Feds Oppose Latest Legal Efforts to Block Tribe Reservation and Casino in Massachusetts | Recent news

BOSTON (AP) — Federal authorities are opposing renewed efforts to blockade a Massachusetts tribe’s sovereign reservation and its planned resort casino.

The U.S. Department of the Interior, in a legal filing in federal court in Boston on January 14, argues that the court should reject an opponents’ offer to reopen a federal court challenge to the 300-plus-acre reservation. of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe in southeastern Massachusetts. .

The agency said any effort to revive old litigation was “moot” since the Biden administration issued a new ruling in December upholding the tribe’s reservation and reversing a controversial Trump-era effort to quash the name.

“The plaintiffs are trying to obscure this fact by claiming that they want to ‘return’ to the claims they put forward,” the Home Office said in its filing. “But there is nothing to return.”

A group of residents of Taunton, where the tribe is planning a billion dollar resort casino, argues the tribe is not eligible for a reservation because it was not an officially recognized tribe in 1934, the year the Federal Indian Reorganization Act came into effect.

They also argue that the Tribe’s lands at Taunton should not have been included in his reservation because they were not part of the Cape Cod Tribe’s historic estate. The tribe’s reservation encompasses approximately 170 acres in the town of Mashpee and an additional 150 acres in Taunton.

Lawyers for the anti-casino group did not respond to emails seeking comment this week.

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, meanwhile, asked the court this month to join the case as a defendant so it can “fully defend” its rights and interests.

Lawyers for the tribe say opponents of the casino have “engaged in a relentless attack” that “stifles the tribe’s ability to lift itself out of poverty, interferes with tribal housing development and makes it increasingly difficult to provide health services to combat COVID -19, addiction and mental health.

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