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The List

Native American-owned businesses on Martha’s Vineyard

The Wampanoag were among the earliest inhabitants of Martha’s Vineyard. Today one large extended family operates several businesses that celebrate and preserve the Native American culture.

1. HOWWASSWEE TRADING POST

This shop has been in operation in some form since the 1950s, when it was nothing more than a folding table displaying one family’s handcrafts. Today Don Widdiss and his son Jason carve and sell wampum jewelry, along with paintings, prints, photos, leather work, walking sticks, and other crafts by Native Americans from several tribes. HowWassWee was Widdiss’s great-grandmother’s Wampanoag name. One sign says it all: “certified tchotchke-free zone.” 17 Aquinnah Circle, Aquinnah, 508-645-9929

2. TOMAHAWK CHARTERS

Captain Buddy Vanderhoop, owner of Tomahawk Charters, with a big-eye tuna.

Captain Buddy Vanderhoop, owner of Tomahawk Charters, with a big-eye tuna.

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Captain Buddy Vanderhoop comes from a long line of fishermen and whalers. He said fishermen aboard his boat, the Tomahawk, have won 12 of the last 17 Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass & Bluefish derbies, with stripers weighing up to 55 pounds and blues up to 18 or 19. His celebrity guests have included filmmaker Wes Craven and musicians Keith Richards and Taj Mahal. Full-day ($1400) and half-day ($700) trips available for up to six fishermen. 1 Shore Road, Menemsha, 508-645-3201, www.tomahawkcharters.com

3. ORANGE PEEL BAKERY

Aquinnah, Martha's Vineyard At the Orange Peel Bakery, breads and pizza are baked in this outdoor beehive oven. CREDIT: K. Ruppel (cq)

K. Ruppel

At Orange Peel Bakery, breads and pizza are baked in this outdoor beehive oven.

This outdoor bakery is known not only for baking powder biscuits, challah, and seeded grain bread, but also for “pizza night” every Wednesday in summer from 5-8 p.m. It’s BYOTS — bring your own toppings to share. Juli Vanderhoop provides the dough, sauce, and cheese and bakes it all in the huge wood-fired oven in her yard. There’s usually live music, too, and the event is open to all for $10. 22 State Road, Aquinnah, 508-645-2025, www.orangepeelbakery.com

4. AQUINNAH SHOP RESTAURANT

Homemade pies are a big draw at the Aquinnah Shop.

Napoleon Madison, the tribe’s medicine man, built the Aquinnah Shop in 1945 on the Gay Head Cliffs. The casual restaurant’s outdoor deck affords fabulous ocean and sunset views. Seafood is the specialty, including local bass and blues. Madison’s niece Anne Vanderhoop Madison turns out homemade pies: strawberry rhubarb, apple, banana cream, blueberry (pictured above) among others. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner in season ($7-$30). 27 Aquinnah Circle, Aquinnah, 508-645-3867, www.theaquinnahshop.com

5. STONY CREEK GIFTS

Berta Giles Welch and her family sell their handmade wampum jewelry at Stony Creek Gifts.

Berta Giles Welch and her family sell their handmade wampum jewelry at Stony Creek Gifts.

Growing up on the Gay Head Cliffs, Berta Giles Welch and her sister, Carla Cuch, began making pottery out of the clay that covered their “playground.” From there, she said, they expanded into other native arts and crafts. Today they operate Stony Creek Gifts, the shop their mother started almost 70 years ago. Specialties are handmade wampum jewelry (pictured at top), jewelry from Navajo, Zuni, and Hopi tribes, and mermaid-themed home decor. 23 Aquinnah Circle, Aquinnah, 508-645-3595

ellen.albanese@gmail.com
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