Second Mass. tribe looking at casino

Posted 3/12/12

BOSTON – In a dispute that echos the one that the Narragansett Indian Tribe has had for years with Rhode Island, the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head-Aquinnah of Massachusetts has declared its intention to pursue a casino in southeastern Masschusetts, according to the Boston Globe.

In a story published Monday, the Globe noted that the issue is likely to end up in court, as the Aquinnah (as the tribe is known) signed an agreement in the 1980s allowing state law to apply on tribal land in order to settle a land dispute.

The Narragansetts signed a similar agreement with Rhode Island, and when the tribe subsequently tried to take a parcel of land it bought into federal trust, and thus beyond the jurisdiction of the state, the state sued. The case was eventually decided by the U.S. Surpreme Court, which ruled that tribes that were not recognized in 1934 were ineligible to put land into trust and thus beyond the jurisdiction of state law.

The Aquinnah, which gained federal recognition in 1987, have asked Fall River, Freetown and Lakeville to put the issue of hosting a tribal casino on the ballot for voter approval.

The tribes request follows a report that the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe has secured an option to buy land for a casino in Taunton.

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