A rift is widening between Native American groups in New England over who has claim to scores of acres south of Boston where one tribe has been trying for years to build a $1 billion casino.

The Mattakeeset Massachuset Tribe contends the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe doesn't have a claim to the lands under their planned First Light casino in Taunton, as they've argued for years. They want the Mashpee tribe, which famously traces its ancestry to the Indians that first encountered the Pilgrims, as well as state and local authorities, to respect their land claim.

In other tribal casino news, leaders of Connecticut's two federally recognized Native American tribes said they've decided to temporarily set aside plans to open a long-delayed, jointly-owned casino near the Massachusetts border.

In a statement released Wednesday, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and Mohegan Tribe said they need to focus on their existing casinos, which have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

The tribes said they still believe the $300 million Tribal Winds casino project in East Windsor, which has faced numerous hurdles since 2015, is a viable project that will open when the casino market improves. They've already invested at least $16 million.

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