Wampanoag Tribal Information
Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah)
20 Black Brook Road
Aquinnah, MA 02535
508-645-9265; Fax 508-645-3790
Office hours are Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.
Traditional Leaders – F. Ryan Malonson, Chief; Luther Madison, Medicine Man
Tribal Council Members – Donald Widdiss, chairman; Jay Smalley, vice chairman; Stephanie White, treasurer; Eleanor Hebert, secretary; Naomi Carney, Shelly Carter, Lloyd Marden, Richard Randolph, Willard Marden, Tobias Vanderhoop, Durwood Vanderhoop
Tribal Government Office – Donald Widdiss, chairman, ext. 111.
Administrative Office – Brian Myles, executive administrator, ext. 147.
Education Department– Marlene Panish, director, ext. 131.
Finance Department – Marjorie Whitmore, accounting manager, ext. 114.
Health Program – Ron MacLaren, director, ext. 121.
Human Services Program – Bonnie Chalifoux, director, ext. 159.
Natural Resource Department – Bret Stearns, director, ext. 170.
Planning Department – Durwood Vanderhoop, grantsman/planner, ext. 116.
Tribal Historic Preservation Office – Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, tribal historic preservation officer, ext. 112.
Aquinnah Cultural Center Board – Berta Welch, president; Tobias Vanderhoop, vice president; Linda Coombs; Jonathan Perry; Cheryl Vanderhoop-Sellitti; Adriana Ignacio
Aquinnah Wampanoag Housing Authority – Willard Marden, chairman; F. Ryan Malonson; Jerome Gonsalves; Stephanie White; Beth Kaeka
Cultural & Historic Commission – Tobias Vanderhoop, chairman; Jay Smalley, vice chair; Luther Madison, Medicine Man; Edith Andrews, elder; F. Ryan Malonson, Chief
Land Use Commission – June Manning, co-chair; David Vanderhoop, co-chair; Durwood Vanderhoop, permit administrator; F. Ryan Malonson; George Baird; Bret Stearns; Richard Randolph (Alternate); Spencer Booker (Alternate); Will Marden (alternate)
Land Use Commission Appeals Board – Stephanie White; Shelly Carter; Matthew Vanderhoop
Wampanoag Aquinnah Shellfish Hatchery Board – Spencer Booker, chairman; Shelley Carter, vice chair; Brian F. Vanderhoop; Cheryl Andrew-Maltais
The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) is a sovereign tribal nation, one of 560+ tribal governments still in existence that predate colonial contact with the western hemisphere. Aquinnah, also known historically as Kuhtuhquehchuet and Gay Head, was the westernmost of at least five sachemships that once existed on the island of Noepe, the traditional Wampanoag name for Martha’s Vineyard. The Aquinnah Wampanoag have endured time and circumstance; the tribe is the only federally recognized tribe within
the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Due to an uninterrupted history of governance over its ancestral homelands and people, the tribe received final positive determination of its recognition status from the Bureau of Indian Affairs in April of 1987, creating a government-to-government relationship between the United States and the Wampanoag Tribe. Today, the tribe has a thriving culture and is able to provide stewardship of its 480+ acres of lands as well as health, education, social and housing services to its constituency from its headquarters
The Tribal Council is the 11-member popularly elected governing body of the tribe. The primary council officers are the chairperson, vice chairperson, treasurer and secretary. The Chief and Medicine Man remain traditional members of the Tribal Council, serving for life.
At present there are more than 1100 enrolled tribal members. Of these, approximately 300 reside on the Vineyard, 120 live in Aquinnah and the remainder are scattered throughout the United States, with few exceptions.
The Aquinnah Wampanoag share the belief that the giant Moshup created Noepe and the neighboring islands, taught their people how to fish and to catch whales, and still presides over their destinies. The Stories of Moshup Pageant, held each August, honors and reenacts the stories of Moshup’s life, weaving narration, music and acting into the traditional performance.
Cranberry Day (the second Tuesday in October), though no longer a 3-4 day-long harvest celebration, is one of the few traditional celebrations still practiced. There are daytime events for tribal families and a community potluck supper in the evening that is open to all.
For more information concerning the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) please visit the Tribe’s Web site: www.wampanoagtribe.net
CURRENT WEATHER CONDITIONS / TRIBAL WEATHER STATION: