Wampanoag Sovereignty Arguments Are Heard at State Supreme Court

Wampanoag Sovereignty Arguments Are Heard at State Supreme Court


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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Night at the Cliffs: Homestead Is Ready to Shine for Aquinnah

The ghosts are quiet these days - if you believe in such things - but at the Vanderhoop homestead the screen door still bangs and the old wood sash windows rattle with the specter of a new future.

Purchased last year by the town of Aquinnah and the Martha's Vineyard Land Bank in a joint acquisition, the historic homestead is now set for its first fund-raising event.

The event will kick off a $300,000 restoration project aimed at converting the homestead to a museum and cultural center.

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Tribe Issues Community Center Permit; $1.2 Million Project Impacts Wetland

In the first regulatory review under its own maiden government since
the superior court decision on sovereign immunity last year, the
Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) this week permitted itself to
build a 6,500-square-foot community center off Black Brook Road in

The community center will be built around a wetland.

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Wampanoag Tribe Drops Appeal in Federal court; State High Ruling Prevails
James Kinsella

The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) announced this week that
it will not appeal the landmark sovereignty case to the United States
Supreme Court.

The decision means that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
(SJC) decision from late last year will be allowed to stand, and the
case will now return to the superior court for a remedy.

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Wampanoags Seek High Court Delay
Chris Burrell

Leaders of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) now have until July 2 to decide whether they will try to convince the United States Supreme Court to hear their appeal of the much-watched case over tribal sovereignty.

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State High Court Denies Wampanoags New Trial; Federal Petition Readied

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has denied a petition by the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) to hold a new hearing on the much-watched sovereignty case, closing the door on the last option for the Wampanoags at the state level.

In a one-sentence ruling issued late in the day on Wednesday, the state supreme court denied the motion by the tribe to rehear the case.

The tribe will now pursue an appeal to the United States Supreme Court.

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Town, Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head Trace Their Disputes Across Decades
Ian Fein

Roughly three decades ago a country lawyer from Maine unearthed a
forgotten 18th-century federal law and sparked a series of large Indian
land claims that led to federal recognition for a number of tribes
throughout the Northeast, including the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head

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Land Use Memorandum Spans Two Governments: Town and Wampanoags
Ian Fein

Marking a potentially historic moment for town-tribal relations, Aquinnah voters next week will decide whether to adopt an untested land use agreement that bridges two governments: the town and the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah).

The purpose of the document is to resolve a longtime dispute over who has authority to issue permits, and to prevent future lawsuits like the four-year landmark sovereignty case that cost the town, tribe and private citizens a great deal of money and goodwill.

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Town, Wampanoag Tribe Find Hopeful Consensus on Land Use Permitting
Ian Fein

Resurrecting hopes for a peaceful accord in the small town of Aquinnah, town and tribal officials this week embraced a revised intergovernmental land use agreement and pledged to bring it before their respective constituencies for a vote.

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Wampanoag Tribe Will Apply for Aquinnah Building Permits
Ian Fein

Closing a chapter in the landmark sovereignty case, the Wampanoag
Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) this week agreed to submit town permit
applications for the shed and pier it built on Menemsha Pond in 2001.

The announcement comes at a time of renewed cooperation and
communication between the town and tribe, and marks a significant moment
in the long-running case that has garnered widespread attention and
reached the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

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