Town and Tribe Collide in Court

Town and Tribe Collide in Court

Case Set for Wednesday Hearing Has Far-Reaching Implications;
Outcome Hinges on Issue of Tribal Sovereignty

By JULIA WELLS
Gazette Senior Writer

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Alan Dershowitz Reflects on Issues of Sovereignty and Future of Vineyard

Sovereignty is in the news these days.

It's in Rhode Island, where tempers are running hot in an
ongoing skirmish between the Narragansett Indian Tribe and state
attorney general over whether the tribe can sell tax-free tobacco.

It's in the Hamptons, where the Shinnecock Indian Nation has
begun to clear land for a casino, contravening local zoning and state
gaming laws.

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Its Up-Island Neighbors Urge Aquinnah to Appeal on Judge's Wampanoag Decision

The Aquinnah selectmen heard a distinct plea from their up-Island
neighbors this week to formally appeal the recent superior court
decision that found the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) cannot be
sued because of sovereign immunity.

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Aquinnah Case in Towns' Eye

Aquinnah Case in Towns' Eye

Up-Island Selectmen Will Meet; Neighbors Support an Appeal of Ruling
That Favored Tribe on Zoning

By JULIA WELLS
Gazette Senior Writer

The town of Aquinnah will join the Gay Head Taxpayers Association in
asking a superior court judge for reconsideration of his recent decision
in favor of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah).

Although the Aquinnah selectmen have agreed to join the move to
reconsider, they have not yet decided whether to take the next step and
appeal.

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Judge Rules for Tribe in Zoning Dispute, Puts Sovereign Immunity Over Local Law

In a land-use decision that has potentially far-reaching
implications for every town on the Vineyard, a superior court judge
ruled last week that the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) cannot
be sued because of sovereign immunity.

If allowed to stand, the ruling by the Hon. Richard F. Connon has
the power to turn a landmark 1983 Indian land claims settlement on its
head.

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Massachusetts High Court Rules Wampanoags Waived Sovereignty
James Kinsella

In a much-awaited decision that has far-reaching implications for the Vineyard and the commonwealth, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled 5-1 yesterday that the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) must abide by state and town zoning rules.

The ruling reverses a superior court decision that found the Wampanoags cannot be sued because of sovereign immunity - and it preserves the integrity of a historic 1983 Indian land claims settlement agreement that was the crux of the case.

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Donald Widdiss Returns as Chairman; Sketches Hopeful Wampanoag Outlook
Max Hart

For the first time in 13 years, there will be a new chairman of the
Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah). Donald Widdiss, the first
chairman to lead the tribe after it gained federal recognition in 1987,
returns to the top post after ousting incumbent Beverly Wright, 132-105,
in the tribe's annual election on Sunday.

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Wampanoag Tribe Joins Museum Fete
Max Hart

Beverly Wright was walking through the National Mall in Washington, D.C., last week during the opening ceremony for the National Museum of the American Indian when a familiar face caught her eye. As she made her way through a sea of thousands of strangers, she was suddenly confronted by a huge image of her friend, Berta Welch, staring back at her.

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Tribe Plans Two Buildings at Headquarters
Mandy Locke

The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) is launching two large building projects on the 190 acres of tribal land surrounding their headquarters in Aquinnah.

Over the next year and a half, the tribe plans to construct a community health center and a health and human services facility. The new structures are part of the tribe's master plan - a wish list of meeting rooms, health clinics, playing fields and a campsite the Wampanoags hope to complete in the next five years.

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Wampanoag Sovereignty Arguments Are Heard at State Supreme Court

Wampanoag Sovereignty Arguments Are Heard at State Supreme Court

By JULIA WELLS

Attorneys on both sides of the sovereign immunity dispute in the
town of Aquinnah took their arguments to the Massachusetts Supreme
Judicial Court this week, in a landmark case whose outcome is expected
to have far-reaching implications for every town on the Vineyard.

In the end the case will test the strength of the historic 1983
Indian land claims settlement agreement in this tiny town that is home
to the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah).

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