Archive for July, 2012

Indian Country Today: The Summer Games Are the Native Games

On July 31, Indian Country Today published a nice write-up on past Native athletes and the Olympic Games. Scroll down on the article to read about Hopi runner Louis Tewanima.

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“Navajo-Hopi water deal collapses” by Shaun McKinnon

Navajo-Hopi water deal collapses

Kyl unable to close deal before retiring

by Shaun McKinnon – Jul. 23, 2012 11:30 PM  The Republic | azcentral.com

The collapse of a long-sought Navajo-Hopi water settlement this month represents a lost opportunity for the tribes to secure reliable water supplies and for Sen. Jon Kyl to close one last tribal deal before he leaves office in January.

Native American water controversy

Navajo lawmakers voted July 5 to reject the agreement and Kyl’s enabling legislation, which would have authorized funding for water-delivery projects. The Hopi Tribal Council on June 21 narrowly approved the settlement but voted down Kyl’s bill, a necessary component of the deal. The settlement required the approval of both tribes to move forward.

Support for the agreement eroded after Kyl introduced the bill in February. Opponents framed the deal as unfair to the tribes, claiming its central component awarded groundwater that already belonged to the reservation communities.

They also seized on a provision that offered the Navajos extra water if tribal leaders agreed to extend the land lease for a power plant near Page.

The tribes could still try to salvage pieces of the settlement, but time has nearly run out to reintroduce it in Congress, where attention is focused almost exclusively on the election.

Once Kyl retires, the tribes will lose their strongest and most knowledgeable advocate and the driving force behind many of the state’s key water deals. Without a settlement, the tribes’ claims to water would be decided in court, an option that would offer no guarantee of water and no promise of federal assistance to build pipelines, leaving thousands of people with a future of hauling water across the sprawling reservations.

“It’s very disappointing,” said Kyl, R-Ariz. “They have a water right, and they should get it. We have a responsibility to try to get it to them. I would have liked to be able to do that for the people I represent. I’m afraid this might have been their last chance.”

The Navajos and Hopis represent the largest unsettled tribal water- rights case in Arizona . The failed agreement would have satisfied claims on the Little Colorado River and resolved disputes over groundwater aquifers beneath the two reservations. Claims on the mainstem Colorado remain mired in negotiations over funding and the availability of water.

Kyl, a water attorney before being elected to the Senate, has helped broker deals with other tribes, including an agreement with the Gila River Indian Community in 2004, the largest tribal settlement in U.S. history. The Navajo-Hopi deal would have been his last as a senator.

“He was always finding a way to break the logjam,” said Dave Roberts, water-rights manager for Salt River Project, whose rights on the Salt and Verde rivers make it a player in many tribal cases, including the Navajo and Hopi deal.

“We can work on the agreements here,” Roberts said, “but if we don’t have a strong advocate, someone with the knowledge to work on it in D.C., to educate others in Congress about how things work and what the long-term benefit is, we’d be stuck.”

Like most of the tribal agreements, the Navajo and Hopi settlement included a multitude of non-Indian interests. Among them were SRP, Flagstaff , water users on the upper stretches of the Little Colorado and the Central Arizona Project, which oversees some of the water available for tribal claims.

Although the Navajo and Hopi claims focused on the Little Colorado River, the CAP brought to the table 6,411 acre-feet of mainstem Colorado water if the Navajo Nation would work to extend land and coal leases for the Navajo Generating Station.

An acre-foot is 325,851 gallons, enough to serve two families for a year in urban settings but enough to serve significantly more people on the Navajo Reservation, where water hauling keeps use low.

Power-plant provisions

The power plant, on the Navajo Reservation outside Page, provides almost all the power to move water through the CAP Canal from the Colorado River at Parker to Phoenix and Tucson . The CAP buys the power at reduced rates and would be forced to charge more for water without the plant. Its leases expire in 2019.

Kyl said there would have been no agreement without the power-plant leases. But critics of the plant, who targeted the pollution and the coal mining, used the issue to undermine the agreement, filling the audiences at public hearings leading up to the votes.

Elsa Johnson, a Navajo activist who led some of the opposition efforts, said the Tribal Council’s vote showed that ordinary people could wield as much influence as the companies that own the power plant and the coal mine near Kayenta.

“We’ve been treated like an unwanted stepchild by these corporations and other entities for far too long,” she said. “They have profited in the hundreds of millions and billions off our resources while we endure health and environmental impacts.”

Supporters of a water settlement say they’re not sure what would happen if they tried to propose a deal without the power-plant provisions.

The extra water would be off the table, but tribal leaders might be willing to advance a measure based solely on the groundwater projects and Little Colorado River claims.

An earlier settlement proposal did not include the power plant. That version addressed claims on the mainstem Colorado and called for construction of a pipeline to deliver water from the river to the reservations. When the pipeline plan was dropped because of its high cost, the Colorado River deal also fell apart. The power plant incentives were then added to bring the extra water to the table and retain support from all the parties.

“It seemed like a good majority of the ‘no’ votes on the council were because of the power-plant provision,” said Leo Manheimer, a member of the Navajo Nation Water Rights Commission, which endorsed the Little Colorado settlement.

“I think if there’s ever an opportunity to go back and see what the council would do without these provisions, that would be something we would be willing to try to work on,” he said. “But our window of opportunity is small.”

When that window closes, so will many of the advantages of settling claims out of court, Manheimer said. The rejected deal would have secured water from the Little Colorado and protected the river from further development upstream. It would have placed limits on groundwater use by cities and other non-Indian entities near the borders of the two reservations, slowing the depletion of aquifers.

Congress also could have authorized money to build delivery pipelines to Hopi villages and Navajo communities where existing wells often fail to meet demand. In some areas on the southern Navajo Reservation, shallow alluvial wells dry up during a drought, Manheimer said.

Navajo President Ben Shelly said he was disappointed by the council’s votes to reject the agreement and the legislation. He said he would have preferred to see lawmakers amend the proposal to eliminate provisions they didn’t like, but he accepted the outcome.

“The people had the opportunity to learn the details about this complex issue from the day it was brought into public,” he said in a written statement. “We didn’t hide anything. I also stood by my promise to get water infrastructure to the people. We need to get them running water, and this settlement was a good way to do so.”

Although the Hopi Tribal Council rejected Kyl’s legislation, it endorsed the settlement, and tribal officials said they were willing to work on amendments to the bill, mostly to remove the power-plant provisions.

“Those provisions have nothing to do with our settlement,” Hopi Chairman LeRoy Shingoitewa said.

Kyl seemed especially disappointed that the Navajo council didn’t leave that same door open. He said he invited the tribe to help craft amendments, but the council simply voted to reject the bill, an approach that hurt any chance to reopen negotiations with the other state interests. Pursuing the claims in court, he said, “will cost a lot of people a lot of money.”

“There will be a court decree, the tribes will ‘win’ money, but then what will they have? They will have a piece of paper that says they’re entitled to so much water. They have that now,” Kyl said. “With a settlement, they actually get the money to build projects to get water to people. That’s not going to happen if it just goes to court.”

Applications sought for 2012-2013 Hopi Leadership Program

Please click here for the 2012-2013 Hopi Leadership Program application form (12 pages).

Criticism over distribution of Hopi Tribe LCR Settlement Agreement “Fact Sheet”

UPDATE July 15, 2012: On Saturday I noted that the following responses from Benjamin H. Nuvamsa and Rosanda Suetopka Thayer focused on Micah Loma’omvaya’s (Hopi Chief of Staff) role in distributing last week’s Hopi Tribe LCR Settlement Agreement “Fact Sheet“. I now realize that their comments refer to a Press Release that the Hopi Tribe issued on July 12 surrounding Rosanda Suetopka Thayer’s efforts to remove Chairman Leroy Shingoitewa from office. Click here for a copy of the Press Release. I apologize for the confusion.
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Benjamin H. Nuvamsa, July 13, 2012
There seems to be certain amount of credence placed recently by the local news media on comments, quotes, etc. from staff (political appointees) other than directly from the Hopi tribal chairman Leroy Shingoitewa, particularly concerning the current water rights debate.  Be advised that we do not place any credence or credibility on comments made by Shingoitewa’s staff, like comments by Micah Lomaomvaya.  Micah is not tribal chairman, vice chairman; and therefore has no authority to speak on behalf of the Hopi Tribe.  He has no authority to be issuing press releases, or making comments on any matter in the papers.  Those authorities are vested in the tribal chairman.  Those authorities and protocols are similar to the Office of the President of the United States.  We do not see any press releases, nor comments coming out of Vice Chairman Honanie’s office, because he understands and respects the proper delegations of authority.  He understands the protocols and when it is an appropriate time to issue statements on behalf of his office, or on behalf of the tribe.  Thank you.
———————————————–
Rosanda Suetopka Thayer, July 13, 2012
“Its truly unfortunate and completely unprofessional that Micah Loma’omvaya, chief of staff for Mr. Shingoitewa, without formal Hopi Council authorization to release such a ill-informed press statement regarding the Hopi and Tewa grassroots movement to remove Shingoitewa for serious neglect of duty.
Only the Hopi Tribal Council through formal action or the Hopi chairman with council authorization can speak on behalf of the tribe, not a politically appointed staff member like Loma’omvaya.
For me personally, Loma’omvaya’s release shows the level of paranoia, intimidation and lack of signature accountability, that Shingoitewa has created and fosters at the Hopi Tribe against anyone who opposes him, including all members of the media, tribal or non-tribal.
This has been evidenced by Shingoitewa’s refusal to allow reporters into local publicly posted Hopi council meetings over his past two years in office including the Hopi Tribes’ own newspaper, the Hopi Tutuveni, which is the only local and free news medium available to Hopi community members for public information.
No community member, enrolled or un-enrolled is safe from Shingoitewa and his supporters, especially after such a heated public battle where clearly the Hopi and Tewa people did not support Shingoitewa’s LCR settlement proposal and in which Shingoitewa continues to try and re-visit an already dead tribal water issue.
The “Shingoitewa Removal” public meeting slated for Saturday, July 14th at the First Mesa Consolidated villages community will still move forward with the full open support of Hopis and Tewas who want Shingoitewa removed from office for serious neglect of duty.”

The Indian School on Magnolia Avenue – Now Available for Pre-Order

The Indian School on Magnolia Avenue: Voices and Images from Sherman Institute, is now available for pre-order. You can pre-order the book from several venues, including Oregon State University Press ($24.95) and Amazon ($22.52). Royalties from the book will go to support educational programs at the Sherman Indian Museum in Riverside, California. The Indian School on Magnolia Avenue is scheduled to appear this December.

The Hopi Tribe Fact Sheet and FAQ on Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Water Rights Settlement Agreement

Thanks to Micah Loma’omvaya, Chief of Staff for the Hopi Tribe, for sending me the following documents to post on BEYOND THE MESAS. Click images to download.

The Hopi Tribe Fact Sheet on LCR Settlement Agreement, July 10, 2012- Click image to download (2 pages)

Hopi Tribe LCR Settlement Agreement FAQ, May 1, 2012 – Click image to download (9 pages)

Hopi professor will bike for Hopi Cancer Assistance Fund

Angela Gonzales (Hopi), Associate Professor of Development Sociology and American Indian Studies at Cornell University, has started a new blog to chronicle her goal of raising $10,000 for the Hopi Cancer Assistance Fund (HCAF).

To promote interest in her quest, Angela will bike 1,539 miles from Bellingham, WA, to Ventura, CA, beginning September 25, 2012.

Learn more about Angela’s motivation to raise support for the HCAF by visiting her blog, Angela Bikes 4 Hopi. Also, please consider giving financially to this worthy cause.

Thanks for spreading the word!


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© Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert and BEYOND THE MESAS, 2009-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert and BEYOND THE MESAS with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About the author

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert is enrolled with the Hopi Tribe from the village of Upper Moencopi in northeastern Arizona. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of History and a Dean's Fellow and Conrad Humanities Scholar in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Foreword to Kevin Whalen’s Native Students at Work: American Indian Labor and Sherman Institute’s Outing Program, 1900-1945

A Second Wave of Hopi Migration (History of Education Quarterly, August 2014)

Sun Chief: An Autobiography of A Hopi Indian by Don C. Talayesva, New foreword by Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert (Sept. 2013)

Marathoner Louis Tewanima and the Continuity of Hopi Running, 1908-1912 (Western Historical Quarterly, Autumn 2012). Winner of Spur Award for Best Western Short Nonfiction, Western Writers of America (2013)

“Hopi Footraces and American Marathons, 1912-1930”, American Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 1, March Issue 2010 (Click image to download article)

Hopi runner Philip Zeyouma’s trophy cups featured on cover of American Quarterly

Education beyond the Mesas: Hopi Students at Sherman Institute, 1902-1929 (University of Nebraska Press, 2010)

Education beyond the Mesas – Introduction (click image to download)

“‘The Hopi Followers’: Chief Tawaquaptewa and Hopi Student Advancement at Sherman Institute, 1906-1909”, Journal of American Indian Education, (Click image to download article)

The Indian School on Magnolia Avenue: Voices and Images From Sherman Institute (Oregon State University Press, 2012)

Arizona English Teachers Association highlights Hopi authors (click image to download)

Constitution and Bylaws of the Hopi Tribe (With all amendments, click to download)

Click to listen to KUYI On-Line

Matt’s Goodreads

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