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Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe's casino encouraged by Dorgan amendment

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September 28, 2009

Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota has introduced a measure to amend the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act. The bill would affirm the Secretary of Interior's authority to take land into trust for all tribes, regardless of when they were recognized.

Dorgan said when he introduced the bill, "Congressional inaction could significantly impact planned development projects on Indian trust lands, resulting in a loss of jobs in an already challenging economic environment and create costly and unnecessary litigation."

This is good news for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. Their chairman, Cedric Cromwell, said in a statement "We're very encouraged by the amendment introduced by Senator Dorgan and we are hopeful that Congress will take this opportunity to resolve the inequitable situation caused by Carcieri v.
Salaza," referring to the Supreme Court decision last February that limits the federal government's authority to hold land in trust for Indian tribes.

The court's decision was a setback for the Wampanoags. It stalled their application to put more than 500 acres in Middleboro into federal trust for an Indian casino.

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