Wampanoag Tribe Chairman Cedric Cromwell speaks at a press
conference on September 19, 2015, celebrating approval of
the tribe's land-into-trust application. Photo from Facebook
Thursday, January 7, 2016 The departure of Kevin Washburn
from the Bureau of Indian Affairs
continues to be the gift that keeps on giving.
On his second to last day as Assistant Secretary for Indian
Affairs, Washburn formally designated a reservation for the Mashpee
Wampanoag Tribe of Massachusetts. The historic December 30,
2015, decision comes after the tribe won approval of its land-into-trust
application following eight years of consideration at the BIA.
"Last year at this time, Mashpee was still a 'landless'
tribe," Chairman Cedric Cromwell said in a New
Year's message on Monday. "We have left that painful truth
The tribe now has an initial reservation -- the first of its
kind in the Bay State -- of about 321 acres. The homeland consists
of 151 acres in the town of Mashpee, the location of tribal headquarters,
and another 170 acres in the city of Taunton, where the First
Light Resort and Casino will be constructed.
"We are proud to be able to refer to our reservation, finally,"
Cromwell said. "On that reservation, we will build tribal housing,
to make it affordable for our people to return to their homelands.
We will continue the important work of our language and culture
departments, because we recognize that living among our ancestors,
in their language, on their lands, is the way that we will move
forward into the future."
"We thank Assistant Secretary Washburn for his dedication
and courageous efforts to improve the tribal trust relationship
across all branches of government," Cromwell added.
Notice of the reservation will be published in the Federal
Register on Friday.
Forthcoming Federal Register Notice:
Certain Lands as Reservation for the Mashpee Wampanoag (To Be
Published January 8, 2016)
Wampanoag Tribe - People of the First Light / People of the Dawn
The Mashpee Wampanoag Indian Tribal Council, Inc., formerly known
as the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, is one of two federally recognized
tribes of Wampanoag people in Massachusetts. Recognized in 2007,
they are headquartered in Mashpee on Cape Cod.