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Navajo-Hopi Observer | Flagstaff, Arizona

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5/29/2012 10:12:00 AM
Village of Hotevilla formally rejects SB 2109
Unprecedented move by Hopi traditional village a first in disapproving LCR settlement
Rosanda Suetopka Thayer
The Observer

HOTEVILLA, Ariz. - Exercising its aboriginal sovereignty rights, the traditional village of Hotevilla, Third Mesa has formally rejected the Hopi tribal approval of SB 2109, making it the first of 12 villages located on the Hopi Reservation to formally notify the Hopi Tribal Council of its disapproval of any further action or legislative movement on its behalf.

In a formal village meeting held on May 21 at a regular meeting of the village community, Hotevilla adopted a proclamation and resolution directing and mandating that the Hopi Tribal Council reject Senate Bill 2109 - Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Rights Settlement Act of 2012 - and that "failure" to honor the village directive shall constitute gross neglect of duty as defined in the Hopi Constitution and Bylaws, Article V, Section 2.

Hotevilla's proclamation is consistent with the Hopi Appellate Court's final decision in the village of Bacavi's certified question filed in 2010 that traditional Hopi villages retain all aspects of "their inherent aboriginal sovereignty" and that those powers are "outside the scope of authority of the Hopi Tribal Council."

The discussion and approval of this village proclamation was a result of two separate village public meetings held at Hotevilla to educate its village membership on the water issue.

Public meetings were held on March 26 and April 13. During the April 13 meeting, the Hopi Tribes' Water and Energy Team Chairman George Mase, along with Hopi Chairman LeRoy Shingoitewa, made their arguments to the village in favor of the settlement agreement and "agreement in principle." This meeting was requested by Hotevilla Village with the added special condition that no outside tribal attorneys be present and that the Hopi Chairman and his Water and Energy Team present their materials in the Hopi language solely on their own.

This proclamation asserts that the village of Hotevilla has the "inherent sovereign power" to maintain and exercise its rights and powers over all matters and resources belonging to the village and asserts that these rights and powers have "never been delegated to the Hopi Tribal Council."

The Hopi Constitution and Bylaws does in fact, specifically "admonish" that the Hopi Tribal Council "shall not sell or lease tribal properties which includes water rights."

Despite protests from Mase at the April 13 meeting, the Hotevilla Village Board of Directors, on behalf of its traditional village membership, wholly reject SB 2109 and "any form of agreement intended to waive, or extinguish our rights to our sacred waters," directing the Hopi Council to reject the bill.

The formal three-page village proclamation by Hotevilla is titled, "HV-102-2012" and was signed off on May 21.

Related Stories:
• Shungopavi Hopi religious leadership opposes Hopi Tribe's claim to waive Hopi water rights
• Hopi Water and Energy Team hold first public water hearing
• Village of Bacavi formally rejects Senate Bill 2109

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Article comment by: Seth Leonard

I am very grateful this Thanksgiving time for the Traditional elders of Hotevilla village for the book Hotevilla by Mails and the late Dan Evehema. I have used it extensively in political activism with Congress and business elites to highlight the need for peace and justice in developing world to prevent WWIII. Thank you, Hopis!! I love you all...

Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Article comment by: Hotevila Villager

To Hotevilla Resident,
Yes I agree with you on where is the money from water usage going? On the other hand every thing cost now a days and if you don't want to have to pay for water, theres a spring just down below. Help yourself.

Posted: Thursday, June 14, 2012
Article comment by: Hotevilla Resident

If the village of Hotevilla oppose this SB-2109 bill, then why are they now wanting to meter wate to the Hotevilla residents. I believe this water belongs to mother earth and we should not be paying the village for this. What are the monies from this going to do for the village? They never given us that answer. There are no improvements going on in the village. The plaza houses are the main ones that need repairs. But do they help??NO they give us a lot of crap. And making Hotevilla residents pay for water, which is not theirs either, is stupid. We are always having baby namings and weddings. Also when there is a dance we have clowns, which the plaza house residents provide water for, what would happen then? No one allows to give you water..I think they are only thinking of the money that is coming, it's all about greed$$$$.

Thank you,
Hotevilla Resident

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