AP photoTara Sweeney, the recently-installed Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, issued a decision on Friday that paves the way for a reservation to be taken out of trust for the first time since the termination era. The victim in this age of self-determination and sovereignty is the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, whose homelands in Massachusetts are now on the chopping block.
But the People of the First Light aren't accepting Washington's dictate without a fight. An emergency council meeting is taking place at tribal headquarters on Monday to address what Chairman Cedric Cromwell described as an "unbelievably grave injustice.'
"We have been on this land for 12,000 years and we are not going anywhere," Cromwell declared after receiving the negative decision.
Key to the effort is legislation in Congress which would prevent the reservation from being taken out of trust. With the executive branch willing to walk away from any responsibilities, passage of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reservation Reaffirmation Act appears to be the only hope for success.
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