Judge ridicules Interior Dept. document on taking back land from Mashpee Wampanoag tribe
The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe that welcomed the pilgrims in 1620 has been fighting with the federal government over the removal of the tribe’s 321 acres of communal land from trust status.
"One of the worst written documents I've ever read from any government agency": A federal judge trashed the Trump administration for changing course on tribal homelands policy during the worst public health crisis in decades. #COVID19 #StandWithMashpee https://t.co/cy8S8rfnPA
— indianz.com (@indianz) May 21, 2020
The Mashpee argue that the Interior Department that handles trust lands through the Bureau of Indian Affairs—which many Native peoples have for decades labeled the Bureau of Indifference and Arrogance—overlooked evidence when the decision was made to yank the land out of trust.
U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman said an Interior memo addressing the issue that was released March 5 was one of the most poorly written documents he has ever read, peppered with grammar and spelling errors. “And you can tell your client that. It’s a joke,” Friedman told the government after it refused during the teleconference hearing to reconsider the tribe’s status retroactively.
The tribe seeks to build a casino on its land, as other tribes have done across the nation over the past three decades.
Granted approval during the Obama administration, the project faced opposition from Trump allies who sought to build a casino in Rhode Island. The plaintiffs in the First Circuit battle acted as intervenors in the case before Judge Friedman on Wednesday.
Today the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, the Tribe who saved the pilgrims, was in court trying to stop the Trump administration from stealing their ancestral homelands. Here’s a piece I wrote about it for Teen Vogue. #StandWithMashpee https://t.co/eome7zUVib
— Ruth Hopkins ⚡️❤️⚡️ (@Ruth_HHopkins) May 20, 2020
(Crossposted with DailyKos.)