Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Loophole Narrows

The latest clarification of Section 20 of the IGRA will make it very difficult, if not impossible, for the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe to claim the 500 or so acres in Middleboro as an initial reservation, primarily because of provision (d) of this newly-revised section (emphasis mine):
(d) If a tribe does not have a proclaimed reservation on the effective date of these regulations {5/23/08 – fiferstone}, to be proclaimed an initial reservation under this exception, the tribe must demonstrate the land is located within the State or States where the Indian tribe is now located, as evidenced by the tribe's governmental presence and tribal population, and within an area where the tribe has significant historical connections and one or more of the following modern connections to the land:
(1) The land is near where a significant number of tribal members reside; or
(2) The land is within a 25-mile radius of the tribe's headquarters or other tribal governmental facilities that have existed at that location for at least 2 years at the time of the application for land-into-trust; or
(3) The tribe can demonstrate other factors that establish the tribe's current connection to the land.

The Mashpee Wampanoag application for land into trust for the Middleboro parcel fails on all of the points above. I’ll examine them point-by-point:

(1) The land in Middleboro is NOT where a significant number of tribal members reside. Most of the members of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe reside in and around Mashpee. I will now quote the relevant sections from the Mashpee Wampanoag’s application to take lands in both Mashpee and in Middleboro into trust as the “initial reservation” now under review in the Department of the Interior. In the executive summary of the Mashpee Wampanoag application to take land into trust as their initial reservation, page 7, paragraph 2, the following is stated:

…The tribe currently has 1,531 members, of whom over half—826—live in Barnstable County (i.e. within approximately 10 miles of the Town of Mashpee). Another 88 tribal members live within Plymouth County (which includes Middleborough) and 70 live in neighboring Bristol County for a total of 984 members living within an approximate 50 mile radius of Mashpee Town.

The tribal population pie chart looks like this

(numbers are the number of tribal members indicated in the application for each county, the “Elsewhere” figure has been arrived at by subtracting the sum total number of tribal members residing in both Barnstable and Plymouth counties from the total number of tribal members cited in the above quote from the application).

I don’t think you can call 5% of the tribe’s overall membership (the 88 tribal members living in Plymouth County, which includes Middleboro) a “significant number of tribal members” as required in item (1). However, you can call the 53% of the tribe’s overall membership (the 826 who live in Barnstable County and in and around Mashpee), a “significant number.”

(2) The Land in Middleboro is not located within a 25-mile radius of the location of tribal headquarters (483 Great Neck Road in Mashpee). The land in Middleboro is located within 44.53 miles of the location of the tribal headquarters. The Tribe’s application includes a Mapquest printout that gives the distance between the tribal headquarters at 483 Great Neck Road and the Middleboro parcel at 438 Plymouth Street as 43.46 miles, the application also includes a Google map printout that gives that same distance as 40.2 miles, see application, tab 10 for both maps. None of the maps provided by the Tribe as documentation of the distance between their tribal headquarters and the Middleboro parcel indicate a distance within the new 25-mile radius guideline.

The Middleboro parcel is also not within a 25-mile radius of the location of any of the Tribe’s other governmental facilities in Mashpee. See the application, tab 7, Chart—“Lands to Be Taken Into Trust in Mashpee” showing parcels and maps for lands to be taken into trust in Mashpee.

(3) Other Factors: Although the tribe can point to the IGA signed by the now-deposed rapist-congressional liar and the Middleboro BOS as an “other factor” that establishes a current connection for the tribe to the land in Middleboro, that connection can and should be challenged. At the same meeting at which the town voted to allow the Board of Selectmen to sign the IGA, it also indicated, by a majority vote, that it did not want to have a casino in Middleboro.
Finally, the most important issue is that the land in Middleboro DOES have significant and documentable historic ties to the Massachuset tribe. It was part of the 26 Men’s Purchase parcel acquired in 1661 from Wamatuck, a direct descendent of Chickataubut of the Massachuset tribe.

Shown on the map below are the 26 Men’s Purchase and the area occupied by the Initial Reservation & Destination Resort Casino, superimposed over a map of Modern-day Middleboro. (Thanks to CDPLakeville for permission to use this graphic)

Obviously, the 539 acre +/- parcel the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe wishes to take as an initial reservation in Middleboro is located within the boundaries of the 26 Men’s Purchase acquired from Wamatuck of the Massachuset tribe. For this reason alone, it should be impossible for the Department of the Interior to approve the Mashpee Wampanoag request to take the land in Middleboro into trust for an initial reservation and Destination Resort-Bingo Hall.

Therefore, the Middleboro “initial reservation” fails on all 3 of the points outlined in Section 20:

(1)The overwhelming majority of the members of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe live in and around Mashpee, not in and around the proposed “initial reservation” in Middleboro. A fact stipulated in several places within the application for land into trust submitted by the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe themselves.

(2) The land in Middleboro lies well beyond the 25-mile radius limit from the location of the Tribe’s headquarters or other governmental facilities imposed by the newly-adopted guidelines in Section 20. This application is currently under review and must meet these new, more stringent Section 20 guidelines.

(3) No only do the Mashpee Wampanoag have no significant historical and cultural connections to the proposed land in Middleboro, and not only do they not claim to have any significant historical and cultural connections to that land within their DOI application, they are also overstepping the historic and cultural connections of another tribe in making their claim on the Middleboro land. Finally, the Mashpee Wampanoag’s only modern connection to the Middleboro parcel is tenuous at best and remains sharply contested.

It should now be clear to all why the hurry last summer. The hope of the backers and the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe was that the land into trust process could be well underway (with the initial DOI review completed?) before the revisions to Section 20 were signed into law. However, the horse has left the barn, the new standards have been approved and are now part of IGRA, and the Mashpee Wampanoag’s application must meet them. When it comes to the Middleboro land, it should also be abundantly clear that as far as the land in Middleboro is concerned, it cannot.


cdplakeville said...

Those darn details always get in the way, don't they.
Excellent work putting it all together Fiferstone.

carverchick said...

Goodness fiferstone....who says blogs aren't effective? Your blog proves point by point exactly what we have been saying all along and certainly something we would never read in local newspaper...the Mashpee Tribe does not have historical ties in Middleboro, they were reservation shopping.

How truly disgraceful that Glen Marshall and the casino investors tried to take Massachuset land and claim it as their own. Also, no question now as to why the agreement was rushed and why Marsha felt the need to gavel into silence anyone who questioned this project....including a Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal elder.

The revised regulations have been a godsend to us and to the true stewards of the land.

Excellent Blog!!!

Bellicose Bumpkin said...

Great post fiferstone. Anti-casino chick bloggers rock!

I'd love to read more about the 26 Men Purchase. I seen it mentioned numerous times in Weston's History of Middleboro. Any advice on getting more info on this event?

Gladys Kravitz said...

Fife! Awesome research! Terrific blog!

Yes it is VERY clear why there was such a hurry to get that agreement signed last summer.

Anytime anyone hears the term "it's a done deal" - alarms should go off.

Great job (as usual),

Fiferstone said...


Found some interesting info. in the digitized New England Historical and Genealogical Register:

It's available as a downloadable and searchable PDF. Search on 26 men's purchase:


Anonymous said...

Nice presentation of complex information and much appreciated.

Jacquie said...

Excellent info and very well said.

Do you plan on sending a copy of this blog to Dirk Kempthorne?

Anonymous said...

Because I have such "great respect for you" I read this somewhere wrote it down for all of my blogging friends.

Stumble aimlessly amid the trolls and waste, but remember what peace there be in staring at your toes for a couple of weeks. As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all readers. Publish your posts quietly and clearly, and listen to podcasts, even the dull and garbled, for they too have a right to hog bandwidth. Avoid loud and aggressive bloggers. THEY ARE THE PAINS IN THE ASS.

If you compare your hit count to that of other bloggers, you will become vain and bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser counts than yours can muster. Enjoy your favourite posts as well as your drafts. Keep interested in your own career, however humble, for you will probably never make so much as a dime from blogging.

Exercise caution in choosing a provider, for the Internet is full of con artists and thieves. But let this not blind you to the virtues of moving your blog to WordPress.com. Many strive for massive hit counts, and everywhere life is full of miracles. Be yourself. Above all, do not feign knowledge, (YOU DON'T!) for readers will not hesitate to tell you that you are full of shit.(BECAUSE THEY DON'T AGREE W/YOU!) Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all the scrapers, sploggers, and bloggers who never learned the difference between it’s and its and loose and lose, it is perennial as come-ons for Viagra.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in the face of sudden loss of access. But do not distress yourself with thoughts your blog has been deleted permanently. Many fears are born of insomnia and lack of caffeine. Beyond a wholesome wheat toast, eat whatever you like. You are a child of your parents. You have a right to post, and to sometimes state the obvious, (YOU WILL, YOU DO).
Therefore, be at peace with Google, whatever your level of search optimisation may be. And whatever your postings midst the noisy confusion of millions of other bloggers, keep peace with your soul. For all its spam, viruses and broken links, it is still a functional network.

Brush after meals. Strive to post regularly.

Dear fiferstone, before I read your blog I know I will have to "stand by for some hard truths"

Fiferstone said...

Fife here:

In the interests of giving credit where it is due, the contents of Anon 3:58 were originally posted on the below-indicated site:


Anonymous said...

You left out the fact that Tispequin was a member of the Namasket/Wampanoag Tribe ansd was also married to Massasoit's sister.

Here are some other facts that lay claim to the Wampanog Tribe in Middleborough.

1663 The "Major's or Five Men's Purchase" takes place with land purchased from Tispequin (Watispaquin) the Black Sachem of Namasket
1663 The "Great Men's Purchase" takes place with land purchased from Tispequin the Black Sachem of Namasket
1667 The "Wood's Purchase" takes place with land purchased Tispequin (Watispaquin) the Black Sachem of Namasket
1672 The "Twelve Men's Purchase" takes place with land purchased from Tispequin (Watispaquin) the Black Sachem of Namasket & his son Mantomapact (William) for 10 Pounds, Eight Shillings
1673 The "South Purchase" takes place with land purchased from Tispequin (Watispaquin) the Black Sachem of Namasket & his son Mantomapact (William) for 15 Pounds
1673 The "Sixteen Shilling Purchase" takes place with land purchased from Tispequin (Watispaquin) the Black Sachem of Namasket & his son Mantomapact (William)

Carl said...

Anon 8:52
Those were real nice purchases, however some of which are in Lakeville and some made even before the Mashpee were even in existance which was in 1665. They seperated themselves very distinctly from the Wampanoag as "praying Indians" and refused to fight with King Philip. Those purchases are irrelevant to determining reservation tribal lands for the Mashpee. The point is the land proposed for a Mashpee reservation was not even Wampanoag land let alone Mashpee. It was purchased from a Massachusek Indian. Why do you think that they said at the BIA hearing there would be "war" if the Mashpee takes the land? I note this very clearly here http://mysite.verizon.net/vzeyh48o/carlscasinoquotesampcommentary/2008.10.01_arch.html#1224520660767
The Mashpee should not be taking other ancestoral lands from another tribe.

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