Pocasset Chairman: All Native Americans Should Jointly Pursue Casino in Massachusetts

Pocasset Chairman: All Native Americans Should Jointly Pursue Casino in Massachusetts


The Pocasset Wampanoag Tribe has contended the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe does not have historical roots in Taunton, Massachusetts; therefore, the Mashpees shouldn't hold exclusive rights to a tribal casino license there.

Cedric Cromwell, the Mashpee's chairman, argues the tribe's "historical connection to Taunton, as well as all of southeastern Massachusetts, is well-documented."

But Pocasset Tribal Chairman George Spring Buffalo has put another idea on the table. He suggests all Native Americans in the state, including those affiliated and those not affiliated with a federally recognized tribe, jointly pursue a casino in southeastern Massachusetts, reported The Herald News. They would obtain a tribal casino license under the ownership of a collective tribal nation.

“It’s not [the Mashpee Wampanoag’s] territory,” Buffalo told the newspaper. “It’s our territory. We don’t particularly like people coming into our territory and making money off of it. ...We are looking, like we’ve always been saying, we’re looking for a nation’s casino in Massachusetts. Not one tribe. Not the state trying to pit all the tribes against each other for a license.”

According to Massachusetts legislation approved last year, the state will grant three casino licenses, giving the first application opportunity to a federally recognized tribe for a gaming facility in the southeastern Massachusetts region. In addition to the Mashpees, the Aquinnah Wampanoag plan to seek a tribal license—potentially in Martha’s Vineyard, the tribe's sovereign land, or in Freetown, Lakeville or Fall River.

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cinan's picture
Submitted by cinan on
The Mashpee will have a very hard time demonstrating the requisite relationship to Taunton given their current enrollment requirements place Taunton more than 30 miles outside of the tribe's defined geography in which a Mashpee member must reside to be eligible for membership. No Taunton resident, regardless of their ancestral lineage and community participation with the Mashpee, could qualify for enrollment in the tribe today. That enrollment ordinance is part of the Mashpee's application for federal recognition and one of the grounds on which they received formal recognition as a tribe by the U.S. Government.