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Wampanoag Aboriginal RIghts
Transcript of Wampanoag Aboriginal RIghts
have supported our People by hunting, fishing, and gathering in our traditional Wampanoag territory.
Our rights to hunt, fish, and gather have been historically proclaimed and practiced by the People
The Winans doctrine of Indian rights of access to waters has never been overruled. It remains the legal basis for decisions on the topic. In 1998, for example, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit applied the Winans principle not only to access over lands, but to the mooring of a boat.
Wampanoag territory originally included 69 tribes
The Federal government protects those rights today
A Birthright Granted by the Land to the People
Aboriginal Hunting, Fishing, and Gathering Rights
Our People are taken to court time and again and each time, the courts have upheld our rights to hunt, gather, and fish.
This has been unnecessarily costly to towns, tax payers, and the individual Wamapanoag person.
Our children learn
to hunt and fish to take care of the family and the community
The territory stretches from Cape Anne south to Narragansett Bay, including the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.
Archaeologists say that we have lived here for at least 12,000 years
Our Elders tell us that the first Wampanoag People were made of a pine tree and the foam at the edge of the sea
Our men and women fish, gather, and hunt to provide for the community and their families
It is important that we be able to continue these ancient practices. Our cultural survival depends upon it.
The cornerstone of federal Indian law on Indian rights of access to water is the case of United States v. Winans, 198 U.S. 371 (1905), wherein the U. S. Supreme Court upheld the principle that Indian fishing rights include the right of access to water.
The Sixth Circuit decision, Grand Traverse Band v. Michigan Department of Natural Resources, 141 F.3d 635, pointed out that
the Winans doctrine applies to public and private land,
and said that mooring areas owned by the towns were within
traditional Indian fishing areas.
In'Boldt'..."paramount dependence upon the products of an aquatic economy … to sustain the Indian way of life. … [F]ish were vital to the Indian diet, played an important role in their religious life, and constituted a major element of their trade and economy."
...unnecessarily costing thousands of dollars to taxpayers and towns in legal fees and judgements for damages paid to Wampanoag hunters and fishermen.
1. Know the Law and educate your co-workers.
2. Ask for a tribal ID when in doubt and don't assume you know who is Wampanoag and who is not.
How Can You Help?
3. Realize that the person you encounter in the swamp or wood or marsh may be collecting material for a ceremony.
4. Undertstand that the Wampanoag person only wants to get her/his catch, game, or plant/fruit material and continue with his/her day.
5. Call the person's local tribal council with any questions or concerns.
Both state and federal governments have recognized these rights.
On further appeal of the case by the Commonwealth, the Supreme Judicial Court, 429 Mass. 287 (1999), also upheld the long-standing Wampanoag rights, saying there is "a long history of recognition of the fishing rights of native Americans by the Commonwealth."
The Winans doctrine was also an important component of Massachusetts higher court decisions protecting Mashpee Wampanoag fishing rights. In Commonwealth v. Maxim and Greene, 45 Mass.App.Ct. 49 (1998), the Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled that the Wampanoag have aboriginal rights to fish in the Commonwealth. The Appeals Court cited Winans as a precedent.