10/28/2008 12:36:00 PM Hopi-Tewas concerned about Hopi political situation
Photo by Loren Tapahe In the hot seat: Emerson Horace Quannie (left), Hopi Tribal Vice Chairman Todd Honyaoma Sr. and Dale Quannie speak to a group of concerned Hopi-Tewa members at a meeting held Oct. 16 in Phoenix. The meeting was called by the Hopi-Tewa group amidst concerns regarding the current political situation in Hopi.
Photo by Loren Tapahe
Doran Dalton of Hotevilla raises questions with First Mesa Representative Dale Sinquah about the legality of tribal council resolutions regarding Ben Nuvamsa’s suspension. The meeting became a heated discussion that came to no resolve.
Nuvamsa arrest warrant thrown out
Hopi courts set hearing for all parties involved
By Rosanda Suetopka Thayer The Observer
An arrest warrant issued over a week ago for Hopi Tribal Chairman Benjamin Nuvamsa was invalidated last Thursday, Oct. 23 at Nuvamsa's request.
Nuvamsa was charged with violating a tribal resolution and failure to obey a lawful court order. The resolution suspending Nuvamsa was enacted by 13 members of the Hopi Tribal Council on Sept. 22. The resolution instructed Nuvamsa to surrender all tribal property issued to him by the close of business that day.
Nuvamsa successfully argued in Hopi Appellate Court that although it's illegal to violate a tribal ordinance, it is not a crime to violate a tribal resolution.
The Hopi Appellate Court dismissed the warrant based on his argument.
Nuvamsa is also asking the appellate court to overturn the recent suspension resolution, saying that the resolution is both unconstitutional and illegal.
A hearing was set for Oct. 27 at the Hopi Tribal Courts for all parties involved in the suspension, including Vice Chairman Todd Honyaoma and the resolution's author Leroy Lewis.
Rosanda Suetopka Thayer The Observer
PHOENIX, Ariz. - Phoenix area Hopi and Tewa people organized a meeting at the Phoenix Indian Health Services building on Oct. 16, a week after they met with Hopi Tribal Chairman Ben Nuvamsa specifically requesting that Vice Chairman Todd Honyaoma be there to answer questions and clarify their tribal concerns about the current, heated political situation at the Hopi Tribe.
Honyaoma took not only members of his staff to the meeting, but also several members of Tribal Council along with Tribal Secretary Mary Felter and community members from First Mesa. This raised concerns with some attending.
Emerson Horace-Quannie, one of the organizers of the Hopi-Tewa meeting said, "We didn't mean to have all these Hopi tribal people come to Phoenix to talk with us, we specifically wanted Vice Chairman Honyaoma to come down by himself to let us know his side of the story, to help us understand why he was initiating all these ridiculous legal hassles on the Chairman at the Hopi people's expense."
Quannie added, "We had no idea he was going to bring all these people, now I feel badly that we caused more unnecessary tribal money to be spent ... and to make it worse, neither Todd or his representatives even gave us any resolve or answers."
The meeting had a set agenda and was slated to start at 6:30 p.m., but Hopi Council Representative Dale Sinquah from First Mesa started the meeting prematurely.
Sinquah stated that this was the Hopi Council's meeting and they alone would determine what would be discussed and the only thing on their agenda was the Sept. 22 suspension resolution.
"That resolution is not what we wanted Vice Chairman Honyaoma to come down to Phoenix for at all. We felt that since Chairman Nuvamsa had always made a point to come and talk with us ever since he was elected that it would only be fair to invite Vice Chairman Honyaoma to also come down and talk with us. But we did not invite the whole entourage of tribal people. We did have some very pointed questions, but also we wanted to know about the mining and water negotiations and just the state of the Hopi Tribe in general. But we weren't shown any respect, especially when Mr. Sinquah just took over our meeting, which we had planned prior on our own," stated one attendee.
"We had questions that were submitted by e-mail to us as the basis of the meeting agenda by most of our Phoenix Hopi-Tewa group several days before this meeting and none of those even got answered. Instead, it became very difficult to get clarity at all," said Junie Monongye, who is a Phoenix Hopi originally from Old Oraibi.
"What was even more upsetting was when a former Kikmongwi of First Mesa, Leo Lacapa, got up and scolded us all for living in Phoenix," Monongye continued. "Because he is recognized and respected as a Kikmongwi, no one in our Phoenix group said anything. But we all know as Hopis that the kikmongwi's place is not to leave the village [and] not to be brought to a governmental meeting like this ... and certainly not to be involved with a dispute like this. His place is in a traditional setting back on the reservation, quietly looking out for the welfare of his people. It makes we wonder why they are using our traditional leaders for their own political defense."
Other comments from the Phoenix group included that they felt disheartened at the response from the way they were addressed at the meeting.
"It would be good to fully clarify the requirements of how a person actually qualifies for running for Chairman or Vice Chairman. It just shows that our Hopi constitution needs some revamping. Right now, it's like we are in a civil war, because this ongoing issue at home at Hopi, it's dividing families into separate political camps. I am personally upset at how our Hopi Council is acting. They are only showing the worst of Hopi culture by [their] pettiness and selfish infighting. We are supposed to be known for our strong consensus building and problem resolving, but instead, the Council is only showing how small-minded and ignorant we can be. It's just flat out embarrassing," said one of the attendees.
Another attendee stated, "What I would like to see is to have both the Chairman and the Vice Chairman sit down with a professional mediator and resolve this issue. How are they really going to lead, and work together for us as Hopi people? They aren't going to get this done with all their own individual advisors and people who are hanging around them for their own personal political agendas. They need to meet; just the two of them with a single mediator - no outsiders - with the sole mission of trying to resolve this conflict instead of bringing in everyone else including high priced attorneys."
"The core problem is the Council. Most of them are not qualified to do any other kind of real outside work, we just keep recycling the same old biased group. This should have been handled in a much more respectable way. What is really upsetting is that no one is holding the Council accountable for their actions. If we acted and did what our Council did here in Phoenix in our professional job settings, we would be fired. There are professional ethics involved in this Hopi issue, but because the individual villages don't reprimand or put their council members on some kind of probation or possible suspension notice, this will continue forever," stated a Second Mesa village member who works in Phoenix as a teacher.
"It's sad, because Todd is my own relative and I voted for him. But now I think he's like a puppet, [and] being influenced by some very corrupt Hopi-Tewa people - one in particular - who never should have been rehired to work at the Hopi Tribe without consideration of his past. My trust for him is no longer there," said Monongye.
A special Hopi Tribal Appellate court hearing was held on Oct. 27 with a request of attendance for all the parties involved in the ongoing battle of questioned authority of the Hopi Tribe, including both Chairman Nuvamsa and Vice Chairman Honyaoma. Information and final results of that hearing will be published next week.
Posted: Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Article comment by:
I have just read the article regarding the situation between Mr. Honoyouma and Mr. Nuvamsa. As an interested outsider who is only partly Cherokee, I humbly ask forgiveness to even speak to this subject. When reading these articles I feel that you could possibly resolve this by going back to the meeting on September 1st. Let that be the day that counts. Let the September meeting be reconvened soon and start again with Mr Nuvamsa leading the meeting. If there are to be changes after that, then let everyone be there and let everyone vote at that time. The Hopi people have grave situations to confront, such as water quality and pollution due to corporate interest in your lands. Please put away these differences and stand together to protect yourselves and your future. I hope to visit the Hopi area in the near future. I have a deep respect and admiration for the indigenous cultures. I want to learn more. I hope that peace is always with you.
Thank you. Chris Dayani, registered nurse
Posted: Thursday, November 6, 2008
Article comment by:
kikmongwi's are like traditionally what to the hopi trbe?
Posted: Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Article comment by:
Thank you for the article Rosanda. The whole issue is and has been very upsetting.It is disheartening that a kikmonwi would admonish his chidren living outside of Hopi. What is very disturbing is that Mr. Honyouma and his backers sre using our traditional leaders in this manner. Where are your hearts? This not Hopi! Look at the message you are sending to our future leaders. Wake up from your power trip!