Archive for the 'Hopi activism' Category

Nuvamsa requests Secretary of the Interior to withdraw SB 2109 and HR 4067 from Congressional legislative process

November 8, 2012

The Honorable Ken Salazar

Secretary – Department of the Interior

1849 C Street, NW

Washington, DC 20240

Dear Secretary Salazar:

Mr. Secretary, I write this letter to you on behalf of our Hopi and Tewa Senom (People), our traditional leaders and our village governments concerning Senate Bill 2109, “Navajo and Hopi Little Colorado River Water Rights Settlement Act of 2012”. As you know, Arizona Senator Jon Kyl introduced S.2109 to the United States Senate on February 12, 2012. Arizona Senator John McCain co-sponsored this bill. And on February16, 2012, Arizona Congressman Ben Quayle introduced a companion bill, House Resolution No. 4067.

At a historic Hopi Tribal Council meeting on June 15, 2012, held at the Hotevilla Youth/Elderly Center on our reservation, the Hopi Tribal Council enacted Resolution H-072-2012 that formally rejected S.2109 by the Hopi Tribe. A copy of Resolution H-072-2012 is enclosed for your information.

The Hopi Tribal Council enacted this Resolution after our Hopi and Tewa villages, our traditional leaders, our village governments, and tribal members overwhelmingly objected to and rejected S.2109. Several of our past elected Hopi tribal leaders also objected to S.2109 and supported the enactment of Resolution H-072-2012. Enclosed are copies of proclamations and resolutions adopted by our villages and traditional leaders. Also enclosed is a copy of Action Item H-065-2012 endorsed by the past Hopi elected leaders which resulted in the passage of Resolution H-072-2012.

But, we understand Hopi Chairman LeRoy Shingoitewa and certain members of the Hopi Tribal Council will be attending a meeting at the Department of Interior, sponsored by your office, to discuss the proposed changes to S.2109. The Hopi and Tewa Senom vehemently object to this meeting and any attempt to revise S.2109 without prior consultation with us and without our concurrence.

Be advised that Chairman Shingoitewa, the Hopi Tribal Council and the Hopi Water & Energy Team do not have the authority to negotiate S.2109 and any amendments thereto. Resolution H-072-2012 specifically prohibits Chairman Shingoitewa and the Hopi Water & Energy Team from further negotiations of S.2109. This Resolution has never been amended or rescinded, so it is in full force and effect. Consequently, Chairman Shingoitewa does not have the authority to sign the Water Settlement Agreement on behalf of the Hopi Tribe.

The Constitution and By-Laws of the Hopi Tribe, adopted in 1936, is not like other typical Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) constitutions of other tribal nations. The Hopi Constitution acknowledges the traditional and inherent powers of our villages. Our traditional villages are autonomous villages that still maintain their “Inherent Aboriginal Sovereignty” and powers of self-government. Please refer to the enclosed copy of the Hopi Tribal Appellate Court’s Final Answer to Bacavi Village’s Certified Question of Law that addresses the traditional, inherent powers of our villages.

Our villages are the rightful owners of water rights. The authority to negotiate water rights is authority reserved to our villages; and is authority not delegated to the Hopi Tribal Council in the Hopi Constitution. The Hopi Constitution was a “boiler plate” constitution authored by and provided by the United States. As such, the United States already understands that any negotiation and agreement regarding our water rights can only be agreed to with full concurrence and approval of our villages.

Water right is a property right. It is a sacred right of our villages. Any action by Chairman Shingoitewa, the Hopi Tribal Council and other parties may be unconstitutional and may constitute a wrongful taking of property without just compensation under Federal and Hopi tribal law. The Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968 prohibits any Indian tribe from taking private property for public use without just compensation. Thus, our villages would have legitimate claims for compensation for the unlawful taking of their water rights if the Hopi Tribe and other parties proceed with negotiating and pursuing the passage of S.2109.

Mr. Secretary, water is sacred and is central to our Hopi way of life. As Hopi Senom, we have a sacred covenant with our caretaker, Maasau, to protect our traditions, ceremonies and our natural resources. Important matters such as land, water and other natural resources are properly addressed by our traditional leaders and villages. Therefore, we respectfully request that you facilitate the formal withdrawal of S.2109 and H.R. 4067 from the Congressional legislative process.

With Respect,

Benjamin H. Nuvamsa

Village of Shungopavi (Hönwugnwa – Bear Clan)

Former Hopi Tribal Chairman

Enclosures

cc: Honorable Senator Jon Kyl, United States Senate

Honorable Senator John McCain, United States Senate

Honorable Daniel Akaka, Chairman, Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

Honorable Ben Quayle, Representative, House of Representatives

Honorable Kevin Washburn, Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs

Hopi Traditional Leaders

Hopi Villages

Hopi Tutuveni

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Hopi leaders demand stop to further negotiations on SB 2109

November 8, 2012

Honorable Hopi Tribal Council

We find it necessary to write this letter to you concerning Senate Bill 2109, “Navajo and Hopi Little Colorado River Water Rights Settlement Act of 2012”, to instruct you that you must immediately direct Hopi Chairman Leroy Shingoitewa, Council Representative George Mase, and certain members of the Hopi Water & Energy Team, to stop any further negotiation of S.2109 (and H.R. 4067) and the Settlement Agreement.

On June 15, 2012, at a duly constituted Hopi Tribal Council meeting held at the Youth/Elderly Center in the Village of Hotevilla, the Hopi Tribal Council voted, 11 for, and 4 against, to approve Action Item No. H-065-2012, which resulted in the passage of Resolution H-072-2012 (copy attached for your reading). Voting for passage were: Vice Chairman Herman Honanie, Davis Pecusa (Bacavi), Gayver Puhuyesva (Bacavi), Nada Talayumptewa (Kykotsmovi), Carlene Quotskuyva (Kykotsmovi), Rebekah Masayesva (Kykotsmovi), Danny Honanie (Kykotsmovi), Bruce Fredericks (Upper Moenkopi), Leroy Sumatzkuku (Upper Moenkopi), Wayne Kuwanhyoima (Upper Moenkopi), Danny Humetewa (Upper Moenkopi). Voting against were Alph Secakuku(Sipaulovi), George Mase (Sipaulovi), Cedric Kuwaninvaya (Sipaulovi); and Leroy Kewanimptewa (Bacavi).

Resolution H-072-2012 rejected S.2109; and directed Chairman Shingoitewa and the Hopi Water & Energy Team to cease any further negotiation of S.2109. The Resolution also directs Hopi Chairman Shingoitewa to formally notify Senator Jon Kyl and appropriate departments of the Federal government of the Hopi Tribe’s rejection of S.2109.

Our villages, traditional leaders and tribal members overwhelmingly rejected S.2109. They issued village proclamations and resolutions, and wrote letters stating their rejection of S.2109. We attach copies for your reading. At the June 15, 2012 tribal council meeting, there was unanimous opposition to S.2109 by our villages, traditional leaders and tribal members. Not one village, traditional leader, and tribal member spoke in favor of S.2109.

The mandate of the Hopi Senom is very clear, yet Hopi Chairman Leroy Shingoitewa, George Mase and certain members of the Hopi Water & Energy Team continue to negotiate S.2109 and its accompanying Settlement Agreement. Other council representatives are also supporting and are facilitating these negotiations. This is an outright violation of H-072-2012 and constitutes “gross neglect of duty” by Shingoitewa, Mase and certain members of the Hopi Water & Energy Team, and other tribal council representatives who are supporting Shingoitewa’s continuing negotiations.

As members of the Hopi Tribal Council, you are allowing the illegal spending of millions of the tribe’s money (our money) on attorneys on this illegal activity by your failure to stop Shingoitewa and Mase. You are allowing Shingoitewa, Mase and others to spend money illegally on their trips to meet with the Department of Interior officials and other LCR negotiating parties. All expenses beginning June 15, 2012, to continue negotiating S.2109 and the Settlement Agreement are improper and illegal.

The authority to negotiate village water rights under S.2109 is authority that is not granted to the Hopi Tribal Council by the Constitution & By-Laws of the Hopi Tribe. Thus, Leroy Shingoitewa, George Mase and certain members of the Hopi Water & Energy Team do not have the authority to be negotiating S.2109 and the Settlement Agreement. Moreover, Resolution H-072-2012 specifically prohibits Leroy Shingoitewa, as Tribal Chairman, and the Hopi Water & Energy Team from any further negotiations of S.2109.

We encourage you to study the attached Resolution H-072-2012, particularly the second recital. It points out your duties and obligations as tribal council representatives as mandated by the Hopi Constitution. Also study the By-Laws of the Hopi Tribe, at ARTICLE I – DUTIES AND QUALIFICATIONS OF OFFICERS, Section 3, where it requires you, as tribal council representatives, to “truly represent the people of their villages”.

We also remind you of the Hopi Appellate Court’s Final Answer to the Bacavi Village Certified Question. In answering Bacavi Village’s Certified Question, the Court spoke to the authorities of our villages. The Court said “(p)rior to the initial drafting and adoption of the Hopi Constitution in 1936 there was no central Hopi government. Rather, the people comprising the Hopi Tribe lived in 12 self-governing Villages, each of which retained its own aboriginal sovereignty”. The Court also said “the entire structure of the Hopi Constitution indicates that the authority of the central government rests on the bedrock of the aboriginal sovereignty of the Hopi and Tewa villages”.

The Hopi Tribal Council operates on the limited authorities granted it by the villages; and any authority not specifically included in the Hopi Constitution is authority retained by the villages. The authority to negotiate village water rights is authority that has not been granted the Hopi Tribal Council by the villages.

We are aware of meetings being held and attended by Chairman Shingoitewa, George Mase, certain members of the Hopi Water & Energy Team, and their attorneys. We are aware of the scheduled November 14, 2012, meeting with Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in Washington, D.C. We are also aware that certain representatives of the villages of Mishongnovi, Sipaulovi and Upper Moenkopi plan to attend this meeting in Washington, D.C.

We recently obtained a copy of proposed revisions to S.2109 that has been the topic of illegal negotiations by Shingoitewa, Mase and certain members of the Water & Energy Team. While the Navajo Nation Council committees shared this document with its constituents for their comment, Leroy Shingoitewa, George Mase and certain members of the Hopi Water & Energy Team found it convenient to keep this document secret and not share with Hopi villages and tribal members. You will recall we had to go to other sources to obtain a copy of the original S.2109.

It is clear that the Hopi Tribal Council does not have authority to negotiate S.2109 and the Settlement Agreement. And by majority vote in enacting Resolution H-072-2012, you directed Chairman Shingoitewa and the Hopi Water & Energy Team to cease any further negotiations of S.2109, but to date, they have defied your legislative mandate. Therefore, we want you to direct Chairman Shingoitewa, George Mase and the Hopi Water & Energy Team to stop any further negotiation of S.2109 and the Settlement Agreement. This is your duty and obligation to our villages and members of the Hopi Tribe.

We also want you to cancel Chairman Shingoitewa’s, George Mase’s, and certain tribal representatives’ trip to attend the November 14, 2012 meetings in Washington, D.C. Finally, we demand that you direct that letters be written to Senator Jon Kyl, Senator John McCain, Senator Daniel Akaka, and Representative Benjamin Quayle, to withdraw S.2109 and its companion bill, H.R. 4067, with copies of the letters to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

We fully expect that you will comply with our demands and respect the will of the Hopi Senom. Your failure will constitute your “serious neglect of duty”; and may require further legal action.

Respectfully,
/s/ Benjamin H. Nuvamsa
______________________________________, Former Hopi Tribal Chairman
/s/ Vernon Masayesva
______________________________________, Former Hopi Tribal Chairman
/s/ Ivan Sidney, Sr.
______________________________________, Former Hopi Tribal Chairman
/s/ Clifford B. Qötsaquahu
______________________________________, Former Hopi Tribal Vice Chairman
/s/ Phillip R. Quochytewa, Sr.
______________________________________, Former Hopi Tribal Vice Chairman
/s/ Todd H. Honyaoma, Sr.
______________________________________, Former Hopi Tribal Vice Chairman
/s/ Caleb H. Johnson
______________________________________, Former Hopi Tribal Vice Chairman
Attachments

cc: Honorable Senator Jon Kyl, United States Senate
Honorable Senator John McCain, United States Senate
Honorable Senator Daniel Akaka, Chairman, Select Committee on Indian Affairs
Honorable Representative Benjamin Quayle, House of Representatives
Honorable Secretary Ken Salazar, Department of the Interior
Honorable Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs, Kevin Washburn, BIA
Hopi Traditional Leaders
Hopi Villages
Hopi Tutuveni

Important issues facing the Hopi Tribe

The following post was written and provided by Benjamin H. Nuvamsa….

There are several very important issues currently facing our tribe, but no one from the tribal administration is sharing them with our villages, traditional leaders, and tribal members.  These issues have potentially long lasting and devastating impacts on our tribe.  There are other issues that the current tribal administration is doing, or has done, but tribal members have no knowledge of them.  If you are interested and want to hear about these issues, come to the Hopi Cultural Center on Thursday at 5:00 p.m. for an evening of discussion and dialogue.  We are at a very critical juncture in the history of our tribe that I believe everybody should know what direction the current tribal administration is taking our tribe.  Some of the issues we will discuss include.

1.       Revised Senate Bill 2109 (and House Resolution 4067) “Navajo and Hopi Little Colorado River Water Rights Settlement Act of 2012”.  Despite the overwhelming rejection of this bill by our villages, leaders and tribal members, Leroy Shingoitewa & certain members of the Water & Energy Team are continuing to negotiate this legislation and the Settlement Agreement.  In fact, they are in Washington, DC this week in meetings with Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Navajo Nation officials.  We recently received a copy of proposed changes to S.2109 that Shingoitewa and his attorneys have been secretly negotiating without our knowledge and approval.  Secretary Salazar and some tribal officials have indicated they want to push this legislation for passage during the lame duck Congress (before the end of this year).  We, past elected tribal leaders, have written to the tribal council to direct Shingoitewa to cease the negotiations and comply with Resolution H-072-2012.  And I sent a letter to Secretary Salazar (with copies to Senator Akaka, Senator Kyl, Senator McCain, Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Washburn) that Shingoitewa and the tribal council do not have authority to negotiate and give away our water rights.

2.       Hopi LCR Water Rights Claim in the Apache County Superior Court.  There was a hearing recently in Phoenix on Hopi’s water rights claim to the Little Colorado River.  If Shingoitewa and his team continue with their negotiations of S.2109, any agreements on S.2109 by Shingoitewa may compromise the claim our tribe filed several years ago in the Apache County Superior Court (Little Colorado River Water Rights Adjudication).  What will be the impacts on our aboriginal rights, Spanish law rights, and Federal reserved rights; and what will we lose, if S.2109 is passed into law?

3.       Mishongnovi Case (Tribal Court No. 2011-CV-0023; Appellate Court No. 2012-AP-0002).  Recently the Hopi Appellate Court sent out invitations to villages and others to file Amicus Briefs in a case that may impact the traditional leadership and governance in our villages.  It is vitally important that village leaders are made aware of this issue and that they consider filing their respective Amicus Briefs on behalf of their villages.  You remember the Hopi Appellate Court issued its ruling on the Bacavi Certified Question  in February 2010.  This was an important and historic ruling for our Hopi and Tewa villages.  The Mishongnovi case could have even more significant impacts on our traditional villages.  It is really important that all villages, traditional leaders and others file their briefs to the appellate court before the deadline expires.

4.       RICO Lawsuit Settlement.  In June 1999 the Hopi tribe joined in the Navajo Nation’s lawsuit against Peabody Energy, Southern Cal Edison and Salt River Project for price fixing scheme against the tribes on coal royalties, and breach of coal leases under a law called Racketeering Influenced & Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.   Navajo Nation demanded a 20% royalty for its coal but ended up only with a 12.5% rate.  Under RICO, Navajo could potentially claim treble damages (three times) of up to $1.8 billion.  But in August 2011, the Navajo Nation agreed to a settlement for much less than its claim ($600.0 million claim originally filed).  Shingoitewa and Lyttle agreed to a settlement without the knowledge and approval of the Hopi tribal council and the Hopi people.  Questions remain as to: What happened to the settlement funds? What did Hopi give up by accepting the money? What were Robert Lyttle’s fees? Did Shingoitewa agree to certain waivers and release of claims against the Defendants (e.g. release of claims for over-pumping of the N-aquifer)?  The Shingoitewa administration have, so far, refused to answer these and other questions raised by Council Representative Becky Masayesva.

5.       Robert Lyttle.  The tribal council recently voted, by a secret ballot, to hire Robert Lyttle as In-House Counsel to the Hopi Tribal Council.  In doing so, they purposely overlooked a highly qualified Hopi tribal member who, along with others, applied for the job opening.  Robert Lyttle did not apply for the job but was selected by Shingoitewa’s supporters on tribal council in a secret ballot vote.  Back in May 2010, Robert Lyttle entered into a contract with Shingoitewa at a time when he was not admitted to the Arizona State Bar; and at a time when there was no “Law Firm of Robert Lyttle” (in fact, there is no Robert Lyttle Law Firm), and despite the requirement for a “law firm” in the contract he signed, and the Council Resolution the tribal council passed.  Since then, millions of the tribe’s money have gone to Robert Lyttle and his purported “law firm”.  The other attorneys who purportedly are partners or members of his “law firm” are members of other law firms.  How much money has been paid to Robert Lyttle?  What work did they perform?  Are there legal contracts between the Hopi Tribe (approved by tribal council) and all of Lyttle’s attorney friends who purportedly work in his “law firm”?  What funds were used to pay Lyttle?  We all have a right to have these, and other questions, answered by the Shingoitewa (and the Treasurer).

6.       Tribal Fiscal Year 2009 Audit.  The tribal council recently approved a Fiscal Year 2009 audit performed by Walker & Armstrong.   The audit firm has worked for the tribe for a long time and may have violated several auditing standards (rules).  They may have violated conflicts of interest rules by acting both as auditors and consultants.  In the audit report, the firm evaluated tribal investments, investment risks, investment quality, past and future investment performance.  This goes well beyond and outside the scope of the audit.  So the question is, did Walker & Armstrong violate Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, Generally Accepted Auditing Standards, and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)?  Walker & Armstrong was deeply involved in the former Treasurer Russell Mockta matter and tribal investments; and may have certain vested interests to continue working for (auditing) the tribe.

7.       Miscellaneous. There are several other issues, such as the APS Right-of-Way, Law & Order Code, Snow Bowl, Grand Canyon Escalade Project, Shingoitewa’s new effort to revise the Hopi Constitution, etc., that will be briefly addressed.

These are only a few issues that face our tribe.  We just want to share them with you for your information since this administration is not keeping us informed.   What you (we) do about them is entirely up to tribal members.  Thank you.

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.
—————————————————
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.”

Hopi chairman accused of “gross dereliction”

A message from Ben Nuvamsa….

Attached for your information and dissemination is a complaint we (the former elected leaders of the Hopi Tribe who endorsed Action Item H-065-2012) filed against Hopi Chairman Leroy Shingoitewa for his failure and/or refusal to sign a duly enacted Tribal Council Resolution H-072-2012 that was passed on June 15, 2012, at the Hotevilla Elderly Center.  This resolution opposes and rejects Senator Jon Kyl’s Senate Bill 2109, Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Water Rights Settlement Act of 2012.  This Resolution was approved/passed by a majority vote of: 11 for; 4 opposed; 0 abstentions.  It represents the express will of our villages, village leaders and tribal members.

There was overwhelming objection to and rejection of Senate Bill 2109 by our villages and tribal members, yet Shingoitewa has purposely and deliberately refused to listen to the Hopi and Tewa people.  Instead, he signed Resolution H-073-2012 passed illegally on June 21, 2012 which endorses Senate Bill 2109 over our objections.  Action Item H-053-2012 was sponsored by Sipaulovi Village Representative George Mase to endorse Senate Bill 2109, which resulted in Resolution H-073-2012.  Resolution H-073-2012 is not the official position of the Hopi and Tewa villages and tribal members regarding Senate Bill 2109.

Even if Shingoitewa refuses, or otherwise fails to sign Resolution H-072-2012, he does not have the constitutional authority to veto a lawful action of the Hopi Tribal Council.  Therefore, this Resolution is in full force and effect, and has the force of tribal law.  If he continues to not sign this Resolution, by this letter, we have implored the Hopi Tribal Council by the attached complaint, to take immediate and appropriate action against Shingoitewa for contempt of tribal council action and for his failure to uphold his duty and obligation as presiding officer of the tribal council, including immediate removal.

A copy of this complaint has been sent to the Hopi Tutuveni for publication, and to other local and national news media.  We asked that this complaint be published in full, unedited text so that all tribal members and the general public can be informed of this matter.  Please disseminate copies of the complaint letter to your fellow tribal members.  Thank you.

LCR Water Rights Bill Rejected by Hopi – A Report to Hopi People

A message from Benjamin H. Nuvamsa…                            Sunday June 17, 2012

LCR Water Rights Bill Rejected by Hopi – A Report to Hopi People

Attached is a report to members of the Hopi Tribe and to the Hopi Tribal Council on the council meeting held last Friday, June 15, 2012, regarding our Action Item No. H-065-2012.  Our Action Item is to reject the Little Colorado River Water Rights Agreement, S.2109.  Please pass this information on to other tribal members.  Thanks to everyone, we defeated this dangerous bill introduced by Senators Jon Kyl and John McCain regarding our water rights to the Little Colorado River.

Despite this victory, this matter is not over.  Shingoitewa and Mase are still intent on continuing negotiations on this bill, despite what the action item, and now Resolution, No. H-065-2012, mandates.  In fact, Shingoitewa, Mase and Hopi attorneys are talking to and negotiating with Navajo’s attorneys.  Resolution No. H-065-2012 prohibits Shingoitewa, the Water & Energy Team and the Tribal Council from further negotiations on S.2109.  You should know that George Mase has an Action Item, No. H-053-2012, before the tribal council that “endorses” Senate Bill 2109.  But the council’s vote on June 15, 2012, killed Kyl’s and McCain’s bill and deems George Mase’s action item a moot issue; so it should not be addressed by the tribal council.  We are monitoring this matter and will advise you when the council may act on Mase’s action item so you can attend the council meeting.

——————————————

Below is the report that Nuvamsa refers to in his message. You can also download the report as a PDF document by clicking here

June 16, 2012

To: Honorable Members of the Hopi Tribe

Honorable Members of the Hopi Tribal Council

June 15, 2012, was an historic day in the history of our tribe. Hopi village representatives, traditional leaders and tribal members gathered at the Hotevilla Elderly Center and overwhelmingly rejected Senator Jon Kyl’s and Senator John McCain’s Senate Bill 2109, the Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Water Rights Settlement Act of 2012. At the end of the long day, the Hopi Tribal Council voted 11 to 4 to pass Action Item H-065-2012 that was endorsed by three former Hopi tribal chairmen and four former Hopi tribal vice chairmen, and sponsored by Vice Chairman Honanie, to reject Senate Bill 2109.

Our Action Item, No. H-065-2012, does several things: (1) it rejects Senate Bill 2109; (2) it prohibits any further negotiations of Senate Bill 2109 by the tribal chairman, Water & Energy Team and the tribal council; (3) it requires the tribal chairman to report the Hopi Tribal Council’s rejection of Senate Bill 2109 to Senator Jon Kyl, to the Congress, Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and to the Department of Interior; (4) it requires that, if another water rights agreement comes before the tribe, that it will only be decided on by members of the Hopi Tribe through a voter referendum (not the tribal council) after a full and open consultation with and through participation of the villages and tribal members. The council vote also effectively killed the Agreement-in-Principle because without Senate Bill 2109, there is no Agreement-in-Principle.

Not one village, not one tribal member, and not one traditional leader supported Senate Bill 2109. Villages and traditional leaders provided written testimonies, in the form of letters, proclamations and resolutions, all opposing the Kyl/McCain bill. But despite the resounding opposition by the Hopi and Tewa people, there were four votes in opposition to Action Item H-065-2012, most notably by all three representatives from Sipaulovi.

The day did not start without controversy. First, tribal chairman Shingoitewa and Sipaulovi representative George Mase tried to surprise those in attendance by bringing George Mase’s Action Item, No. H-053-2012, to the council floor. But thanks to an objection raised by Kykotsmovi Village Representative Nada Talayumptewa and others, the matter was stopped. Action Item H-053-2012 proposes to endorse Senate Bill 2109.

Next, our request to hold the council meeting in larger facilities was not honored by Shingoitewa, but thanks to former vice chairman Qötsaquahu’s persistence, we forced a vote. After a unanimous vote, we moved the meeting to Hotevilla. Once we convened at Hotevilla, there was yet another attempt by Shingoitewa to exclude the news media. The news media was previously excluded by Shingoitewa in the morning session in council chambers. And again, at the insistence of Qötsaquahu, a vote was taken and the majority vote allowed the news media to stay. But Shingoitewa demanded there will be no recording of the proceedings.

At the outset of the meeting, we insisted that Shingoitewa and the council not control our presentations by limiting what we say and by limiting how long we take to make our presentations. But throughout the entire day, Shingoitewa consistently tried to limit and control our presentations. Because of his constant interruptions and time remaining in the day, many people who traveled from far away and took the time to speak, were not able to address the council. For this, I apologize to these people.

After the presentations, Vice Chairman Honanie made the motion, seconded by Rebecca Masayesva, to approve Action Item H-065-2012. It passed by a vote of 11 to 4. But after the meeting, Hopi chairman Shingoitewa was quoted as saying to the news media, “The tribe will continue water settlement talks with the Navajo Nation, and other industrial users including Peabody Coal and the Navajo Generating Station.” But passage of Action Item H-065-2012 is very specific in prohibiting Shingoitewa, the Water & Energy Team, and the Hopi Tribal Council from any further negotiations of Senate Bill 2109. This statement by Shingoitewa demonstrates his deliberate intention to disregard the voice of the people and would violate the new tribal law passed this day by the Hopi Tribal Council. If he does not abide by the mandate of the villages, traditional leaders and tribal members, and the tribal council, then it would constitute a direct violation of the tribal constitution.

Passage of our action item would now deem George Mase’s Action Item, H-053-2012, a moot issue. But Shingoitewa and Mase are intent on bringing this action item before the tribal council later this month. We encourage you to impose on your council representatives to require George Mase to withdraw his action item. We also encourage everyone to show up at the council chambers when this action item will be discussed and object to the council to act on this action item. Remember this right belongs to the villages, not the tribal council.

In closing, I want to express my deepest, heartfelt appreciation to everyone who participated in this very important issue. This includes all village governments and village leaders who took a stand by issuing proclamations, resolutions, letters; all traditional leaders who issued proclamations, the veterans, allottees, tribal members, and many more. In particular, I want to thank former tribal chairmen and vice chairmen who took personal responsibility to sign the action item and made very compelling arguments to the tribal council. We appreciate the Village of Hotevilla for offering their facility for the meeting. And finally, special appreciation goes to members of the tribal council who voted to support our action item. Your participation and stance against the dangerous Kyl/McCain bill will go down in the annals of our history.

Kwak’wha; Pai’lolmani, 

Benjamin H. Nuvamsa

Shungopavi Village, Bear Clan 

Former Hopi Tribal Chairman 

Three Hopi villages now formally reject SB 2109

Rosanda Suetopka Thayer of the Navajo-Hopi Observer (NHO) recently reported that in addition to the leadership at Hotevilla, village leaders at Bacavi and now Shungopavi have officially notified Chairman LeRoy Shingoitewa and the Hopi Tribal Council of their disapproval of SB 2109. Momentum against SB 2109 is building back home, and I anticipate similar actions by other villages in the near future. See Thayer’s articles in the NHO:

Shungopavi religious leaders oppose Hopi Tribe’s claim to waive Hopi water rights (June 13, 2012)

Village of Bacavi formally rejects Senate Bill 2109 (June 12, 2012)

Village of Hotevilla formally rejects SB 2109 (May 29, 2012)


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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.

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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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