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U.S. Appeals Ruling In Mashpee Wampanoag Land Case

A gravestone dated 1840 stands near the Mashpee Old Indian Meeting House, behind, on Mashpee Wampanoag tribal land, on Cape Cod. (Steven Senne/AP)
A gravestone dated 1840 stands near the Mashpee Old Indian Meeting House, behind, on Mashpee Wampanoag tribal land, on Cape Cod. (Steven Senne/AP)

The Department of the Interior is appealing a federal judge's ruling that blocked it from rescinding a reservation designation for land belonging to the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe in Massachusetts.

The Cape Cod Times reports the appeal was filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the District on Columbia.

In June a federal judge stopped the federal government from rescinding its reservation designation.

"Without providing the Tribe with any warning, and without providing justification or reasoning, the Secretary's action, unfortunately, is consistent with this Administration's constant failure to acknowledge or address the history of injustice against our Tribe and all Native Americans, and its utter lack of interest in protecting tribal lands," Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council Chairman Cedric Cromwell said in a statement.

"This appeal is made even more brazen when considering the disproportionate impact that COVID-19 has had on our community and the toll it has taken on our resources," Cromwell added.

The Cape Cod-based tribe, which traces its ancestry to the Native Americans who shared a fall harvest meal with the Pilgrims in 1621, gained federal recognition in 2007. It has more than 300 acres in the town of Mashpee and in Taunton near the Rhode Island state line and has broken ground on a $1 billion resort and casino.

The tribe learned in late March that the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs would be rescinding the reservation designation and removing the land from federal trust.

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