Editorial: A 'bill of rights' for Aquinnah Wampanoag relations
"Today, which may be the future under discussion that August evening in 2004, the view is not so refreshing. The issue then between town and tribe was land use regulation. The issue now is defined access for non-members of the tribe over unquestioned Indian land to a state-owned shore. The town and members of the town's non-Indian population believe the access was legally described in that 1983 agreement. The leadership of the tribe has not said what it believes, except it believes in a process for resolving disputes between two sovereign governments — tribe and town.

(Incidentally, that state-owned beach beyond the contested pathways is subject to public rights that have nothing to do with the townsfolk of Aquinnah. One hopes that the state and the town will have in mind the collateral interests of the rest of us as they chart a solution to this dispute.)

Our news report today has a hopeful gloss. The thrust is, we'll all get together and work this out once the hot, hot summer has ended. Working these things out has in the past led to the courts working these things out, and while one hopes that will not be the case this time, one fears it will.

Generally, an agreement such as was concluded in 1983 would not be difficult for each side to abide by, but in this case the clear impression is that the Wampanoag side chafes at the elements of the agreement that intrude upon its changing and expanding sense of its tribe's sovereignty. The result is a querulous posture toward the town of Aquinnah."

Get the Story:
Editorial : Town-tribe relations may need to add a kind of Bill of Rights (The Martha's Vineyard Times 8/19)

Also Today:
Tribe reopens Clay Pit path with call for dialog (The Martha's Vineyard Times 8/19)