A wooden sign advises motorists of the location of Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal lands in Massachusetts.
But in 2018, the Department of the Interior reversed that decision after a lawsuit brought by area residents, saying the land was ineligible for trust status because the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe wasn't under federal jurisdiction in 1934. In March of this year, the tribe learned that the US would be taking their land out of trust.
"It's worth underscoring how absurd it is that the descendants of the tribe that met Pilgrims, who every American learns about around this time of year, couldn't meet the definition of a 'tribe,'" Maxim said. "It's just a perfect illustration of how messed up, and really, anti-Native, federal Indian policy has been throughout our history."
Now, the tribe is in limbo.