BOSTON, MA (WBZ-AM) — Massachusetts Congressman Bill Keating is rallying support for legislation that aims to end the trump administration's legal challenge to placing land in Taunton in trust for the Wampanoag Indian tribe.
The legislation, introduced by the Congressman and Senator Ed Markey seeks to resolve the ongoing legal challenge to the Mashpee tribe’s land brought by neighbors of a $1 billioTribin resort-casino slated for the land the government had agreed to place in trust for the Indian tribe.
Congressman Keating says the legislation aims to stop the Trump Administration's reversal of the Obama Administration's recognition of the Mashpee Wampanoag's tribal rights
“We’ve made one advance already…we are hopeful that perhaps that we can get this legislation through at this end of this year or at the beginning of next year just to rectify this once and for all,” He said.
According to Keating several Tribal nations, cities and towns from across the country have written to congressional leaders urging them to vote the bills — both called the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reaffirmation Act. Lawmakers have received 26 letters of support from pan-tribal organizations, tribes and nonprofit groups, including 21 from individual tribes.
“This is important, this allows them to take land in Trust but also allows them to qualify as other tribes across the country do to apply for grants and benefits to try and help them,” Keating said.
Some of the organizations backing the legislation include the United South and Eastern Tribes, representing more than 20 tribes, including the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head Aquinnah; the National Indian Gaming Association, which represents 184 federally recognized tribes; and the Apache Alliance, representing Apache Tribes in Arizona, New Mexico and Oklahoma.
Keating says the legislation has bi-partisan support and he hopes the spirit of thanksgiving helps the tribe overcome the legal assault by the Trump Administration.
WBZ NewsRadio's Mike Macklin reports.