Meetings & Information


Monday, April 16, 2012

Third tribe enters Indian casino war

Third tribe enters Indian casino war; Mashpee education racism?
  • TODAY's quote: “To reservation-shop in somebody else’s ancestral territory? That’s just ridiculous. Back in the day there’d be war if you come into somebody else’s land. Right? We’d fight over stuff like that.’’
    - Daryl Black Eagle Jamieson, Pocasset Vice Chairman.

Pocasset Wampanoags accuse Mashpees of "reservation-shopping"
Dispute could block local tribe's bid for approval

There are five separate Wampanoag Tribes including ten groups, and only two, the Aquinnah and Mashpees, have received federal recognition.

One of the others, the Pocasset Wampanoag of Fall River, is accusing the Mashpee Wampanoags of claiming historical connection to land in Taunton which the Pocasset say is too far from the Mashpee's territory on Cape Cod, and they accuse them of elbowing into what was historically Pocasset land.

According to the federal Bureau of Indian Affair's (BIA) rules, a tribe must be able to prove historical connections to the land they wish to declare tribal territory before the Europeans arrived, and the Pocasset Wampanoags say the Taunton area where the Mashpee want their casino was theirs, not the Mashpees, and they can prove it.

The Boston Globe reports today that the Pocasset Wampanoag Tribe of Southwestern Massachusetts and Rhode Island intends to file objections to the Mashpee’s land-in-trust application of the Mashpees at the BIA, and legally dispute the Mashpee’s claims of historic connections to the land, according to Pocasset chairman George Spring Buffalo.

An historical consultant working for the Pocassets has produced a 200-page paper disputing the Mashpee’s connection to the Taunton area.

Former Congressman Richard Pombo who served on the BIA sub-committee in Washington said, “There is no question this has the potential to really complicate the entire issue for the Mashpee.

"The Globe reports that the document, reads like a political opposition research memo, and proves that the Mashpee’s historic lands are on the Cape Cod and not the Taunton area.

The Pocasset are also seeking recognition as a federally recognized tribe, but have to date failed in their attempt.

Just off stage and offshore

Meanwhile, the Aquinnah Wampanoags have staked claim to the casino license in Southeastern Massachusetts, and they already have tribal land aplenty on Martha's Vineyard where they want to open a casino, see story here.

There is even a remnant of the Wampanoag living today on St. David's Island, Bermuda. They are descendants of those sold overseas by the Puritans in the aftermath of King Philip's War, but they have no plans for a casino, yet.

Read the Globe story here.

Tribe accuses school of racism
The Mashpee Enterprise this week tackles a serious problem between the local tribe and the town's school district whose superintendent just accepted a job off Cape, perhaps to opt out of a serious and explosive issue.

The weekly reports that a top concern of tribal parents with the Mashpee School District's handling of tribal children centers around a policy change in the use of the Indian education room. Beginning in September, students were no longer allowed to go to the Indian Ed room during the school day, a change made by Superintendent Ann M. Bradshaw.

The program can document success, and professional educators at college level claim their efforts to get the school administration's attention was met with indifference and near contempt, followed by outright rejection.

The Enterprise reports that at an emotional meeting of the Indian Education Parent Committee last week, committee members and others raised a series of complaints ranging from lack of communication from the Mashpee School District’s main office to accusations of racism perpetuated by teachers and administrators.

Read the Enterprise here.

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