The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe will reportedly be in a Massachusetts federal court later this week in order to appeal an earlier decision that prevented it from moving forward with a plan to build and open its First Light Resort and Casino.
According to a Thursday report from the Cape Cod Times newspaper, the federally-recognized tribe will have its petition heard by the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit on Wednesday morning but that both sides are to be allotted only 15 each for oral arguments.
The newspaper reported that the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is hoping that the hearing will result in the Boston court granting it the right to construct and run its envisioned $1 billion resort casino on a 321-acre parcel of land located near the small Massachusetts city of Taunton.
The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, which won federal recognition in 2007 following a 32-year struggle, had originally hoped to open its First Light Resort and Casino in the summer of 2017 complete with some 3,000 slots and 190 gaming tables. But, this project soon ran into difficulties after a group of local residents initiated a legal action that questioned the legality of a 2015 land-into-trust decision from the United States Department of the Interior that had given the tribe a casino-friendly Massachusetts reservation to host the 300-room development.
The Cape Cod Times reported that the tribe had intended to realize its First Light Resort and Casino dream in partnership with Asian casino giant Genting Malaysia Berhad but was delayed as it fought off opposition through the courts. The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe was then purportedly left reeling in September of 2018 when the federal government reversed its earlier land-into-trust award under rumoured pressure from President Donald Trump.
The Chairman for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, Cedric Cromwell (pictured), reportedly told the newspaper that the court is likely to issue its ruling in the case within the next few months and that he hopes it will ‘uphold the original record of decision’ by overturning the federal government’s land-into-trust award reversal.
Cromwell reportedly declared…
“This appeal concerns the question of whether the United States Department of the Interior was authorized to take the tribe’s land into trust.”