Vineyard Conservation Society’s claim favored over contested ‘Lot 240’

Tanisha Gomes (standing, left) and Curtis Troy Small (standing, right) represented themselves and the other descendants of Louisa Pocknett at a Dukes County Superior Court earlier in May. The battle for ownership rights to Aquinnah Lot 240 was decided in favor of the Vineyard Conservation Society — Abigail Rosen

Following a years-long legal battle over the ownership of a 5.7-acre parcel in Aquinnah, a verdict has finally been reached in Dukes County Superior Court.

Stemming from a complaint filed by the Vineyard Conservation Society in 2017, the rights to “Lot 240” or “Kennedy 240” have been repeatedly contested by descendants of a member of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), who claim an ownership interest, and therefore had refused to sign documents renouncing said claim. 

The major point of concern in the case was tracking down the conveyance of the property deed and the legal chain of title — of which there were two. 

The court was charged with wading through two versions of lengthy and complex materials, some dating back as far as 1879, and identifying the rightful grantee recipients and later, ownership.

The Vineyard Conservation Society, which obtained the property from the Kennedy family, have asserted through their attorney, John Willis of Fidelity National Law Group, that the conveyance of the land is straightforward, all the way up to it being granted to Vineyard Conservation Society as a donation by the Kennedy family–owned Red Gate Farm. 

The decision, filed on Oct. 24 in Dukes County Superior Court by Judge Janet Sanders, states that Vineyard Conservation Society “holds 100 percent of the title to Lot 240.”


  1. Erasing History
    Erasing Thousands of years of Stewardship
    Erasing Tribal Families
    Erasing Our Past, Present and Future.

    How’s that working for Vineyard Conservation Society?!
    How much did this “ win” cost?
    You lost sight of the true value of Tribal Lands on which you call home
    Shame on you & your mission.

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