Court Denies Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s Land Into Trust Appeal

MASHPEE – The First Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a decision by a U.S. District Judge in 2016 to overturn land into trust designations in Taunton and Mashpee from the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe.

The tribe was appealing Judge William Young’s decision in 2016 to overturn 321 acres of trust lands in Taunton and Mashpee that was granted by the federal government to the tribe.

Taunton residents who have opposed the tribe’s planned $1 billion First Light Resort and Casino, have argued that the tribe didn’t qualify for the land.

Chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Cedric Cromwell was disappointed in the decision but remains focused on the next step.

“There’s no question that this is a grave injustice,” said Chairman Cromwell.

“Much of this case revolved around the ambiguity of two words – ‘now’ and ‘such.’ We will continue to fight, as our ancestors did, to preserve our land base, our culture and our spiritual connection to our homelands.”

The tribe said that the decision has no impact on their pending litigation in Washington, D.C. and its land will not be taken out of trust as a result of the Appeals Court decision.

“The Tribe will continue this fight and continue its plea that the United States Congress take action – the Tribe will not give up the fight to protect its lands,” according to a statement from the tribe.

About Justin Saunders

Justin Saunders has nearly 10 years of experience in radio, television, online and newspaper journalism across the US and Canada. Justin joined the NewsCenter in May 2014 and continues to help provide coverage of the Cape and Islands.
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