Posts Tagged 'Hopi Tribal Council'

SB 2109 and Sovereign Rights of Hopi Villages

Below is an email from Ben Nuvamsa, former chairman of the Hopi Tribe, that he sent to a number of Hopis (including myself) on April 25, 2012. Please note that the documents that Nuvamsa refers to are included at the bottom of this post. Many thanks to Mr. Nuvamsa for allowing me to publish his email on BEYOND THE MESAS.

Hello Everyone.

Attached is a copy of the tribal council agenda which contains Action Item No. 053-2012 and proposed council resolution that George Mase (Sipaulovi) endorsed as Chairman of the Hopi Water and Energy Team.  Also attached is a copy of the March 8, 2012 Agreement-in-Principle that attorneys for the parties have signed, including Joe Mentor on behalf of the Hopi Tribe.  Note that the Agreement says they will endeavor to support S.2109, subject to the review and approval of the governing bodies.

Remember, neither Leroy Shingoitewa, George Mase, the Hopi Water & Energy Team, nor the Hopi Tribal Council have the legal authority to commit to endorsing S.2109.  This is the sovereign right of the villages.  Only the villages have a legal and sovereign right to decide on this matter.  In addition, only four (4) villages are represented on the tribal council, leaving out the remaining villages.  None of the traditional villages are represented.

Impose on your representatives to require that Shingoitewa and Mase withdraw Action Item No. 053-2012 as it is not properly before the tribal council.  None of the villages have been consulted on this Action Item.  Also, we urge all villages to enact village resolutions or write letters to the tribal council to withdraw this Action Item as soon as possible; and instead to reject S.2109.

Signed Agreement in Principal (March 8, 2012)

Water Resolution (Action Item No. 053-2012)

Hopi Tribal Council March Agenda 2012 Second Quarter

Ivan Sidney voices concern over “S.2109 – Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Water Rights Settlement Act of 2012”

IVAN L. SIDNEY
P.O. BOX 174
KYKOTSMOVI, ARIZONA 86039

February 15, 2012

Hopi Tribal Council
P.O. Box 123
Kykotsmovi, Arizona 86039

Dear Honorable Hopi Tribal Council Representatives:

I have to date, for several years, elected to refrain from writing to the Tribal Council for my own reasons and mostly to avoid political retaliations for voicing my opinions. I have read many documents of these retaliatory happenings and chose to continue my livelihood only to reflect on favorable memories of my many years of dedicated services to the Hopi People. I still believe and support the purpose of our Hopi Constitution and By-Laws as was understood by our Past Leaders and Traditional Village Governments. At the foremost was the support for our constitution due to its mandate that our tribal government’s authority is the Hopi People.

Also, included was the provision to mandate our Tribal Council Representatives to fairly and impartially represent the people. It further required the Tribal Council Representatives to inform the people of all matters before the Tribal Council. Today, I was informed of a bill introduced in the Congress of the United States to settle the long time Little Colorado River Adjudication. This is a very complicated case that for years have been primarily written to satisfy ranchers, municipalities, energy companies, industry, etc. What is offered to the Hopi and Navajo Tribes appears promising to resolve our need for future water but remain without adequate and guaranteed funding.

I read your resolution to approve the extension of your Legal Counsel’s contract based on this pending case. Some of us expected reports to the villages to informed the Hopi People of the status and details of the case. During the Hopi-Navajo Land Dispute, Chairman Abbott Sekaquaptewa and I were mandated by the Tribal Council to report to all the villages on a monthly basis. Today, reporting by the Elected Officials to the villages today is virtually non-existence. In my opinion, it does not excuse the Tribal Council Representatives’ from reporting on these important and complex cases.

I read the 157 pages of the bill only to have more questions and concerned for the immediate so-called resolution to our water rights. The introduction of the bill by Senator Kyle includes the statement, “Legally, the Navajo Nation and Hopi Tribe may assert claims to larger quantities of water, but, as seen here, they do not have the means to make use of those water supplies in a safe and productive manner. Among water practitioners, the tribes’ may be said to have “paper” water, as opposed to “wet” water. Those claims are far reaching, extending beyond the mesa and plateaus of northern Arizona calling question water uses in California and Nevada”. What is meant by these statements and what is the understanding and position of the Hopi Tribe. What is of great concern is terminating forever, our aboriginal rights and title to our water on passage of this bill.

I write this letter to strongly and respectfully urge the Tribal Council to immediately schedule meetings in the villages to personally explain this bill. I would consider your understandings, explanations and recommendations as a Hopi member versus an Attorney who is supposedly only providing his opinion. I also recommend that you seriously consider a referendum to place this matter to the vote of the Hopi People. This would place the outcome of the vote in the hands of the people including its possible future ramifications. The outcome of the vote will be the will of the people and no longer will the blamed be solely on the Tribal Council. I trust that the Tribal Council remains the representation of the people and in that representation, you would seriously consider the contents of my letter. Some of us are members of villages that are not represented on the Tribal Council and must rely on your sworn duty to include reports to our villages. I will be available to answer any questions at anytime. I remain….

Sincerely,

Ivan L. Sidney Sr.
Former Chairman

Chairman Vernon Masayesva
Chairman Benjamin Nuvamsa
Chairman Wayne Taylor
Hopi Village Leaderships

————————————

Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) introduces the “Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Water Rights Settlement Act,” February 14, 2012

“S.2109 – Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Rights Settlement Act of 2012”

Click image to download (157 pages)

Hopi Tribe to reinstate newspaper

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 26, 2012

Re-opening of the Hopi Tribe’s Newspaper, the Hopi Tutuveni

“This has been the wishes of the Hopi and Tewa people and I am thankful to
the Tribal Council that they listened to the people and funded the Tutuveni”
Chairman Shingoitewa

KYKOTSMOVI, Ariz. – After several years without operations of the Hopi Tutuveni, the Hopi Tribe is pleased to announce the hiring of a managing Editor. After nearly a year of recruitment, a candidate has accepted the position.

In 2010 the Hopi Tribal Council appropriated funding to re-establish the newspaper.

“My executive staff has worked diligently with the department of Human Resources and our Public Relations firm (HMA) to advertise and recruit for a new editor.  Although this was a long process, we are excited to have an experienced editor and look forward to working closely with the new staff. This has been the wishes of the Hopi and Tewa people and I am thankful to the Tribal Council that they listened to the people and funded the Hopi Tutuveni.” said Chairman Shingoitewa.

Chairman’s Chief of Staff, Curtis Honanie remarked “This is another step forward in serving the Hopi and Tewa people. We are very happy that our team was able to successfully accomplish another project under the leadership of Chairman Shingoitewa.  The foundation of this success was put in place over a year ago with a coordinated recruiting effort by our team.”

A formal public re-opening celebration is being planned by the Office of the Chairman for the latter part of February.

Contact:
Public Information Office
Phone: (928) 734-3104
Fax: (928) 734-6665
http://www.hopi-nsn.gov

###

Click here to download official news release.

A Hopi discussion on coal mining, water rights, and the environment

[The following letter was written by former Hopi Tribe chairman Benjamin H. Nuvamsa from Shungopavi.  He presented the letter to the Hopi Tribal Council on Friday January 13, 2012]

January 13, 2012
Hopi Tribal Council
Hopi – Tewa Senom

It is time we have a serious discussion about coal mining on our reservation, our water rights and our environment.  For far too long, we have pushed these issues aside, not willing to talk about how these issues impact our lives.  We must talk about how the Peabody Western Coal Company and Navajo Generating Station are affecting our lives.  Since the mid 1960’s, Peabody Coal has been mining our coal, pumping our precious Navajo Aquifer water and paying us pennies on the dollar in return.  Navajo Generating Station is emitting dangerous and harmful particulates into the air we breathe.  Our coal resources are being depleted.  Our Navajo Aquifer has been damaged and is decreasing.  Our drinking water supply is contaminated; and our sacred springs are drying up.  And, our people are suffering health problems from the mining activity and production of electricity.  But who is really benefiting from this mining?

Most people know about how Attorney John Boyden, with the help of the Interior Department, managed to negotiate coal leases designed to benefit the coal mining industry and the utility companies.  They literally stole our coal and water right from under us; and we allowed it to happen.  We were sold a bill of goods by Boyden.  Sadly, we are still allowing this to continue as evidenced by the latest Hopi tribal council’s action to approve the Peabody Lease Reopener.

Our elected leaders are being told by Peabody Coal, Office of Surface Mining, and by the Salt River Project (and other owners of the Navajo Generating Station) that if they did not approve the lease reopeners, that our tribal economy would suffer.  I do not believe this story.  It was the Federal government, in the first place, that determined what our economy would be; who would mine our coal and use our water; and literally what price we would be paid.  The Federal government created a monopoly for Peabody Coal.  Although it is our water and our coal, we were not allowed to make these decisions.  We could not exercise our inherent sovereign right to determine our own economic future.  Those decisions were taken away from us when the Federal government pushed the coal leases with Sentry Royalty (Peabody’s predecessor).  We did not have control over our resources and our economy.  We still don’t.  The Federal government designed these leases so that we would become dependent on coal royalties.

So what happens with the money we get from Peabody Coal?  We get a mere $11.0 to $13.0 million each year from Peabody Coal in the form of coal royalties and some bonuses.  This money is put into an investment account at the Department of Interior’s Office of Trust Funds Management in Albuquerque, but most of it is given to the Hopi Water and Energy Team for their travel and other expenses.  Most of this money is used by attorneys and other specialists to produce biased reports that our resources are safe and have not been damaged.  Hopi and Tewa Senom have no say in how this money is used.  Very little, if any of this money is used to create jobs and help villages.

So, as owners of the resources, we have to ask hard questions, such as:  Do we really need coal mining on our reservation?  Is it worth the loss of our resources? Is it worth damaging our resources and environment?  Is it worth the health and welfare of our people?  Again, we must ask:  Who is really benefiting from coal mining on our reservation?  Peabody Coal is a global company.  The ten-year coal leases give Peabody Coal full subsurface rights to our coal, water and other minerals (except oil and gas).  The leases give Peabody Coal full rights to the millions/billions of tons of our coal for which they do not pay us anything until they mine the coal.  Because of how the leases are structured, we cannot market our coal to other companies to get better prices and have a say on how our coal is mined.

Peabody Coal reported that in October 2011, its net income rose to $274.1 million, or a rise of 22.3% from last year.  Its revenues rose 9.2% to $2.04 billion from last year.  The Navajo Generating Station buys the coal from Peabody Coal to produce electricity.  The power plant is owned by the Bureau of Reclamation (24.3%) Salt River Project (21.7%), Los Angeles Water & Power (21.2%), Arizona Public Service (14.0%), Nevada Power (11.3%), and Tucson Gas & Electric (7.5%).  Salt River Project recently reported a profit of over 26.0% in 2011.  Peabody Coal, in its 2005 report, said it paid the State of Arizona about $67.5 million during the period 1986 to 2004; and paid the Navajo Nation over $82.9 million in various forms of taxes during the same period.  Hopi did not and does not receive any tax revenues because of a reported covenant to not tax Peabody.  So, who is benefiting from coal mining?

So what should do?  Should we continue coal mining, or should we enter into alternative forms of energy production, or should we just stop coal mining?  In any event, we must exercise our sovereign right to decide for ourselves, and decide our own economic future; and no longer allow the Federal government, owners of the Navajo Generating Station, and Peabody Coal to dictate our economy to us.

The Hopi Tribe (and the Navajo Nation) holds the key to the economy of the entire Southwest.  It is our coal and water that makes it possible for Arizona, southern Nevada and southern California to have electric power.  And, while others profit handsomely from our diminishing resources, our tribal socioeconomic conditions remain dismal.  We get no direct benefit from coal mining revenues, we have limited or no jobs, our homes are in disrepair; and many of us do not have electricity and running water in our homes.  After almost 50 years, we have nothing to show how coal mining on our reservation has improved our lives.

Our economic future starts with a serious round of discussions; adoption of sound energy and water policies; and renegotiating the Peabody Coal leases to demand higher prices and accountably for the damage they have done to our resources.  It also starts with the tribe imposing taxes on Peabody Coal.  It starts with requiring the Navajo Generating Station to comply with strict Federal emissions control regulations.  And, it starts with holding our trustee, the Federal government, to carry out its trust obligations to us.

Benjamin H. Nuvamsa
Former Hopi Tribal Chairman

Hopi Tribe Constitution Draft 24A Defeated

I just received word from Benjamin Nuvamsa that the proposed Hopi Tribe Constitution Draft 24A has been defeated.

Vote: 656 NO; 410 YES

I hope to get official word on the matter in the morning, and I will be sure to update this post with any new information.

See also BEYOND THE MESAS post: Nuvamsa responds to defeated Hopi Tribe Constitution Draft 24A, and the following news stories: Hopis reject proposed changes to tribal constitution (Felicia Fonseca, Associated Press/Arizona Central), Hopi voters reject proposed Hopi constitution amendment (Navajo-Hopi Observer),  Hopi Secretarial Election Results (Hopi We the People website) and Hopis Reject Constitutional Changes (Carol Berry, Indian Country Today).

Hopi Code Talkers Receive Honor

For the past few months one of the most pressing Hopi-related issues on my mind has been the proposed Hopi Constitution Draft 24A.  However, there are other important happenings out at Hopi that I want to highlight on this blog. Yesterday, the Arizona Capitol Times reported that “During Indian Nation and Tribes Legislative Day at the Capitol on Tuesday, the Senate Veterans and Military Affairs Committee voted unanimously to endorse a resolution that would formally honor the 10 members of the Hopi Tribe who served as code talkers.” And one day earlier on January 20, 2011, Louella Nahsonhoya, Public Information Officer of the Hopi Tribe, released the following statement:

—————————————————————-

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 20, 2011

The State Senate Veterans and Military Affairs Committee vote unanimously to endorse SCR1009 which will formally acknowledge and honor 10 Hopi Code Talkers

KYKOTSMOVI, Ariz. – On Jan. 11, the Hopi Tribal Council passed Resolution H-024-2011, authored by Eugene Talas, Director of Hopi Veterans Affairs and endorsed by Hopi Vice Chairman Herman G. Honanie to formally recognize Rex Pooyouma and Orville Wadsworth as additional Hopi Code Talkers. The resolution passed unanimously by a vote of 12-0.

Previously, the Hopi Council passed Resolution H-039-2007 acknowledging and recognizing the following men as Hopi Code Talkers during WWII: Franklin Shupla, Warren Koiyaquaptewa, Frank Chapella, Travis Yaiva, Charles Lomakema, Percival Navenma, Perry Honanie Sr., and Floyd Dann, Sr., all who were assigned to the 323rd Infantry Regiment of the 81st Infantry Division, known as the “Wildcat Division”.

In early Sep. 2010, the Director of the Office of Hopi Veterans Services was notified that Mr. Rex Pooyouma was identified by the U.S. Army Center of Military Studies as a ninth Hopi Code Talker and in Oct., 2010, the Office of Hopi Veterans Services was provided with military documentation citing Mr. Orville Wadsworth as a Hopi Code Talker.  Mr. Wadsworth’s name was submitted to the U.S. Army Center of Military Studies for validation and shortly after Veterans Day 2010, Mr. Wadsworth was confirmed as the tenth Hopi Code Talker.

During World War II, Mr. Rex Pooyouma was assigned to the 380th Bombardment Group and Mr. Orville Wadsworth assigned to the 90th Bombardment Group, with the Fifth Bomber Command, Fifth Air Force, U.S. Army Air Force. Both were selected and trained as part of a secret Native American Code Talker communications network to transmit secret-coded messages using their Hopi Lavayii in the Pacific campaign.

On Jan. 18, during the 16th Annual Indian Nations and Tribal Legislation Day at the State Capitol, Senator Jack Jackson, Jr. (D), sponsored and introduced SCR1009, to the Senate Veterans and Military Affairs Committee to formally honor and recognize the Hopi Code Talkers and their contributions to this Country and the State of Arizona.   SCR 1009 would also encourage schools to teach about the contributions of the Hopi and other Native American code talkers.

In a packed standing-room only crowd, heartfelt and emotional testimonies were heard from Hopi Chairman LeRoy Shingoitewa, Hopi Veterans Affairs Director Eugene Talas and family members of the Hopi Code Talkers.

“These Hopi men were humble and did not talk about what they did in combat.  A cleansing ceremony is performed to purify them before they return to their homes in the villages. They did not share their stories with anyone and lived the rest of their lives with memories only they knew about”, said Hopi Chairman LeRoy Shingoitewa.  “All Hopi code talkers are now deceased and we feel it is important that the state of Arizona and this great nation of ours know the history of what our people did for this country”

Veterans Affairs Director Eugene Talas said, “The Hopi people are very humble and don’t expect any glory or recognition, but for the most part they are supportive that we are finally recognizing the Hopi code talkers”.

The Senate Veterans and Military Affairs Committee voted unanimously to endorse a resolution which would formally acknowledge and honor the 10 Hopi Code Talkers. All Senators expressed their thanks to family members of the Hopi Code Talkers and acknowledged support from everyone.

Later that same day at the Joint Protocol Session on the Senate Floor, Chairman Shingoitewa was a featured speaker and spoke of hard economic times on the Hopi Reservation.

“Hopis believe our ways of lives have sustained us this long” said Chairman Shingoitewa. “Oraibi on the Hopi Reservation is the oldest continuously inhabited village on this continent, since 900AD. Economically we may be poor, but we are rich in culture. We are not a gaming Tribe, but we have natural resources on our land which we want to develop. We want to start working with the State Government to develop partnerships. We have the best coal in the country that is clean and efficient and want to support you in renewable energy. We are looking at a rail spur and invite you to help us. We need to start respecting and trusting one another, this can only result in a win-win situation”.

The day was a day of celebration for all Hopis, and as Maxine Wadsworth daughter of Orville Wadsworth tearfully said, “this helps bring closure for us”.

Hopi Tribal Council has recommended the design and purchase of a new bronze plaque to add Mr. Pooyouma and Mr. Wadsworth as Hopi Code Talkers to be displayed at the Hopi Veterans Memorial Center monument.  (A bronze plaque was previously dedicated on Nov.11, 2009 with names of 8 Hopi Code Talkers)

Hopi Code Talkers:

Franklin Shupla

Warren Koiyaquaptewa
Frank Chapella
Travis Yaiva
Charles Lomakema
Percival Navenma
Perry Honani Sr

Floyd Dann Sr.
Rex Pooyouma
Orville Wadsworth

For more information, contact Eugene “Geno” Talas at the Hopi Veterans Affairs Office at 928-737-1834 or by email at hopivets@yahoo.com.

###

_______________________________

See also BEYOND THE MESAS blog post: Hopi Code Talker Rex Pooyouma

Letter to Hopi and Tewa people regarding Hopi Constitution Draft 24A by Benjamin H. Nuvamsa

January 21, 2011

To The Hopi and Tewa People:

On January 27, 2011, Hopi and Tewa people will be going to the polls to vote on a new tribal constitution that will replace our 1936 constitution, if the injunctions filed in tribal and federal courts by tribal members do not stop the election.  It is sad that many of the voters simply do not know what is contained in the proposed new constitution, Draft 24A, because the proponents failed to explain to them, in detail, the provisions of the proposed constitution.

The Hopi Tribal Council, on August 4, 2010, voted to allow the Secretarial Election to proceed, without knowing the full implications on our way of life.  The Hopi tribal leadership and council members that voted in favor of the action item failed to listen to tribal members who expressed grave concern over this draft.  Tribal members wanted to have input but were denied.  So once again, our tribal government has divided us.

A few of us who are concerned about the impacts the Draft 24A, took it upon ourselves to educate our people.  In our sessions, we found most, if not all are opposed to the proposed constitution.  We found that people are very angry at the tribal leadership for allowing this to happen without full consultation and their input.  Tribal members are adamant that we do what we can to preserve our traditional ways of life.

I cannot help but think of all the hard work and thought processes that the framers of our original 1936 constitution must have gone through to craft a document that has sustained us for over 75 years.  They were visionary people.  They were not divided and cared for the future of our people.  My grandfather, Peter Nuvamsa, Sr., our first tribal chairman, was one of the spokesmen along with Irving Pabanale, Albert Yava, and George Cochise.  Our village chiefs, Kikmomgnwit, throughout the villages were consulted, including Kutka and Tunewa (Sichomovi and Walpi), Sateli (Tewa), Talahevtewa (Shungopavi), Masaquaptewa (Sipaulovi), Komalevtewa (Mishongnovi), Lomavitu (Kykotsmovi), Tawakwaptewa (Oraibi), Kochongva (Hotevilla), Kiwanimptewa (Bacavi) and Siemptewa (Moenkopi).

The leaders and framers gave specific instructions to Oliver LaFarge to craft language that protected village sovereignty and our traditional ways.  They made sure the following provision was included: “Each village shall decide for itself how it shall be organized.  Until such a village shall decide to organize in another manner, it shall be considered as being under a traditional Hopi organization, and the Kikmongwi of such village shall be recognized as its leader”. (Emphasis added).  The leaders made sure the sovereign right of our villages was not delegated to the Hopi tribal council.  They made sure we did not simply adopt an Indian Reorganization Act template constitution.  But now, we are faced with a proposed constitution that is modeled after the Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes’ constitution where Robert Lyttle participated in drafting their constitution.

Draft 24A destroys our traditional village governments because it contains the following replacement language: “Each village shall decide for itself how it shall be organized, including selection of its council representatives subject to section 3(b)(vi) below. Each form of village organization shall be consistent with the constitution”. (Emphasis added).  The new language eliminates a village’s decision-making right and eliminates them as “traditional organizations” and will require the villages to adopt new village constitutions that must be consistent with the new tribal constitution (Draft 24A).

There are many other things wrong with Draft 24A, including the complete elimination of Article XI – Taxation, from our current tribal constitution.   If 24A passes, the Hopi Tribe and villages can no longer impose taxes, fees, duties and assessments to produce revenues.  The tribe’s budget is heavily dependent on these revenues and will be impacted significantly.  Villages depend heavily, if not solely, on annual allocations from the tribe’s general fund.  Bringing our sovereign villages in as a fourth branch of tribal government is a foreign concept, even to how the United States and state governments are organized.  Draft 24A gives the tribal council and the president very broad powers and we lose the “balance-of-powers” controls.

The election process is also highly questionable.  While the Secretarial Election, by law and regulation, is the sole responsibility of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, we all know the tribal chairman and his staff is actually running the federal Secretarial Election while the local BIA offices stand by and allow it to happen.  Once the BIA assumed control and responsibility when it authorized the Secretarial Election on November 4, 2010, our voter registration and personal information came under the control of the federal government and protection under the federal Privacy Act, but the tribal staff gained direct and unauthorized access to our records.  As a result, some voters received a letter from the tribal chairman’s office in an attempt to sway their votes using the addresses of the registered voters.  Because of the breach of our privacy, I am no longer confident that we will, in fact, have a clean, legitimate election.

It is unfortunate the tribal council (the 8 members that voted in favor) did not consider the full impacts of Draft 24A and did not allow for full dialogue on this draft before they voted to approve the action item on that infamous day of August 4, 2010.

Federal rules require that only 30 per cent of the 1,488 registered voters are required to cast their votes to make this a legitimate election.  This means a minimum of 446 votes must be cast and a majority of those votes, or a minimum of about 227 votes, are required to approve Draft 24A.  We only hope and pray that Hopi and Tewa people will make an informed decision before casting their votes.

Benjamin H. Nuvamsa

Village of Shungopavi & Former Hopi Tribal Chairman


 


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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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