Wampanoag fishing rights an issue under state law

The Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe and the state of Massachusetts are expected to meet to discuss the tribe's fishing rights.

The tribe has long fished on the island of Martha's Vineyard. But state officials are contending that tribal members must comply with state law because the tribe falls under a special act of Congress. The state's highest court ruled that the tribe can be used for violating state laws.

A state official said the issue is rather sensitive, with state lawyers contending the tribe has no aboriginal rights. A tribal lawyer said the state doesn't acknowledge tribal sovereignty. "You have to look not whether state law applies but what rights does the tribe retain," the tribal lawyer told The Martha's Vineyard Times.

On the other hand, state officials are considering the rights of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, whose federal recognition is pending. Since the tribe is not subject to a settlement act, its rights would appear to be free from state interference.

Get the Story:
Tribe, state will confer over herring run rights (The Martha's Vineyard Times 4/13)

Relevant Links:
Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head -
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe -

Related Stories:
Lobbying activities helped tribe bolster recognition (04/04)
BIA: Massachusetts tribe 'retained' self-governance (04/03)
Massachusetts tribe eager for recognition decision (03/31)
Wampanoag Tribe ends sovereignty battle (03/30)
Massachusetts tribe, town to start new dialogue (01/20)