Other Tribes, Residents Turn Out To Oppose Taunton Casino
TAUNTON, Mass. — About 200 Taunton residents joined members of several other Indian tribes at a hearing Wednesday night to largely oppose efforts by the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe to take land into federal trust for a proposed casino.
Members of the other tribes said at the hearing, held by the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, that the Mashpee have no historic ties to the area — a requirement for receiving approval to take the land into trust.
“This tribe really doesn’t have the rights to obtain the land in trust, and that’ll be a stop to it right then and there,” Taunton resident Diane Place told WBUR’s Bianca Vazquez Toness.
Some residents also doubted the reality of casino plans because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling Monday that allows almost anyone up to six years to legally challenge a decision to take land into trust.
But the Mashpee chairman, Cedric Cromwell, said the decision won’t affect the tribe’s push for sovereign land. He said his tribe is on its way to putting the Taunton land into trust.
“The application is real,” Cromwell said. “We’re going to be successful.”
Mashpee officials also said the tribe’s historic connection to the area is well-documented.