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Motion Filed to Protect Mashpee Tribal Land Ruling

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August 24, 2016

The U.S. Justice Department made a decision today to proceed with the reconsideration of the court ruling that would eliminate the Mashpee Wampanoag's reservation.

Earlier this year Neil Bluhm, a casino developer from Chicago, brought forth a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Interior over their right to authorize land owned by Native American tribes as reservations if the tribe was federally recognized after 1934. That was the year of the Indian Re-Organization Act.

In September of 2015 150 acres in Taunton and 170 acres in Mashpee were approved to be tribal reservation by the U.S. Interior Department.

A Federal Court Judge ruled last July that the U.S. Interior Department could not put land into trust for the tribe since the tribe was given federal recognition after 1934.

The Justice Department filed a motion to reconsider only asks the judge if the tribe was under jurisdiction of the federal government. The ability for the tribe to acquire land was not in question.

A clarification is requested to better understand the ruling.

A motion to intervene was filed last week by the tribe in order to protect their reservation status and their sovereignty.

There are close to 2,600 enrolled Mashpee Wampanoag tribal members.

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