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U.S. Supreme Court ruling in RI will affect Mashpee Casino

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November 3, 2008

MIDDLEBORO - Today the U.S. Supreme will take the case of Rhode Island against the Narragansett Indians, who want to place land into federal trust under the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act. Land transferred under this act is exempt from most state and local laws and taxes. Rhode Island argues the tribe is not covered by the act since it was not federally recognized until after 1934.

The Bush administration agrees with the tribe and will argue the 1934 act allows it to take land into trust to benefit American Indians regardless of when their tribes were recognized.

Massachusetts is one of 21 states that have signed on to the case filed by Rhode Island. The court's decision will affect both the Mashpee and Aquinnah. A decision in favor of Rhode Island could close down Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun and impact the Mashpee plans for a casino in Middleboro. The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe was recognized last year.

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