We first looked at this question back in May of this year but it’s coming back up as a topic of interest. In Massachusetts, the Native American Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe has been trying to get approval for completion of a massive casino complex for a number of years. As I said at the time, this isn’t an unusual request because tribes across the nation have moved to go into the casino business and some have profited nicely from these projects. But the one south of Boston has a number of big question marks hanging over its head.
The issue is ramping up again because tribes from across the northeast will be marching in Washington tomorrow, demanding Congress move on recognizing the tribe’s lands. It’s a process which the Interior Department has thus far been unable to accommodate due to the way the laws are written. (NBC Universal)
Native American leaders are marching in Washington, D.C. to support a Massachusetts tribe’s bid to protect its reservation lands.
The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe says Native American leaders from across the country on Wednesday will walk from the National Museum of the American Indian to a rally outside the U.S. Capitol building.
Leaders of the Shinnecock tribe of New York, the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes in Connecticut, the Narragansett tribe in Rhode Island are among those expected to participate.
To be honest, I’m still not entirely sure where the majority of the opposition to this casino is coming from. One recent push comes from a group named the Coalition to Restore American Values. They have just launched this new ad in opposition to both the casino project and Elizabeth Warren’s involvement.
The fact that the Casino is being financed by Malaysian gambling megacompany Genting is somewhat concerning, but the tribe insists they’ll only be profiting from it through management fees, not taking ownership of it. It’s also true that this tribe’s leadership has gotten into some trouble with the government, including lobbying and campaign finance questions. They were also caught up in the Jack Abramoff scandals, but should that delegitimize the entire tribe? The laws holding back the government from recognizing tribal ownership of the land are wrapped up in a question of timing and deal with archaic rules surrounding the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934.
So there are questions, though I’m not sure the tribe should be disqualified entirely from the control of their lands over this. The real issue for me revolves more around Elizabeth Warren’s involvement in it. As the Free Beacon pointed out back in May, Warren is more than a peculiar water bearer for the tribe in this matter. She has a lengthy history of opposing expanded gambling and casino operations in her own state. She’s also been active in trying to provide more help for those affected by gambling addiction. Why all the love for this particular casino, particularly with its overseas connections, when she doesn’t want home-grown casino action in her own state? It just smells fishy.