Pequot Museum at Foxwoods – Native American Heritage Month Honoring Mother Earth

In 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations, under variants on the name (including “Native American Heritage Month” and “National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month”) have been issued each year since 1994.  This month, we continue to honor those who were native to this land.

Last Friday the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation hosted a kick-off event themed, “Honoring Mother Earth. The event at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center included an art display, environmental poems written by Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Members, social dances, flute player, crafts, vendors, photo opportunities and much more.

Mashetucket Pequot Museum, Foxwoods

An exhibit at the Pequot Museum now until November 18th, “Our” Story: 400 Years of Wampanoag History,” is an educational and cultural exhibit about the history and traditions of the Wampanoag Tribe, and revisits events that have been historical footnotes until now despite the significant impact they had on colonization. The exhibit was created to bring to light key legacies of America’s earliest beginnings from the Wampanoag perspective, a perspective that has largely been left out of the narrative of this iconic moment in American history.

Veterans Powwow

This weekend, the Pequot Tribal Nation is thanking this Country’s greatest heroes at our 2017 Veterans Powwow. This event is open to all Native and non-native veterans, active duty military and their families, museum members as well as the general public.  Free Admission:

The following individuals are allowed free admission into the museum during the Veterans Powwow

– Native and non-native veterans with ID and one (1) guest

– Native and non-native active duty military and one (1) guest

– Museum Members

– Children under 6

Complimentary Food:To honor and thank service members we will be offering a complimentary meal of succotash or chowder and corn cakes or fry bread to veterans/active duty military and one (1) guest.

Guests (adults, seniors, students and youth 6-17) can purchase powwow access tickets only for $10 if they want to experience only the powwow in the Gathering Space. Children under 6 are free.

Food Specials

FEAST : A NATIVE THANKSGIVING – On Saturday, November 18, from  3:00 pm – 5:00 pm, enjoy a feast – a very special Native Thanksgiving Buffet Dinner. Enjoy entrees like stuffed fish, venison roast, Indian stuffed pumpkin, and of course, turkey!  The buffet features locally sourced, made by Chef Sherry, delicious items including breads, soups, salads, sides, entrees and desserts. Museum Members – $55
Non-museum Members – $75
Children 12 and under* – $35 (Same price for member child/non-member child)

Members are invited, from 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm, for a special happy hour with complimentary hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. 

In Foxwoods Resort Casino, in honor of Native American Heritage Month, Cedars Steakhouse and the Veranda Cafe will be offering native american cuisine every Wednesday & Thursday in November.

For more information and a calendar of events, go to Pequot Museum.

Binbin

CT Sign

Connecticut’s Third Casino – Four Links to the Latest Spin

Oh, what a tangled web we weave….

The addition of a third casino in Connecticut continues to drag on, while MGM Springfield continues to rise ahead of schedule.  The spin on the latest events in this “battle at the border” between Massachusetts and the Nutmeg State continues to grind. The many talking heads involved are all after the same thing – control, or at least having a piece, of the New England Casino landscape.

To keep you up-to-date, NETimeGambling is providing this time line of the last two weeks’ events, with links to articles that explain further.

MAY 1st “Finance committee allows its third-casino bill to die”

Connecticut State Capitol

As reported in the Day by Brian Hallenbeck, a bill that was meant to call for commercial competitive bidding for a third casino was never sent to the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee, causing it to fail on the House floor.  The bill “encountered considerable opposition.” Contrary to that opposition, due to expected losses in state jobs and revenue, was the following article……

May 17th “MGM poll: 71% of likely voters want open bid for third casino”

It seems that MGM Resorts International, which is building MGM Springfield Casino/Resort 15 minutes north over the CT/MA border, knows what is best for Connecticut.  They have known all along, if you trace the history of this casino war – or so MGM feels they do. According to Eric Bedner of the Journal Inquirer in RI just a few days ago, MGM revealed that a statewide survey (commissioned in part by MGM Resorts International) shows that 71 percent of likely Connecticut voters support legislation that would establish a competitive bid process for a third casino.  WOW!  That’s just the opposite, and a very high percentage, that want competitive bidding!  But wasn’t there opposition to that? (read above article).  And the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes released a study by gaming expert Dr. Clyde Barrow that shows the competitive bid process could cost CT up to $85.6 million annually. “”There is no math that makes Connecticut’s first commercial gaming enterprise work for the state if it’s not operated by the two federally recognized tribes,” wrote Dr. Barrow. “For the State of Connecticut to merely break even in terms of state revenue, a competitively bid third casino would need to generate $1.063 billion in gross gaming revenue annually. There is not a single commercial casino in the United States generates that level of gaming revenue.”

In case you’re wondering why MGM is in favor of a casino being built, it is not due to a new found empathy towards Connecticut.  It is simply because MGM could build another casino in south-western CT, but not near the border where the joint venture of the Pequots & Mohegans would build.  Why? – MGM’s agreement with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts includes not building a competing casino within a radius of 90 miles, which crosses over into Connecticut to far to be considered near Hartford and north.  But, days before this…….

May 16th – Schaghticokes Push Back As State Seeks To Dismiss Lawsuit

Schaghticokes were denied recognition by state.

Schaghticokes were denied recognition by state.

The Schaghticoke Tribal Nation from Kent, CT in the north-western part of the state, continues to insist on its due piece of the casino pie. For and explanation previous history of the Schaghticokes & MGM, check out a previous NETimeGambling post entitled “Casino Industry Finds Strange Bedfellows In Connecticut & Maine.”  The difficulty for the tribe from Kent is that they are still not federally recognized.

May 18th – Tribes get BIA letter helpful to their bid for a third casino

Kevin Brown, left, Chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council and Rodney Butler, right, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council,

Kevin Brown, left, Chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council and Rodney Butler, right, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council,

The CT Mirror and  have been on top of the third casino situation since its inception.  Recently, they reported  the Bureau of Indian Affairs confirmed that “A commercial casino operated by Connecticut’s two federally recognized tribes would not jeopardize their revenue-sharing deal with the state,” contrary to other reports surfacing, influenced by MGM.  It had been rumored, around the time of both casino bills being published, that the third casino by MMCT (the joint venture of Pequots & Mohegans)  would “invalidate a deal in which the tribes were granted exclusive rights to casino gambling in Connecticut in return for a 25 percent share of gross slots revenues.” This recent article by The Mirror explains the most recent opinion handed down by the BIA.

After reading these posts and articles, what do you think is going to happen?  Many questions remain.  But who is most concerned about Connecticut’s third casino?

  • How worried is Connecticut in losing jobs, revenue, and diminishing the huge 1-2 gaming punch that Foxwoods and the Sun have brought to New England and the US?
  • How worried is Massachusetts in the fruition of success that MGM Springfield has promised?
  • How worried is MGM International concerning their latest project in Springfield – the invention of the “urban casino/resort?”

Only time will tell.  That’s all for now.

Binbin

Martha’s Vineyard Decision Reversed

Earlier in July of 2015, Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head tribal officials announced that they planned to convert an unfinished community center on the island into a gambling venue. Let’s be real, this is not a world-class casino proposal. The building, which spreads over 6,500 square feet, is located on Aquinnah Wampanoag reservation land, was intended to be a Class II Bingo hall.  People will not be flocking from across the country to visit this casino, instead of visiting Twin River, Newport, Wynn Boston Harbor or the CT casinos.

Wampanoag Community Center and Future Bingo Hall gets new life.

But the tribe was ordered by a federal judge to stop the construction of a building located on Martha’s Vineyard.  Why?

1) the tribe started construction work without acquiring the necessary building permit, and 2)  under certain zoning restrictions, a casino venue is prohibited from being opened there.

Martha's Vineyard MapAlso, according to local officials, the tribe forfeited its right to offer gaming on their land when they signed a land settlement agreement in 1983, an act that subjects them to state and local laws.

In order to prevent the tribe from proceeding with its plan, Aquinnah officials had filed an injunction to the U.S. District Court. Scott D. Crowell, lawyer for the Aquinnah Wampanoag, argued that authorities’ jurisdiction over the tribe is limited. In addition, under the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, (five years after the initial land settlement agreement) the tribe has the right to run a gambling property on reservation land and it cannot be denied that right or at least not by the town. In other words, they cannot ban the project.

When Native Tribes across the country are being allowed to thrive and raise the quality of life for their communities, why is New England seemingly so anti-Native American?

Well, that could be changing.

According to NECN, that gambling hall on Martha’s Vineyard gained a second life Tuesday after a federal appeals court reversed a lower court decision blocking the long-sought project.

“The decision made public Tuesday ruled the Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe exercises sufficient government powers on its lands to be considered a sovereign tribal nation that can conduct limited gambling under federal law without seeking local approvals. ……Supporters within the tribe have countered that casino revenues, which tribal leaders have suggested could be as much as $4.5 million a year, would allow their government to offer more critical services where the majority of its citizens live off island, in parts of southeastern Massachusetts near the Rhode Island state line.”

Tribal nation sovereignty has been given a boost, as it should.

Binbin