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home : opinions : columns August 29, 2016

4/10/2012 11:36:00 AM
Guest column: Kyl's bill will lead to desecration of Sipaapuni
Vernon Masayesva
Former Chairman, Hopi Tribe

Sipaapuni, which is the holiest of Hopi religious shrines - a place of emergence to the Fourth World - is an integral part of the Little Colorado River (LCR) system.

Under the Navajo and Hopi Little Colorado River Settlement, aka, Kyl Bill, Sipaapuni will not be protected. It will be immune from lawsuits against all upstream users who have sucked the LCR dry. It will be immune from lawsuits against the federal government and Navajo Nation who are planning to build a resort on the rim overlooking Sipaapuni.

It is ironic and laughable that the Hopi Tribal Council has unanimously agreed to oppose the Navajo resort while they are supporting the Kyl Bill that will lead to desecration of Sipaapuni, if enacted into law. A violation of Sipaapuni is a violation of Hopi religious freedom that is protected under the United States Constitution.

For this reason alone, the Kyl Bill must be stopped in its tracks. Would Senators Jon Kyl and John McCain sponsor a bill if they knew it would desecrate the Vatican, the Torah, and Koran?

Three principal religious shrines on Hopitutsqua (ancestral lands) are:

• Kiisiwu - a shrine to the north is located on Navajo land. A pilgrimage is made to Kiisiwu during Powamuya and Niman ceremonies.

• Nuvatukya'ovi - the southern shrine, home of Katsinum, known as the San Francisco Peaks.

• Sipaapuni - it is through Sipaapuni that Hopi ancestors came here from cities somewhere in the south, Paalatquapi, being one of them. Sipaapuni also lies within the boundary of Navajo land. It is our umbilical cord to Mesoamerica from where we came into the Fourth World.

There are many other shrines connected to these shrines, which Hopi religious practitioners use to keep the earth vibrating, keeping the world in balance, and praying for peace and harmony throughout the World.

Kiisiwu is impacted by Peabody's coal and ground-water mining. Nuvatukya'ovi will soon be impacted by artificial snowmaking made from reclaimed effluent water.

Sipaapuni is located on the LCR just before it reaches the big river. The mineral water that comes up and down, like it is breathing, is connected to the river. Under Senator Kyl's water rights settlement, it will be left exposed and unprotected because of a covenant not to sue non-Indian users, Navajo Nation, and the federal government for damages.

If the Navajo and Hopi Little Colorado River Settlement Act becomes law, the Hopi Tribe will never sue upstream users for severe damages done to the little river and Sipaapuni. Nor will we sue the Navajo Nation.

The Cameron Chapter of the Navajo Nation is planning to build a huge resort above Sipaapuni. They want to construct an elevator to take tourists to gawk at Supai.

For this reason alone, all Hopi Sinom and their allies must join hands, and stand together to defend Sipaapuni. It must be done in the year 2012, when the 5,000-year-old Mayan Calendar will end.

Kyl's water legislation is supposed to settle the Hop-Navajo Indian water rights claims to the LCR, but his main reason is to save Navajo Generating Station and Peabody Coal Co. to produce cheap electricity to bring water to Phoenix and on to Tucson. He is using the LCR Settlement as a vehicle to accomplish his task.

Kyl has tied the LCR Settlement to the 2004 Arizona Water Settlement Act, Boulder Canyon Act, Navajo Generation Station, Peabody Coal Co., and the Central Arizona Water Conservation District. It is no wonder people are confused, even the lawyers.

Related Stories:
• Letter: Our leaders are not acting in our best interests
• Letter: Tribal leaders respond to Kyl's letter
• More than 200 protest senators' visit to Tuba City
• Kyl and McCain visit to Tuba City erupts into Hopi and Navajo protest

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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, April 14, 2012
Article comment by: Real Hopi

There are many Hopi shrines that mark the boundaries of the Hopi traditional lands and we conduct ceremonies in the few remaining traditional villages that connect us to them. We do not use the Mayan calendar, we still have our Hopi religion, language and culture in only a few villages today. We do not use these beliefs, teachings and sacred sites for newspaper articles when they are convenient, we have struggled to maintain them and do so to this very day. We practice, carry out and pass them on to the next generation. Come visit Hopi and learn who have really maintained the Hopi ways.

Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Article comment by: inform hopi

While I applaud Mr. Masayesva's efforts at combating this piece of legislation, I can't help but think that his WIFE was among the voters on the "unanimous council" vote to endorse this legislation! Giving up aboriginal rights is a dangerous precedent. Water will be the new "oil" in the future. Think of our great grandchildren. We need to preserve our natural resources at all costs.

Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Article comment by: Robert Ras KInd

Clearly and beautifully stated. The Hopi (not all but some) are the last true holdouts against the insane Babylon system. Hold strong!

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