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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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BIA Formally Declares Reservation For Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe
Mashpee 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 behind."

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:
Proclaiming Certain Lands as Reservation for the Mashpee Wampanoag (To Be Published January 8, 2016)

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Mashpee 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.

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