"The Hopi Tribal Council is not informing the Hopi and Tewa Senom of what it is doing ... Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and others are determined to take our water rights away. Former Sen. Jon Kyl tried hard before he retired." -- Former Hopi Chairman Benjamin Nuvamsa
By Benjamin Nuvamsa
To the editor,
June 15, 2012 was a historic day for the Hopi Tribe. On this day, the Hopi and Tewa Senom stood in solidarity as “One Nation: One Voice” to oppose the proposed Senate Bill 2109, the Navajo and Hopi Little Colorado River Water Rights Act of 2012. The Hopi Tribal Council passed Resolution No. H-072-2012 to formally oppose the bill.
Resolution H-072-2012 provides that further and separate negotiations shall not continue without full and open consultation with the Hopi and Tewa Villages, Hopi Senom and the Hopi Tribal Council.
Sadly, however, the Hopi Tribal Council, in a unilateral action, purported to “repeal” the resolution June 21, 2012 by passing Resolution H-073-2012. This resolution provided support for Senate Bill 2109. It was sponsored by George Mase, former Sipaulovi representative and chairman of the Water & Energy Team, and was endorsed by former tribal Chairman LeRoy Shingoitewa.
Then on Dec. 18, 2012, the Hopi Tribal Council voted to repeal Resolution H-073-2012.
Today, we see press releases and news articles with pictures of tribal Chairman Herman Honanie and members of the Water & Energy Team touting collaboration with other parties in negotiating our Little Colorado River water rights. But as noted in Resolution H-072-2012, Honanie and the Hopi Water & Energy Team are in direct violation of the mandates of the Hopi and Tewa Senom. Yes, Resolution H- 072-2012 is still in effect because the Hopi and Tewa Senom, village governments, traditional leaders and former tribal chairmen and vice chairmen were not consulted and did not authorize the tribal council to repeal their resolution.
This means the Hopi Tribal Council does not have the authority to continue current negotiations and to spend the tribe’s money on attorneys. It means the Hopi Tribal Council must provide full and open consultation with the Hopi and Tewa Senom, village governments and traditional leaders. It means members of the Hopi Tribe must vote in a referendum on any offer to settle the water rights. This further means the Hopi Tribal Council does not have authority to accept or reject any proposed settlement.
Our villages are the rightful owners of water rights since time immemorial. Water right is a sacred right. It is a property right of the villages and any wrongful taking of this right without just compensation is a violation under federal and tribal laws.
The Hopi Tribal Council is not informing the Hopi and Tewa Senom of what it is doing. The tribal council is not consulting with village governments, village leaders and Hopi tribal members on matters important to the tribe. In this respect, the tribal council is in violation of the Hopi tribal constitution.
Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and others are determined to take our water rights away. Former Sen. Jon Kyl tried hard before he retired.
As Hopi and Tewa Senom, we must protect the future of our people and make sure the tribal council does not enter into any settlement that will impair our future and compromise our village aboriginal and sovereign water rights.
Benjamin H. Nuvamsa
Former Hopi Tribal Chairman Village of Shungopavi
Vernon Masayesva: "Hopi and Tewa Demand Halt to Water Negotiations'
Former Sen. Kyl's planned theft of water rights: This leaked doc in 2012 to Censored News shows how former Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl planned to steal Navajo and Hopi water rights by pushing legislation through a lame duck Congress. Interior Sec. Salazar was part of the planned theft of water rights, and Salazar resigned soon after. http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2012/11/leaked-documents-mainstream-media.html