The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe has suspended its request for the federal government to review whether it qualifies for reservation land, seemingly delaying the tribe’s attempt to build its planned Taunton casino.
In a statement issued Tuesday afternoon, Cedric Cromwell, Chairman of the tribe said: “In a consultation with the U.S Department of the Interior, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe has suspended its request for review under Category 1 of the Indian Reorganisation Act.”
The move marks a surprising change of strategy on the day the government was set to issue its finding. The tribe’s 170 acres in Mashpee and 151 acres in East Taunton, where it plans to build the First Light Resort & Casino, remain in trust despite the online legal wrangling.
Instead, the Wampanoags will now resume their court battle against the group of Taunton residents who opposed their plans for a casino in the city and successfully challenged the land into a trust process.
“We will continue our existing appeal while working closely with the Interior on more options to forever protect our land base, bring thousands of jobs to Southern eastern Massachusetts, and secure a prosperous future for the Tribe,” read the statement.
But the future of the tribe’s casino, expected to cost as much as $1bn, remains uncertain, as does the tribe’s continued sovereign control of its Mashpee lands.