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Massachusetts Native American Tribe Battles to Keep Land

Gaming has boosted many Native American tribal economies and made some tribes rich, like the Shakopee Mdewakanton, whose Minnesota casinos earn tribe members $1 million a year. But the road to casino riches can be rocky, as the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe of Massachusetts has discovered.

The government’s Bureau of Indian Affairs, or BIA, recognized the Mashpee in 2007, satisfied the tribe had operated as a community since colonial times and that 97 percent of tribe members descended from the historical tribe.

In 2015, BIA designated about 130 hectares of land in trust as the Mashpee’s reservation: 60 hectares in the town of …read more