Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head

Superior Court Hears Key Case

The question of whether claims of sovereignty entitle the Wampanoag
Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) to skirt local and state laws will be
decided in Dukes County superior court, rather than a federal district
court in Boston where lawyers for the tribe wanted the case tried.

Wampanoag Tribal Sovereignty Case Raises Jurisdictional Questions in Federal Court

U.S. District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock heard the case of
Aquinnah building inspector versus the Wampanoag Tribal Council of Gay
Head Wednesday and questioned whether the federal court has jurisdiction
over the civil action. The outcome of the case will determine whether
the town has zoning jurisdiction on tribal lands.

Wampanoag Leadership Faces Election Test

After spending much of the last two years in political hot water over gun-toting rangers, sheds with no building permits and the stewardship of a beloved general store, the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) now finds itself in a state of inner turmoil, its members at odds with each other.

State Aids Talks in Town-Tribe Clash on Guns

The dispute over the right of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head
(Aquinnah) to arm its rangers with handguns and establish its own police
force is now being hashed out in the offices of the state attorney
general in Boston, where state officials are acting as facilitators.

Aquinnah Files Suit Against Tribal Move

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

Tribe, Town Collide

In the view of Aquinnah police chief Doug Fortes, the turning point came in the fall of 1999, when rangers from the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay
Head (Aquinnah) came back from a trip to the Oneida Indian Nation in upstate New York, packing a half dozen Glock nine-millimeter semi-automatic pistols.

People of the First Light Believe In Common Lands and Sharing of Ancient Aquinnah Traditions

We are members of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah). Wampanoag means “People of the First Light.” Aquinnah means “Land under the Hill.” We have survived on Noepe, “land amid the waters,” members of the Algonquin Nation and Eastern Woodland Indians.

Spirit of Aquinnah Is Based on Tribal Tradition of Consensus

As Gay Head entered the 1900s, it was one of the newest towns in the commonwealth. The English settlers at first considered it part of Chilmark, then decreed it an Indian district from 1855 to 1870, and finally granted it legal independence as the town of Gay Head in 1870. In creating the town, the legislature permitted tribal members of the place they called Aquinnah to divide their land severally and establish a town meeting form of government. To start its life as an incorporated town in the commonwealth of Massachusetts, the state gave Gay Head a treasury of $2.68.  

It is Official: It's Aquinnah

One week after the bill was laid on his desk, acting Gov. Paul Cellucci yesterday signed into law the change that has been awaited by the Island’s smallest town since almost a year ago. The governor’s signature made it official.

The town of Gay Head is no more; long live the town of Aquinnah.

Leaders of Wampanoag Tribe Explore the Gambling Business

The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) may go into the gambling business.
Last week the tribal council unanimously voted to pursue gaming as a possible means of making money. The council also decided that any future casino would be located on the Massachusetts mainland.
“This is only the preliminary,” said tribal chairman Beverly M. Wright this week. “It’s just something we are looking at, just like we’re looking at a museum.”