By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

The casino just got deader

Since I already believed the Middleborough casino was dead, I suppose it would be silly of me to argue that it somehow got deader today. But it did.

The Enterprise of Brockton and The Standard-Times of New Bedford report that the Pokanoket Wampanoag tribe, based in Rhode Island, has sent letters of protest to Gov. Deval Patrick and the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs contending that the proposed Middleborough pleasure palace — which would be operated by the Mashpee Wampanoags — encroaches on their own tribal lands.

The Pokanoket are seeking federal status as a tribe, which the Mashpee won earlier this year. If the Pokanoket succeed, I think we can assume that the lawsuits will start flying.

Kyle Alspach writes in The Enterprise:

Clyde Barrow of UMass-Dartmouth said the Bureau of Indian Affairs will definitely take the claims into consideration.

At the very least, this will add extra time to the approval process, he said.

“The BIA will have to determine whether or not [the claims] are accurate,” said Barrow, who studies casinos through his Center for Policy Analysis.

So what about it? Do the Pokanoket and Mashpee lands overlap? Here is David Kibbe, writing in The Standard-Times:

Last year, legislation was filed in the Rhode Island General Assembly supporting their [the Pokanokets’] recognition. The bill said the tribal community “has existed in the vicinity of their ancestral lands in North-Central and Eastern Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts since prior to the first European contact…. The Pokanoket Tribe of the Wampanoag Nation entered into treaties and warred with the colonial governments, in particular the Great New England War of 1675-1676 aka the King Philips War.”

Middleborough, in case you didn’t know, was a major battleground in King Philip’s War.

My standard disclosure: I’ll be making an unpaid speaking appearance at a fundraiser this fall for, an anti-casino group based in Middleborough.

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Today’s casino update


A couple more drips


  1. Anonymous

    We all know Dan. No need for disclosures. You know what’s good for us better than we do. Must be nice to be so right all the time.

  2. Peter Porcupine

    Terrific!Let’s just void that land purchase which settled the Mashpee lawsuits, and do what the Wampanoag should have done all along – raze New Seabury and Mashpee Commons and build the casino THERE on their true tribal lands!Deval – make it happen!

  3. Dan Kennedy

    Peter: You have stumbled upon an important point, though not, I suspect, the one you had intended. We’ve got a situation in which neighbors are being pitted against neighbors, and towns against towns. Let’s just stop the madness.

  4. Peter Porcupine

    Dan – as I posted on your remarks on an earlier casino post, I lived on Cape when Mashpee residents held its breath wondering if their homes would be taken away. Neighbors WERE pitted against neighbors, and it wasn’t pretty. The offset land was part of the solution.Now – the Tribe is being denied use of that land. As I said earlier, the Binghams are among those who did NOT think the suit should be settled, and it’s important to view some of the ‘anit-casino’ rhetoric through that prism – voiding the casino contract MAY NOT BE the only one they are talking about.To be clear about my overall stance? I am a big fan of tribal rights and TOWN MEETING (grrr…); I’m cynical/neutral/ambivalent about the casino, as I think the State lost its virginity on this years ago. We are exporting humongous dollars to CT – daily Senior Center Tour buses from different Cape towns! This is why I think Patrick will go for casinos – not because it’s good or right, but because stopping them is a finger-in-the-dyke exercise, and we all know what happend to the Little Dutch Boy.

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