The town of Mashpee, the hometown of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe of Massachusetts, last month approved an agreement with the tribe that lays to rest its long-term land claims.
The tribe has set aside its claims to land in the town and has instead placed all its bets on putting over 500 acres into trust in the town of Middleboro, where it hopes to build a casino.
The tribe agreed not to try to build a casino in Mashpee, which is OK with the town. In return the town agreed to help the tribe put 140 acres into federal trust for a reservation. That application is part of the same process that seeks to put the Middleboro land into trust. Also part of the deal is the transfer of ownership of a meeting house, tribal burial ground and parsonage to the tribe.
Now, the tribe must negotiate with Governor Deval Patrick, who is still smarting from the defeat of his plan to build three commercial casino resorts in the state. He’s in no mood right now to OK an Indian casino, but stranger things have happened.