The federal government has committed to acquiring over 300 acres of land into trust for the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, a critical step as the tribe seeks to build a resort casino.

The surprise late Friday approval marks the first lands federally designated for the Cape Cod-based tribe whose ancestors encountered the Pilgrims nearly four centuries ago.

Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn said the government will acquire 170 acres of in the town of Mashpee for tribal governmental, cultural and conservation purposes and 151 acres in Taunton for building and operating a gambling facility and resort.

Tribal Chairman Cedric Cromwell called it ``truly a glorious, monumental day'' for the Mashpee Wampanoag, who became a federally-recognized tribe in 2007.

The tribe plans a news conference at the Tribal Headquarters in Mashpee Saturday afternoon at 1pm. (Associated Press)