September 22, 2011
At a meeting of the Massachusetts Commission on Indian affairs today, the commission voted to request the state legislature modify the present casino legislation. The Commission requested that the legislation allow state recognized tribes the same rights as federally recognized tribe in the Casino Bill. The proposed Gaming Bill allows only federally recognized tribes to negotiate in southeastern Massachusetts for a casino, effectively granting the rights only to the Mashpee Tribe.
Calling any action by Massachusetts to grant rights to only one tribe as unfair to the majority of the Indian Natives and Tribes in the Commonwealth, the Commission on Indian Affairs voted to send a letter to the legislature asking that the carve-out provision also apply to state recognized tribes. The matter was brought out in the meeting by the other tribes, and was supported by Commissioners Dr. Bert Waters and Janice Falcone.
The proposed legislation currently allows a federally recognized tribe time to obtain land and negotiate with the Commonwealth. The only federally recognized tribe that appears to have such rights is the Mashpee Tribe. The Mashpees have for many years attempted to shop for land for a casino, but they have been continuously challenged that all locations outside of Cape Cod are not their territorial lands.
The Commission meeting was attended by members of the Affiliated Tribes which include the Seaconckes, Pokanokets, Pocassets, and Chappaquidicks. The Affiliated Tribes challenged the Commission on Indian Affairs to act in a manner that benefits all tribes in the Commonwealth. They claimed that the Commission, which is dominated by the Mashpee Tribe, only looks out for the Mashpee interests.
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