The Native American tribe that is hoping to build a half-billion-dollar resort casino in Taunton has received a favorable opinion in their bid for the land from the federal government.

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The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe announced this morning that the U.S Deartment of Interior said the land where the casino has been propsoed qualifies as an "initial reservation," as does land in Mashpee where the tribe is headquartered. Tribal chairman Cedric Cromwell called the decision a "huge step forward" in the cansino bid. But the tribe still needs final federal approval to put the lnad into trust as well as clearing other hurdles before the casino can be built.