A six-year-old agreement between the town of Aquinnah and the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) that spelled out a detailed process for government-to-government collaboration on land use projects has been severed by the tribe.
In a Feb. 11 letter to the Aquinnah selectmen, tribal chairman Cheryl Andrews-Maltais notified the board that the tribal council had voted on Feb. 2 to terminate the intergovernmental agreement. “This letter shall serve as the required 30 days written notice of termination,” Mrs. Andrews-Maltais wrote.
Signed by both sides in 2007 after months of negotiations, the 12-page agreement among other things calls for a parallel regulatory process between the town and the tribe on land use projects, including mediation in the event of a dispute. The agreement followed a 2004 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision that said the federally-recognized Wampanoags had waived their sovereignty on land use projects when they signed an Indian land claims settlement with the town 10 years earlier. As a result, the court said the tribe was bound to follow state and local zoning laws on development projects.