Last month Congressman Bill Keating, Senators Markey and Warren, the Massachusetts Congressional delegation and a bi-partisan coalition of legislators introduced the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reservation Reaffirmation Act.
This bill re-affirms the positive decision by the Department of Interior to create a reservation for the tribe.
It is not the first time our Congressional delegation has strongly supported the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. Our delegation has supported us on so many other occasions - such as during the exhaustive federal recognition process; developing legislative options during the land claim litigation; throughput the lengthy and bureaucratic land in trust application review; and - once again - today as the Tribe seeks legislation to reaffirm its reservation.
As everyone knows, over the past year we have been fighting a legal battle to protect our reservation. The Tribe has been very clear about its options for quite some time.
In fact, during the recent March 5th Joint Tribal Council-Board of Selectmen meeting, we outlined our four approaches to protecting the Tribe's reservation - continue the administrative appeal route; litigation, the Congressional-legislative route; and a land claim settlement.
At this meeting, the Selectmen reaffirmed their support for tribe's reservation, and also offered the Tribe any assistance that we might need as we move forward. We thanked them for their generous offer.
We very much appreciate all the bipartisan support and help from Senators Markey and Warren, Congressman Keating and the entire Massachusetts House delegation and the Republican leaders who have embraced this cause. This civil rights initiative is receiving widespread praise and support.