Martha’s Vineyard: Tribe wants gambling dispute settled by feds

The Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe wants a dispute over its gambling rights settled in the federal courts.

The Martha’s Vineyard-based tribe announced plans last month to open a small casino on the island. But the state of Massachusetts contends that the tribe gave up its gambling rights in a 1980′s settlement that secured tribal lands on the island.

Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration filed a lawsuit with the state Supreme Judicial Court earlier this month seeking to block the tribe from moving ahead with its plans to convert a small community center into a gambling facility.

On Monday, the Aquinnah announced it had filed paperwork asking that the case be moved from state to federal court.

Tribal chairwoman Cheryl Andrews-Maltais says the questions raised in the lawsuit are ones of federal law.

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