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Opponents of Massachusetts tribe’s casino sue feds again

March 1, 2022 GMT

TAUNTON, Mass. (AP) — A group of anti-casino residents in Taunton, where the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe plans a $1 billion resort casino, are suing the federal government for a second time over tribal reservation land rights.

The Massachusetts residents argue that a Biden administration decision in December affirming the tribe’s reservation was unlawful. They contend a casino in East Taunton would alter and dominate the neighborhood, and also say the tribe isn’t eligible for a reservation because it wasn’t an officially recognized tribe in 1934, the year the federal Indian Reorganization Act became law, The Cape Cod Times reported Monday.

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The lawsuit names Department of the Interior Secretary Debra Haaland, and Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland as defendants. The Taunton residents previously brought a lawsuit against the Department of Interior in 2016.

Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Chairman Brian Weeden was unfazed by the new suit.

“We’ve been at war with the federal government and the colonists for over 400 years,” Weeden, who took office in May, told the newspaper. “We’ve been fighting our whole lives and will continue to fight for what’s rightfully ours.”

“Our ancestors paid the ultimate sacrifice so they (residents of Taunton) could be here,” he said.

Attorneys for the Taunton residents did not respond to the newspaper’s requests for comment.