GAY HEAD, Mass., May 15 -- Residents in the Martha's Vineyard island town of Gay Head, Mass., have decided by a three-vote margin to change its name to the original Indian name of Aquinnah ('uk-kwin-a ah'). The name change -- supported by members of the Wampanoag Indian tribe -- still must be approved by the Massachusetts Legislature.
An unofficial count showed residents in the town of 267 registered voters approved the name change 79-76. Early white explorers gave the name Gay Head to the colorful cliffs on the western tip of the resort island. The Indians called the cliffs Aquinnah, which means 'land under the hill.' Gay Head was adopted as the town's official name when it was incorporated in 1870. Residents six years ago voted 89-36 to retain the name, but backers of the change said times have changed in the town, which is the home of the Aquinnah Wampanoag Indian tribe. About half of the town's residents are members of the tribe. ---
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