. It involves a piece of legislation introduced in the Senate in March...

5/11/2018

article How Elizabeth Warren is helping a checkered tribe in bid to rid her ‘Pocahontas’ problem
(Massachusetts) -- She’s never been a gambling fan, but Sen. Elizabeth Warren is pushing federal legislation to help deliver a casino to a tribe with a checkered...

5/9/2018

article HOYE: Reservation Restoration Act rights a historical wrong
(Massachusetts) -- As mayor of the City of Taunton, the question I am asked most frequently is: When is the First Light Resort & Casino coming? The short answer is:...

5/7/2018

article EDITORIAL: Mashpee Wampanoag deserve a pathway to a reservation
(Massachusetts) -- IF FEDERAL LAW prevents the Mashpee Wampanoag from securing an Indian reservation in Massachusetts, then there’s something wrong with federal...
article OP/ED: A failure to understand
(Massachusetts) -- The Mashpee Wampanoag, like hundreds of Indian tribes across the country, once had little choice but to give up their tribal lands to marauding...

5/1/2018

article COLUMN: Pequot police department is overseen by a criminal
(Connecticut) -- It was alarming when Gov. Dannel Malloy agreed three years ago to withdraw state police from regular assignment in the two tribal casinos, even though...

4/27/2018

article Tribe and Keating seek to allay Mashpee’s fears over bill
(Massachusetts) -- U.S. Rep. William Keating, D-Mass., and Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Chairman Cedric Cromwell have responded to concerns outlined in a letter from Mashpee...

4/24/2018

article Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe faces local questions about homelands bill
(Massachusetts) -- The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is seeing support in the nation's capital for a bill to protect its homelands but the situation is looking a little...
article Town Requests Amendment To Tribal Senate, House Legislation
(Massachusetts) -- The Mashpee Board of Selectmen recently issued a letter to federal, state and local legislators as well as leaders of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe...

4/23/2018

article Mashpee selectmen announce opposition to tribe land legislation
(Massachusetts) -- The Board of Selectmen are opposing a bill introduced by federal lawmakers last month that would end a legal challenge to the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe...

4/22/2018

article Native American Tribe Battles to Keep Land
(Massachusetts) -- Money from casinos has lifted many Native American tribal economies and made some tribes rich. Take the Shakopee Mdewakanton in the state of Minnesota...

4/21/2018

article Senator Elizabeth Warren Visits Mashpee Wampanoag Health Service Unit
(Massachusetts) -- Members of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe waited in the rotunda area inside the main entrance of the Wampanoag Government/Community Center building on...

4/16/2018

article Massachusetts Native American Tribe Battles to Keep Land
(Massachusetts) -- Gaming has boosted many Native American tribal economies and made some tribes rich, like the Shakopee Mdewakanton, whose Minnesota casinos earn tribe...

4/9/2018

article Political Notes: State treasurer candidate questions casino plan
(Massachusetts) -- A four-term Republican legislator from Southeastern Massachusetts — and critic of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s efforts to build a resort...

4/5/2018

article In Taunton, a gamble that has yet to pay off
(Massachusetts) -- They were supposed to be first, now they will be last — if at all. For more than a decade, the Mashpee Wampanoag have sought economic...
article Tribal warfare: Two Native Americans say Mashpee Wamapanoag have no claim to proposed East Taunton casino site
(Massachusetts) -- Faries Gray and Cora Peirce trace their bloodlines to different Indian tribes. But they’re in total agreement on one central point: They both...

3/29/2018

article Mashpee Selectmen Decry Lack Of Outreach
(Massachusetts) -- Less than a month after a joint meeting two years in the making, the Mashpee Board of Selectmen has called for more consistent communication from its...

3/28/2018

article Mashpee officials seek better communication with tribe, legislators
(Massachusetts) -- Selectmen say they’ve been left in the dark about an effort in Congress to end an ongoing legal challenge to the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s...
article U.S. Senate Joins House in Filing Bill to Preserve Mashpee Wampanoag Land Into Trust
(Massachusetts) -- Legislation has been filed in the U.S. Senate, similar to a bill filed in the House, that could stop the potential revocation of the Mashpee Wampanoag...

3/26/2018

press release Mashpee Tribe Hails Senate Reservation Re-Affirmation Bill
(Massachusetts) -- On the heels of bipartisan legislation filed in the U.S. House of Representatives announced last week, Mashpee Wampanoag tribal leaders are praising a...

3/24/2018

article Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe hails bill to reaffirm status of homelands
(Massachusetts) -- The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is welcoming a new bill that reaffirms the trust status of its homelands in Massachusetts. H.R.5244, the Mashpee Wampanoag...

3/23/2018

article Cromwell says Congressional bill could be game changer
(Massachusetts) -- Mashpee Wampanoag tribal Chairman Cedric Cromwell says recent comments by the lead attorney for 25 plaintiffs opposing the establishment of...
article Mashpee Selectmen Left In The Dark
(Massachusetts) -- Members of the Mashpee Board of Selectmen were both surprised and upset with how they heard of Congressman William Keating’s bill filed in the...

3/22/2018

article Cheers & Jeers: Congress should protect Wampanoag land [3rd Item]
(Massachusetts) -- U.S. Rep. William Keating, D-Bourne, has filed a bill that would reaffirm a 2015 decision by the Department of Interior to take 171 acres in Mashpee...
article Legislation Would Secure Tribal Land
(Massachusetts) -- A bill recently proposed in the US House of Representatives has brought new hope to the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe as it seeks to hang onto its 300-acre...
article Taunton lawyer calls Congressional bill a double ‘Hail Mary’
(Massachusetts) -- “It’s a Hail Mary on top of a Hail Mary,” said David Tennant. That’s how Tennant, the lead attorney for a group of East...

3/21/2018

article Bill would end challenge to Mashpee tribe’s reservation land decision
(Massachusetts) -- Congress may step in to end an ongoing legal challenge to the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s efforts to secure reservation land and build a casino. A...
article Federal Legislation Could Revive Mashpee Wampanoag Casino Plan
(Massachusetts) -- Bi-partisan legislation filed in Congress this week could help revive the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s casino plan in Taunton and stop the...
article Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe hails bill to reaffirm status of homelands
(Massachusetts) -- The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is welcoming a new bill that reaffirms the trust status of its homelands in Massachusetts. H.R.5244, the Mashpee Wampanoag...
article Taunton lawyer for casino plaintiffs call Congressional bill a double ‘Hail Mary’
(Massachusetts) -- “It’s a Hail Mary on top of a Hail Mary,” said David Tennant. That’s how Tennant, the lead attorney for a group of East...

3/16/2018

article The Value Of Dialogue - Editorial
(Massachusetts) -- Dialogue is becoming less and less common. As the world crowds in on us, with the screens of smartphones casting an apparently hypnotic spell over...

3/15/2018

article Mashpee board to review land-trust suit
(Massachusetts) -- The Mashpee Board of Selectmen will meet Monday in closed session to discuss the lawsuit filed by neighbors of a proposed casino in Taunton appealing...

3/1/2018

article Tribe, Town Set To Meet
(Massachusetts) -- A meeting that took almost two years to schedule has a date. The Mashpee Board of Selectmen will meet with the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council on...

2/28/2018

article Interior Department promises update on Mashpee land in 30 days
(Massachusetts) -- The U.S Department of the Interior has notified the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe that it is still reviewing evidence to determine whether the tribe...
article Tribe, Town Slated To Meet March 5
(Massachusetts) -- A meeting that took almost two years to schedule has a date. The Mashpee Board of Selectmen will meet with the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council on...
article US Authorities Yet to Decide the Future of the Mashpee Wampanoag Casino
(Massachusetts) -- After decade-long efforts for establishing Indian gaming, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe of Massachusetts is still no closer to receiving an approval for...

2/24/2018

article Interior dept. promises update on Mashpee land trust in Taunton within 30 days
(Massachusetts) -- The U.S Department of the Interior has notified the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe that it is still reviewing evidence to determine whether the tribe...

2/23/2018

article No Decision Yet On Tribe Court Case; Timetable Vague
(Massachusetts) -- The US Department of the Interior has yet to render a decision on the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s land status and a timetable for the latest legal...

2/22/2018

article Interior promises update on Mashpee tribe land review in 30 days
(Massachusetts) -- The U.S Department of Interior has notified the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe that it is still reviewing evidence to determine whether the tribe qualifies...
article Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe waits for Trump team's decision on casino
(Massachusetts) -- The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe still doesn't know when the Trump administration will make a decision on its long-delayed casino in Massachusetts.

2/16/2018

article Traveling Wampanoag exhibit adds new chapter
(Massachusetts) -- A traveling exhibition about the Wampanoag people that the Pilgrims encountered when they arrived in 1620 has added a new chapter, now on display at...

2/15/2018

article U.K. theater group seeks tribe perspective
(Massachusetts) -- One of biggest regional producing theaters in the United Kingdom wants Wampanoag tribe members to take part in a “major work of community...

2/11/2018

article Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe awaits Trump team's decision on casino
(Massachusetts) -- The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is still waiting for the Trump administration to make a decision on its long-delayed casino in Massachusetts. According to...

1/30/2018

article Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe makes layoffs as gaming project stalls
(Massachusetts) -- The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe has laid off employees and closed its gaming agency amid uncertainty surrounding its long-delayed casino in Massachusetts...

1/29/2018

article Weeks after layoffs, Mashpee tribe holds job fair
(Massachusetts) -- The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe will host a job fair for tribal citizens Friday in partnership with the U.S Department of Labor, which comes on the heels...
article How the Casino Industry Takes Inspiration from TV and Film
(USA) -- Casinos have long been depicted on screen and in films, so often the backdrop to excitement and action. But the relationship works both ways, and casinos are...

1/26/2018

article Amid Financial Struggles, Mashpee Tribe Holding Job Fair Next Week
(Massachusetts) -- The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is hosting a job fair on February 2 as they deal with a series of layoffs and cutbacks in tribal services. The Tribe has...

1/25/2018

article Deadline Looms For Town-Tribe Meeting
(Massachusetts) -- While no date or agenda has been set as of Thursday morning, January 25, for a meeting between the Mashpee Board of Selectmen and the Mashpee...

1/23/2018

article Mashpee High School Offers First-Ever Native American Language Course
(Massachusetts) -- Learning a new language has long been a requirement at most American high schools. While the typical offerings include Spanish, French, and Latin, in...

1/18/2018

article Mashpee Wampanoag Hold Emergency Meeting As Casino Debts Mount [sub req]
(Massachusetts) -- The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe will hold an emergency tribal council meeting on Friday as increased debts associated with their stalled $1bn casino...

1/5/2018

article Tribe In It Until The End
(Massachusetts) -- Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council members have been publicly silent about how many layoffs and cuts have been made at the tribal headquarters. During...

12/29/2017

article Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe begins employee layoffs
(Massachusetts) -- The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe laid off some of its employees, who are also tribe members, on Friday, citing budgetary concerns related to its proposed $...

12/28/2017

article Mashpee Wampanoag tribe closes Taunton casino office
(Massachusetts) -- Calls placed to the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Gaming Authority office at 1 Taunton Green are greeted by a recording that says, “You have reached a...
article Tribe Gets $12 Million For Affordable Housing Project
(Massachusetts) -- The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe received a substantial financial boost this week for an affordable housing development off Meetinghouse Road.

12/27/2017

article Little Miss Wampanoag Lends A Hand To The Pine Ridge Reservation
(Massachusetts) -- Some 200 Native Americans living in the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota will have fresh socks for the new year, as well as other goods, thanks...
article Tribe, school partnership strengthened in Mashpee
(Massachusetts) -- Collaboration between the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and Mashpee Public Schools promises to increase next year, as the two groups have outlined a number...

12/12/2017

article Tribe weighs in on future of Mashpee Commons
(Massachusetts) -- The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe had the last word in a monthslong public process for the planned expansion of Mashpee Commons, marking the end of the...

12/8/2017

article Wampanoag Tribe moves forward with casino plans
(Massachusetts) -- The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head moved a step closer to building their first tribal casino development this week after the US Department of the...

12/2/2017

article Aquinnah Assists Mashpee Tribe In Land In Trust Bid
(Massachusetts) -- The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe received a helping hand from a neighboring tribe in Aquinnah in an effort to secure land in trust in Mashpee and Taunton....

11/27/2017

article Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe $425m In Debt, Cut Services [sub req]
(Massachusetts) -- Leaders of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe have approved substantial cuts to tribal social services as it tries to address a mounting debt that has grown...

11/26/2017

article Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe $425m In Debt, Cut Services (sub req)
(Massachusetts) -- Leaders of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe have approved substantial cuts to tribal social services as it tries to address a mounting debt that has grown...

11/25/2017

article Chairman of Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Demands Trump Honor Pledge
(Massachusetts) -- Cedric Cromwell, Chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, which celebrated the First Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims in 1621 in Plymouth, Massachusetts...

11/24/2017

article Thanksgiving tribe calls on Trump to grant it casino lands
(Massachusetts) -- The Massachusetts tribe that broke bread with the Pilgrims is calling on President Donald Trump to honor his commitment to Native Americans. 6Mashpee...
article The Massachusetts tribe that broke bread with the Pilgrims is calling on President Donald Trump to honor his commitment to Native Americans
(Massachusetts) -- The Massachusetts tribe that broke bread with the Pilgrims is calling on President Donald Trump to honor his commitment to Native Americans. Mashpee...
article Thanksgiving tribe reclaims language lost to colonization
(Massachusetts) -- The Massachusetts tribe whose ancestors shared a Thanksgiving meal with the Pilgrims nearly 400 years ago is reclaiming its long-lost language, one...

11/23/2017

article Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe calls Trump team for help on eve of Thanksgiving
(Massachusetts) -- In his first-ever Thanksgiving proclamation, President Donald Trump credited the Wampanoag people with helping the Pilgrims make it through their...

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