Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

June 27, 2012

Media's false report on Hopi Council passage of water settlement

Former Hopi Tribal Chairmen respond to false reporting by Hopi Chairman Shingoitewa Concerning Senate Bill 2109, Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Water Rights Settlement Act of 2012

By Former Hopi Chairmen Ben Nuvamsa, Ivan Sidney and Vernon Masayesva
Censored News

Hopi water 1906 photo Edward Curtis
KYKOTSMOVI, Ariz. -- Hopi Tribal Chairman LeRoy Shingoitewa and Council Representative George Mase have been giving out false information that the Hopi Tribe approved Senate Bill 2109, the Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Water Rights Settlement Act of 2012, when in fact, the Hopi Tribal Council, by a vote of 11 for, 4 against, and 0 abstentions, rejected the Kyl bill on June 15, 2012. Over 100 tribal members witnessed this historic event.
Representatives from the Hopi villages, traditional leaders, allottees, and tribal members provided overwhelming objection to, and rejecting Senate Bill 2109 through written and oral testimony in a packed Hotevilla Elderly Center. Senate Bill 2109 favors non-Indian parties including owners of the Navajo Generating Station and the Peabody Coal Company; requires waiver of Hopi aboriginal and federal reserved water rights to the Little Colorado River; and waives any future claims for damages done to the Navajo Aquifer and sacred springs by Peabody Coal Company and owners of the Navajo Generating Station.

After hearing the people’s testimony, the Hopi Tribal Council passed Resolution No. H-072-2012 rejecting Arizona Senator Jon Kyl’s Senate Bill 2109. But, Shingoitewa has refused to sign this resolution forcing the former elected tribal leaders to file a formal complaint to the Hopi Tribal Council and demanding Shingoitewa’s immediate removal.

Hopi Council Resolution H-072-2012 not only rejects Senate Bill 2109, it also prohibits Shingoitewa, the Water & Energy Team and the Hopi Tribal Council from further negotiations on Senate Bill 2109, including the Settlement Agreement. It also requires Hopi Chairman Shingoitewa to report the official position of the Hopi Tribe to Senator Kyl and the Department of Interior on the formal rejection of Senate Bill 2109.

Leroy Shingoitewa and George Mase have been providing false and misleading information that the Hopi Tribe approved and endorsed the Kyl bill. They are doing this so they can continue the Little Colorado River water rights negotiations. Any negotiations by Hopi tribal officials would be in direct violation of Resolution H-072-2012 and would be grounds for Serious Neglect of Duty charges under the Hopi Tribe’s constitution.

Shingoitewa convened an illegal tribal council meeting on June 21, 2012, to force passage of a council resolution to “endorse” Senate Bill 2109. This he did out of total disrespect for the Hopi and Tewa people’s rejection of the Senate bill. Upon hearing of this action, many tribal members are angered and are demanding immediate removal of Hopi Chairman Shingoitewa and George Mase.

Resolution H-073-2012 is not the official position of the Hopi Tribe and its members. The official position of the Hopi Tribe is embodied in Resolution H-072-2012 which rejects Senate Bill 2109 and the proposed Settlement Agreement.


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