Mary Shingoitewa-Nayanick faces a recall on Thursday, Aug. 1 from her position on the Upper Moenkopi Village Council.
Former Upper Moenkopi Village Tribal Councilman Everett Calnimptewa called for the recall of Shingoitewa-Nayanick, citing the village constitution provision that says any council member may be recalled without a specific reason.
While Calnimptewa said that Shingoitewa-Nayanick "serves at the pleasure of the village membership," she said the village council appointed her to her position. She believes only the village council can remove her.
Nevertheless, she understands that the recall will happen on Thursday.
Shingoitewa-Nayanick said Village Board Elections President Doris Honanie sent her a letter for recall and Honanie told her that the new constitution that the village adopted does indeed allow members to be recalled without a specific reason.
Shingoitewa-Nayanick said it was difficult to comment to the Navajo-Hopi Observer about the recall without knowing why she was being recalled. She also said Calnimptewa claims could be made against any member of the eight-person council.
Linda Honahni, who runs the Moenkopi Elder program, said Calnimptewa's statement about a tribal loan made to the program is inaccurate.
Both she and Dorothy George, chairperson for the board of directors for the program, said there was never a $100,000 dollar loan to the elder program.
According to Honahni and George, the budget for the elder care program is a line item in the entire Upper Moenkopi Village budget and is approved at the same time the budget for the entire village is approved. Honahni appears before the council to justify expenses, for staff and the program and the village council releases the money. Honahni said various foundations, government grants, donations from private donors, and lease payments mainly finance the program
Shingoitewa-Nayanick confirmed that this is how the budget process works for the program and specified that contrary to what Calnimptewa's claims, there is no formal financial policy and procedure for the Upper Village. She said the Hopi Tribal Council does not get involved in the affairs of the villages unless there is a very serious reason to do so.
Shingoitewa-Nayanick and Honahni both said that the Calnimptewa's claim that the village membership asked Shingtoitewa-Nayanick to resign from her position in the elderly program is not true. The Hopi Tribe hired her for a special project with the elderly program. The village membership was not involved with hiring her for the position and never asked her to resign.
Hopi's Upper Moenocopi board member faces recall election
By: Rosanda Suetopka Thayer
UPPER VILLAGE OF MOENCOPI, Ariz. - Mary Shingoitewa-Navanick, a Hopi tribal member, member of the Upper Village of Moencopi (UVM) Counselors Board and Director of Assisted Living for the Upper Village of Moencopi faces a recall election tomorrow.
Former Upper Moencopi Hopi Tribal Councilman Everett Calnimptewa filed the recall petition. Calnimptewa is an enrolled village member and a registered voter.
Calnimptewa said according to their newly adopted UVM village constitution, Shingoitewa-Navanick "serves at the pleasure of the village membership" and that the new constitution does not require a specific reason for recalling any member from office.
However, Calnimptewa said there are a number of concerns he has with Shingoitewa-Navanick's leadership.
"Mary Shingoitewa-Navanick is simply not listening to the people, she has been told specifically in a number of meetings to address village concerns in a timely manner but to date, some of those issues are now over a year old," Calnimptewa said. "My serious concerns have forced me to ask for a recall of Shingoitewa-Navanick with the biggest concern I have right now is with the 'default status' of the Moencopi Legacy Inn."
Each of the 12 individual Hopi villages have their own unique process of elections and recall-removal of village board members. A few of the traditional villages, such as Hotevilla, Shungopavi and Lower Mungapi, do not have any formal bylaws or policies to govern either seating or removing their board membership.
According to the constitution, which was adopted two years ago, only 30 percent of registered village voting membership must vote for both the recall petition filing and final election removal.
Calnimptewa said he and his recall supporters met these requirements including the 60-day filing period, which requires that the public notice must occur within the first 30 days. The next 30 days are used to set up the election for removal and village participation in that recall election.
That recall date for Shingoitewa-Navanick is set for tomorrow at the Upper Moencopi Village where all registered enrolled Upper Moencopi voters may vote to remove Shingoitewa-Navanick.
Shingoitewa-Navanick said in a phone interview last week she had been "served a validated letter for recall" from Village Board Elections President Doris Honanie. She questioned why she was not told specifically what the reasons were for her recall. Shingoitewa-Navanick said that Honanie told her that according to the new constitution it is not required to give that information on the recall ballot or the validation letter.
Calnimptewa gathered two signatures more than the required 30 percent of total registered voters - a total of 34 signatures. He then served the formal petition to the village elections board for the next step in the process, which was to validate the signatures, then move to setting the recall election.
"I really am doing this recall action on Mary because I truly care for my village," Calnimptewa said. "As an enrolled Hopi member and registered village voter, I am also looking out to save our village from going bankrupt from financing the Legacy Inn hotel which is in serious, serious default. Our village borrowed $11.5 million from the entire Hopi people to pay for the construction and management of this hotel. I even wrote a letter to the Upper Moencopi village council to ask why a tribal loan of $100,000 was given to Linda Honahni's program, the Moencopi elderly program without going through formal Upper Moencopi tribal financial policies and procedures, but so far, I have had no response. At one point, (Shingoitewa-Navanick) was even asked to resign from her elderly program position by the village membership but she said she would just see what happens. I'm disappointed that our own Hopi Council should be looking into this for us, but they don't even want to hear about it."
Shingoitewa-Navanick said she didn't want to make any formal response statement to Calnimptewa.
"But I don't think this recall is a very democratic way to remove people," she said. "I do confirm that I was served a validated letter from the election president, Mrs. Honanie but it didn't state why I was being recalled. I would like to say to my village membership, that I have not done anything illegal. I have always worked in an honest way. I have no earthly idea why Mr. Calnimptewa is wanting me recalled. I'm not being told what I have done but I know our new village constitution doesn't require that. I guess I will just see what Aug. 1 will bring me."