In March, 2012 the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) announced that it had taken and would be pursuing additional steps to obtain one of the three “mainland” casino licenses the Commonwealth plans to issue pursuant to recent enabling legislation. In addition, the Tribe voted at a general membership meeting on May 6 to convert its unfinished community center located in Aquinnah into a “Class II” gaming facility (bingo and possibly some forms of table games).
The Town of Aquinnah’s legal counsel recently opined that the Tribe does not have the right (with particular reference to the pertinent Town zoning law regulations) to establish a gaming facility on the Tribe’s trust lands in Aquinnah. Counsel to the Governor’s Office also has issued a letter stating that it has been the Commonwealth’s position for over a decade that the 1983 Settlement Agreement and the enabling Federal and Commonwealth laws preserve and protect the Commonwealth’s authority to regulate gaming on the land held in trust for the Tribe in Aquinnah and all after-acquired land within Massachusetts. An attorney for the Tribe has expressed disagreement with these views.
These developments understandably have attracted considerable press coverage from the Vineyard newspapers and on the Cape and “mainland” generally. We will reprint many of these articles here, or link to them. A continually updated feed of news articles from Google News can be found in the right-hand sidebar of this page. Click on a headline to read the full article. We are also including an un-edited Twitter feed concerning this matter.
In addition to supporting a wide range of educational, conservation, and historical preservation activities, this organization has a long history of deep interest and, as necessary, involvement in efforts to uphold and apply correctly the underlying contractual agreements, statutes, and judicial decisions that are pertinent to these efforts by the Tribe. The current situation obviously is quite fluid and we will continue to closely monitor events as they unfold.