Wampanoag Tribal Information

Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head
20 Black Brook Road
Aquinnah, MA 02535
Ph: (508) 645-9265; Fax: (508) 645-3790

Office hours are Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.

The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head is a sovereign tribal nation located in 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 in Aquinnah.

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.

For more information concerning the Wampanoag Tribe, please visit the Tribe’s website.

For more information regarding the Aquinnah Cultural Center, please call (508) 645-7900 or visit online.