Canton, Mass.— U.S. Senate Candidate Kevin O’Connor today released the following statement calling on the U.S. Department of the Interior to reinstate the Mashpee Wampanoag’s reservation designation.
The Department of the Interior decided to revoke the reservation status of more than 300 acres in Massachusetts and is removing the Tribe’s land from federal trust.
The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe is a self-sufficient community, with its own judicial system, police force, and indigenous language school. This decision interrupts the Tribe’s plan to create housing developments and a $1 billion resort casino that will promote economic growth in Taunton. This will ultimately have a devastating effect on the members of the Tribe.
“One of the great privileges of my career as a lawyer has been the opportunity to be a member of the Bar of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Courts. I got to know members of the Tribe, learn more about its proud history, and successfully argued two cases in the Tribe’s court, including the first case ever decided by the Tribal Supreme Court,” said Kevin O’Connor.
“To paraphrase a recent statement by Tribe Chairman Cedric Cromwell, the Tribe has always fought and must continue to fight, to preserve its land base, its remarkable culture, and its spiritual connection to its homeland.
“I join with the Tribe in this fight. As a candidate for the US Senate — and as a Senator if I win the honor of being elected — I will work across the aisle to protect the Tribe. Respect for, and support of, the Tribe’s culture and sovereignty is the right thing to do. Now, as always, we must protect our communities and provide justice for all.”