Trump Reportedly Moves To Take Reservation Away From Popular Tribe To Prevent Competition With Casinos He’s Linked To In Rhode Island

Trump's disdain for Native Americans has taken an even uglier turn in the middle of a national crisis.

621 points

As millions of Americans struggle during the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump has moved to steal land from the Native American tribe responsible for saving the Pilgrims who landed in what would later become the state of Massachusetts.

In 1620, the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock after a harrowing journey across the Atlantic on the Mayflower.

That first winter turned out to be really rough. But the Wampanoag Tribe came to their rescue, and the first Thanksgiving in North America took place the next year in celebration of their survival thanks to the Native Americans who treated them as friends.

Four hundred years later, the Wampanoag Tribe continues to exist on the very same land on a reservation, but the Trump administration used the cover of the pandemic crisis to take that land away because Trump opposes a planned casino that would compete with nearby casinos that he is linked to in Rhode Island.

“At 4:00 pm today — on the very day that the United States has reached a record 100,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and our Tribe is desperately struggling with responding to this devastating pandemic — the Bureau of Indian Affairs informed me that the Secretary of the Interior has ordered that our reservation be disestablished and that our land be taken out of trust,” Tribe Chairman Cedric Cromwell said in a statement released last week. “Not since the termination era of the mid-twentieth century has a Secretary taken action to disestablish a reservation.”

“Today’s action was cruel and it was unnecessary,” he continued. “The Secretary is under no court order to take our land out of trust. He is fully aware that litigation to uphold our status as a tribe eligible for the benefits of the Indian Reorganization Act is ongoing. It begs the question, what is driving our federal trustee’s crusade against our reservation?”

That question may have an easy answer. Trump reportedly has stakes in Rhode Island casinos, which would have to compete with the Wampanoag Tribe casino if they build one.

According to Huffington Post:

The tribe’s proposed casino would have been competition for two casinos in Rhode Island owned by Twin River Worldwide Holdings, whose president, George Papanier, was once a finance executive at the Trump Plaza casino hotel in Atlantic City, The Washington Post reported.

Matt Schlapp, chairman of the Conservative Political Action Committee, is a lobbyist for Twin River casinos, Keating noted. His wife, Mercedes Schlapp, is the White House strategic communications director.

Trump attacked Native American casinos in the past as unfair competition when his operations in Atlantic City were still functioning, at one point calling them the ‘biggest scandal ever.'”

He even had the gall to question if the Wampanoag Tribe were even Native Americans.

“I might have more Indian blood than a lot of the so-called Indians that are trying to open up the reservations,” he said at the time. Trump uses the exact same attack on Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in the present day.

Rep. Bill Keating (D-Mass.) slammed the move on Twitter:

Trump is making this move out of sheer greed and retaliation. The Wampanoag helped the first settlers in this country, whom millions of Americans can claim descendency from today. We owe it to them to come to their aid and stop Trump’s scheme. It’s the honorable thing to do.

Featured image via screen capture

Like what you see here? Join the discussion on Facebook over at Americans For Sanity!