Aquinnah Files Suit Against Tribal Move
Julia Wells

The Aquinnah building inspector filed a lawsuit this week against the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) to test the question of whether the tribe must follow local zoning rules.

"A genuine controversy exists on this issue requiring judicial guidance," wrote Aquinnah town counsel Ronald H. Rappaport in the complaint.

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Key Tribal Sovereignty Case Returns
Julia Wells

A special superior court sitting is now set for next month in Edgartown on a case that will ultimately decide whether the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) has the power to police itself when it comes to local zoning rules. The case will also decide the much larger issue of whether the tribe cannot be sued because of sovereign immunity.

The case has attracted little attention, despite the fact that the outcome could have far-reaching implications for every town on the Vineyard.

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Aquinnah Voters Face Town Meeting Vote On $2 Million Budget
Joshua Sabatini

Aquinnah Voters Face Town Meeting Vote On $2 Million Budget

By JOSHUA SABATINI

The last town meeting of the Island's political season takes place in Aquinnah on Tuesday, when residents will gather in the town hall at 7 p.m. to vote on a $2,056,058 operating budget and 14 warrant articles.

Although predicting the need for a Proposition 2 1/2 override, selectmen are in the dark as to the exact status of the town's free cash.

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

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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At Aquinnah Town Meeting, the Emotions Frame Museum Debate
Julia Wells

At Aquinnah Town Meeting, the Emotions Frame Museum Debate

By JULIA WELLS
Gazette Senior Writer

The subject was a plan for a cultural museum in a historic homestead high on a windswept bluff in the town of Aquinnah. But the discussion that swirled for more than an hour and a half at a special town meeting Tuesday night was layered with the emotion of a town torn down the middle.

Underneath it all lay the central topic of the day: the recent court ruling on sovereign immunity for the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah).

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Top State Court to Hear Appeal of Tribal Sovereignty Case
Julia Wells

Signaling its own interest in a case which has attracted attention around the country, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) agreed this week to hear the Aquinnah court appeal over sovereign immunity.

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Project Aims to Open Moshup Trail Vista
Ian Fein

The first time Carlos Montoya came to the Vineyard, he took a ride up-Island and turned onto Moshup Trail - the unmistakable three-mile length of road that hugs the western edge of the Island.

"Oh my god," Mr. Montoya said this month, recalling his impression from that 1970 visit. "It was unbelievable."

Now a 10-year resident of Moshup Trail, he characterizes it as the single most important stretch of land in Aquinnah. "It is simply one of the most magical places," Mr. Montoya said.

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Aquinnah Reconvenes Town Meeting
Ian Fein

Aquinnah Reconvenes Town Meeting

By IAN FEIN

Aquinnah voters this week will pick up where they left off one month ago and reconvene their annual town meeting to try to adopt a balanced town budget.

The original town meeting adjourned early on May 9 when it became clear that a large contingent of voters were unhappy with the budget as presented. This week's meeting, a continuation of the chaotic first installment, will be held on Thursday at 7 p.m. in the old town hall.

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Town, Tribe Sign Historic Land Use Pact
Ian Fein

Town, Tribe Sign Historic Land Use Pact

By IAN FEIN

At a characteristically informal event that was more potluck dinner than Yalta Conference, town and tribe officials in Aquinnah this week signed the intergovernmental land use agreement approved by town meeting voters earlier this month.

About a dozen members of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) and a half-dozen town officials attended the signing ceremony at the tribal headquarters on Tuesday evening.

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Moshup’s Treasure Needs Protection
Brendan O'Neill

The Legend of Moshup is an ancient creation story from the Wampanoag oral tradition. It tells of the giant Moshup, the personification of the immense forces of nature, deciding to settle here after a long journey, and dragging his foot to separate Martha’s Vineyard from the mainland and plow up the Cliffs of Gay Head. Scraps from his dinner table are the fossilized bones and teeth of ancient life forms found there.

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