Aquinnah Beach in Aquinnah, Massachusetts, the homeland of the Wampanoag people. Photo: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe must wait to restart work on casino

The Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe can't restart work on a gaming facility until opponents exhaust their legal appeals.

The tribe won a huge victory last month when the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act applies to the reservation. But the state of Massachusetts and local opponents secured a stay of that decision on Monday.

That means the tribe is in a holding pattern while opponents make their case to the U.S. Supreme Court. As long as a petition is filed within 90 days, the stay will remain, according to the order.

“As we previously stated, when they are ready to stop wasting time and precious resources on further appeals, we remain ready, willing and able to collaborate with the town and commonwealth on the issue of the gaming project’s potential impact and positive opportunities for our citizens,” Chairwoman Cheryl Andrews-Maltais told The Martha's Vineyard Times in response to the latest maneuver.

Indianz.Com on SoundCloud: 1st Circuit Court of Appeals oral arguments in Commonwealth of Massachusetts v Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head December 6, 2016

The state could in fact negotiate an agreement with the tribe to resolve any issues regarding the establishment. But every governor, regardless of party affiliation, has refused to come to the table.

The tribe is planning to convert a small community center in the town of Aquinnah into a Class II facility.

Read More on the Story:
Aquinnah casino opponents given time for Supreme Court appeal (The Martha's Vineyard Times 5/23)
Federal Court Issues Stay in Casino Case, Allowing Time for Last Appeal (The Vineyard Gazette 5/22)
State, town request Supreme Court intervention (The Cape Cod Times 5/19)

1st Circuit Court of Appeals Decision:
Massachusetts v. Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) (April 11, 2017)

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