Top court hears Wampanoag sovereignty case

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court heard oral arguments on Wednesday in the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe's sovereignty case.

The tribe is asserting control over land within its settlement reservation. But the town of Aquinnah wants to impose zoning and building regulations on the tribe.

A lower court judge held that the tribe cannot be sued for ignoring the city. He said the tribe's sovereign immunity was not waived.

The town counters that the Congress gave the state authority over the reservation. The tribe's settlement act grants criminal and civil jurisdiction to the state.

A decision is expected in several months.

Get the Story:
Tribe pleads land suit in SJC (The Cape Cod Times 9/9)

Court Decision:
Town of Aquinnah v. Gay Head Wampanoag Tribe (June 11, 2003)

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