The Department of Justice has filed a motion asking a federal judge to reconsider a recent ruling that blocked the development of the proposed Mashpee Wampanoag casino in Taunton, Boston Globe reports.
In July, US District Judge William G. Young ruled that the federal government erred last year when it approved the $1 billion Indian gaming venue, named First Light Resort and Casino on the basis that the tribe was not formally recognized by the federal government at the time of the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act.
In its recent motion, the Justice Department contended that Young was mistaken when he equated “federal recognition” with “federal jurisdiction,” and asked him to return the matter to the Interior Department for further consideration.
Cedric Cromwell, the Mashpee tribal council chairman said he welcomed the Justice Department’s decision to seek reconsideration.
“We’ve been on our land for thousands of years, and all we seek is the right to exist here as a sovereign people,” he said. “It was promised to us soon after the first Pilgrims arrived, and it’s a promise we hope the courts will honor.”
The tribe has halted construction on the casino since Young’s decision.
In January, Kevin Jones, president of Genting Massachusetts confirmed the project would be run by the Genting Group. The resort will include a 150,000 square foot casino, 600 hotel rooms, 3,000 slot machines, 150 table games and 40 poker tables as well as an event center. It is expected to open in 2018.