Wampanoag Tribe buys 17 acres in Aquinnah for $1.1 million

The new purchase abuts the tribe’s unfinished community center, site of a proposed boutique casino.

Seventeen acres of new land, shown in purple, will be added to the Tribe’s existing land, in yellow. — Courtesy MVLB

The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) has expanded its land holdings with the purchase on Dec. 30 of eight parcels, totaling 17 acres, off State Road in Aquinnah for $1,150,000. The land abuts the approximately 160 acres of tribal lands held in trust by the federal government and is adjacent to the tribe’s community center and proposed boutique casino.

The seller was Toad Rock Road, LLC, made up of the heirs of the previous owner. The property was on the market for 128 days, and the original asking price was $1.4 million, according to Aquinnah town assessor Angela Cywinski.

Tribal chairman Tobias Vanderhoop said the purchase fits the tribe’s goals. “One of the most important goals of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) is to increase our homelands for the benefit of our people,” Mr. Vanderhoop said in an email to The Times. “The acquisition of 4 State Road fit that goal, and a definitive plan for the uses of that property will be developed in due course. The intention of the tribal government is to work with Department of Interior to have these new lands added to the trust holdings of the Tribe.”
Asked if the property was purchased to accommodate the proposed casino, Mr. Vanderhoop said, “Planning for the proposed gaming project is handled by the Aquinnah Wampanoag Gaming Corporation. At this time, the tribal council has not designated a specific use for the lands at 4 State Road.”

Governor Deval Patrick has filed a lawsuit to block the Wampanoag Tribe from building a casino on tribal lands. The town of Aquinnah and the Aquinnah/Gay Head Community Association Inc. (AGHCA) have intervened in the case which is now before U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV in U.S. Federal District Court in Boston.