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Wampanoags warn relatives about casino push

Members of the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe of Massachusetts are warning their newly recognized relatives about putting too much into gaming.

The Aquinnah have sought gaming ever since winning recognition in 1987. But the efforts haven't gotten very far, to the detriment of other tribal issues, some members said.

"The lesson we've learned is that if casinos are your only focus, you may fall behind in other areas," council member Durwood Vanderhoop told The Martha's Vineyard Gazette.

"It's a real gamble; it's fool's gold," added June Manning, a tribal historian.

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe won final recognition from the Bureau of Indian Affairs last week. The tribe is already shopping for land to build a casino, but also wants to pursue other ventures.

The Aquinnah have formed a gaming corporation and hope to meet with Gov. Patrick Deval (D), who is receptive to gaming. But some say the Mashpee might have a better shot, since they are currently based on the Massachusetts mainland. The Aquinnah live on the island of Martha's Vineyard, where the tribe doesn't want to develop a casino.

Get the Story:
Aquinnah Tribe Hails Mashpee (The Martha's Vineyard Gazette 2/23)