The recent decision by the Department of the Interior to re-affirm some 170 acres of land owned by the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe as a federal trust is welcome news to the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), tribal chairwoman Cheryl Andrews-Maltais said.

In a text message to the Gazette this week, Ms. Andrews-Maltais said the re-establishment of the Taunton land was a rightful move. Plans were in the works by the Mashpee tribe to build a casino on the land when the Trump administration halted the effort.

“. . . . We wholeheartedly support Mashpee’s right to game, the same as our right to game under the [Indian Gaming Regulatory Act],” Ms. Andrews-Maltais said in the text.

The Mashpee tribe’s casino plans remain unclear.

Plans by the Vineyard Wampanoags to build a bingo hall on land they own in Aquinnah are also unclear, after a federal appeals court ruled the tribe was required to obtain local building permits for the project.

In September the Vineyard tribe petitioned Gov. Charlie Baker to enter into formal negotiations for a full Class III gaming license, including mobile sports betting.

Ms. Andrews-Maltais confined her comments to the Mashpee tribe.

“The IGRA is clear regarding any tribe’s right to game,” she wrote. “So we are very happy for our sister tribe. Hopefully this will end at least one of the never-ending challenges to tribes’ rights and sovereignty.”

— Aidan Pollard