After going on the market earlier this June, the property formerly known as the Aquinnah Shop Restaurant will soon return to Wampanoag hands.

The Native Land Conservancy purchased the iconic cliffside restaurant and the surrounding land for $2 million this week. The conservancy, a Mashpee-based Native American conservation group, will hold the land until the Aquinnah Land Initiative (ALI), a new Wampanoag nonprofit, can raise funds to buy the property.

The Aquinnah Shop has been considered the centerpiece of the Aquinnah cultural district since its opening in 1948. The land had remained under Wampanoag ownership until 2016 when a dispute between brothers and co-owners David and Matt Vanderhoop prompted the brothers to sell the property for $1.29 million.

The restaurant closed and the property went up for sale again this summer, with an asking price $3.5 million. With that high price, members of the Wampanoag community feared the land was well out of reach.

But the collaboration between the land conservancy and the Aquinnah Land Initiative made the deal possible, said ALI president Wenonah Madison. Ms. Madison is the great-granddaughter of Aquinnah Shop founders Napoleon and Nanette Madison and the owner of 7a Foods in West Tisbury with her husband Dan Sauer.

“When the restaurant first went up for sale, there was a lot of community outrage, and a lot of people reached out to me,” Ms. Madison said in a phone call with the Gazette. “I knew we didn’t want to have an individual owner, we want to keep it collectively-owned and put the land in conservation.”

The eventual owners of the property, Aquinnah Land Initiative, is a land conservation group led by an all-female, all-Wampanoag board of directors. The organization is still waiting to receive official nonprofit status from the IRS, but there are already plans to partner further with the Native Land Conservancy and purchase additional land in Aquinnah.

“For time immemorial Wôpanâak women have watched over our ancestral lands and worked hard to remain here on the island and in Aquinnah,” Madison said in a press release. “ALI will continue this tradition, empowered by the cultural understanding that our bodies are not separate from our land.”

Ramona Peters, the founder of the Native Land Conservancy, said the national organization was incredibly grateful to donors that made the Aquinnah sale possible.

“Our priority has always been on recovering ancestral homelands and providing indigenous access for cultural purposes,” she said. “This success is historically meaningful.”

The two groups will prioritize erosion protection of the 3.3-acre property, which includes an area on the face of the vulnerable Gay Head Cliffs.

What will happen with the Aquinnah Shop Restaurant is still not clear.

Ms. Madison couldn’t say what the next steps for the property might look like or when the cliffside patio might fill up once again, but she guaranteed that the restaurant space will be leased to another Wampanoag business owner when it does eventually open.

“Just getting to today was incredibly complex,” Ms. Madison said. “Right now we just want to take a breath before we make any other decisions.”