Hopi Tribe has new chairman

Earlier this month LeRoy Shingoitewa from Upper Moencopi was sworn in as the new chairman of the Hopi Tribe. Chairman Shingoitewa has a long history of promoting education among Hopi and non-Hopi people. Throughout his career he has served as the principal for Kinsey Elementary School in the mountain community of Flagstaff, Arizona, Moencopi Day School, and the Tuba City High School. Herman Honanie from Kykotsmovi was elected to be the Vice Chairman.

According to a recent report in the Navajo-Hopi Observer, Chairman Shingoitewa and Vice Chairman Honanie will be revisiting the passing of last month’s budget that eliminated funding for the Hopi Tutuveni. When asked in a public forum about the closure of the Hopi paper, Chairman Shingoitewa said: “Vice Chairman Honanie and I will be looking at the entire 2010 budget that was approved recently. Many of these budget decisions will need a second [visit] and the Tutuveni is only one of the areas we will take a second look at.” To read the entire story in the Navajo-Hopi Observer, click here.

[Chairman Shingoitewa’s father, Samuel Shingoitewa, attended Sherman Institute in the 1920s. In 2004, I had the priviledge of interviewing Samuel at his home for my book on the Hopi boarding school experience at Sherman.]

NAJA on closure of Hopi newspaper

Ronnie Washines, President of the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA), has written a statement in the Native American Times on the recent developments surrounding the Hopi Tutuveni. Washines notes that “A fully functioning government needs a voice that can disseminate updated news and information regarding the factual status of that government at any given time. Newspapers, especially tribal newspapers, are in a position to provide accurate news reports from a unique vantage point and the Hopi tribal members should not be denied their accessibility to such an important news source as the Tutuveni.” To read the entire article in today’s edition of Native American Times, click here.

No hope for the Hopi newspaper

The Hopi Tribal Council has passed a budget that will eliminate the Hopi Tutuveni, the official newspaper of the Hopi Tribe. Over the years, Stewart Nicholas, editor of the Hopi Tutuveni, and his staff have produced a remarkable paper. As I mentioned in a previous post, I believe that the closure of the paper is a major loss for the Hopi people. According to a report in the Arizona Daily Sun, the last issue of the Hopi Tutuveni will be in mid-December.

Hopi leader receives awards

In November 2007, the History Department at the University of California, Riverside, hosted a screening of Beyond the Mesas in the banquet room of Zacateca’s Cafe. A few days prior to the showing, I was told that I group of Hopis living in the San Diego area were planning on making the 2 hour trip for the event. One of these individuals was Nikishna Polequaptewa, Director of the American Indian Resource Center at UC Irvine. Yeseterday I heard that he recently received the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) Sequoyah Fellowship, and the National Center for American Indian Development “40 under 40” award for outstanding qualities as a Native American leader. Last week, a write-up about him appeared in the Navajo-Hopi Observer. Nikishna is doing great work at UC Irvine, but at some point he will return to Hopi. His lifelong dream is to serve as Chairman of the Hopi Tribe. Nikishna must be commended for his desire to give back to the Hopi community. He has a bright future ahead of him. To read the article in the Navajo-Hopi Observer, click here.

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert

Hopi newspaper may come to an end

For the past several weeks I have been hearing rumors that the Hopi Tutuveni, the official newspaper of the Hopi Tribe, will be closing down. This rumor was noted in Wednesday’s edition of the Arizona Daily Sun.

Closure of the Hopi Tutuveni would be a major loss for the Hopi people. One of the most significant aspects of the Hopi Tutuveni is that it provides a Hopi voice on current issues. So much of what has been written about our people comes from non-Hopis. The Hopi Tutuveni gives Hopis a venue to write about their history, culture, and current events from Hopi perspectives.

Furthermore, not only does the paper keep Hopis and non-Hopis informed about present issues, it also has historical significance. It records and preserves Hopi history, and it is a valuable resource for future Hopi and non-Hopi scholars.

One of the ways that I have shared my research on Sherman Institute with the Hopi community is by publishing in the Hopi Tutuveni. I realize that many people back home may not have access to academic journals, or certain books. But they have access to the Hopi newspaper. If the Hopi Tutuveni shuts down, who will write the narrative?

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert