HOTEVILLA Ariz, -On Aug. 4 the Hopi Alliance Against Substance Abuse (HASSA) held it's August meeting in Hotevilla. A presentation was given by the Hopi Environmental Protection Office (HEPO) who gave information about meth manufacturing and the toxic waste associated with manufacturing the drug.
Many in attendance were concerned about the incidents of meth manufacturing on the reservation and the toxicity of the items used and leftover in the homes. Jeremy King of the Moenkopi Law and Order Committee expressed concerns about a house that was used for meth production in Moenkopi that still hasn't been cleaned up and voiced concerns about the contamination.
"Tthe toxic substances could be leaching out to the outside of the home at this time and children play around the area," said King.
According to HEPO representatives Meth manufacturing requires many toxic substances that are sometimes flushed down the toilets and will corrode the pipes and seep into the ground as well.
Yvonne Hoosava, the chairperson of the Moenkopi Law and Order committee, made a statement to the coalition about some things that the village of Moenkopi has done to fight substance abuse problems.
She recalled her son who was a meth addict, "Even though it isn't the Hopi way I had to call the police on my son numerous times and he spent time in jail," said Hoosava. "I had to stop enabling him and allow him to continue doing this [meth] in my home."
She implored family members to stop putting up with drug and alcohol abuse in their homes.
"Do not be scared to report them and others that may be using drugs and alcohol," said Hoosava. "I didn't want to visit my son in jail and the one time I did he didn't want to see me so I never went to visit him."
She encouraged other individuals to do the same to help stop this activity in their homes her son has been clean and sober for 3 years and is going to college. She urged people not to be afraid to call on individuals that are breaking the law in your community.
Hoosava also mentioned Moenkopi has been very active in passing ordinances since they have a constitution that allows them the ability to write their own laws.
Other things are exclusion laws that prevent individuals from off the reservation from coming back and committing crimes.
"One time there were Mexican nationals that were part of a raid on a residence," said Hoosava. "And since there was no protocol for arrest of foreign nationals they were let go and got away with dealing drugs in the village while the Hopi citizen was placed under arrest."
Another issue that Hoosava spoke about was the vandalism in the village of the Senior center
"It had happened before and the individuals were arrested," said Hoosava. "But because the prosecutors didn't show for court, the case was dismissed."
Other issues that were discussed were different events that HAASA has made their presence such as the Drums of Summer event at the Second Mesa Day School it was a success in fundraising and bringing awareness about the coalition to the community. HAASA also is in the process of updating their Mission Statement and Values Statement to refine the message that they are sending.
One item of discussion was the upcoming new draft of Ordinance 21, the new Tribal Criminal Ordinance. HAASA has long been a advocate for the community on the need to have stricter "substance abuse" laws on the books to address bootlegging and dealing of drugs on the reservation. One point of contention was the definition of controlled substances in the law to clearly define the substances such as meth, marijuana and other drugs that are considered controlled substances. Individuals in attendance referred to the Navajo Nation Law and other laws that clearly define controlled substances in their laws. "This is not the final draft of the law," said Chairman Shingoitewa.
"Concerns should be brought to the members of the Law Enforcement Task Team such as Wayne Kuwanhoiyouma chairperson of the committee to address these concerns."
HAASA discussed holding some type of public event to bring attention to the Ordinance. There will be a public presentation held on Aug. 16 at the Hopi Veterans Memorial Center.
One individual from the village of Hotevilla voiced her concerns that during ceremonial times, especially the recent home dance in Hotevilla and Shipaulovi, that there were country dances and reggae dances occurring at the same time. She stated "My elders told me that these ceremonies should be supported by the entire community by not encouraging these events where people drink and drive which has caused some drunk driving deaths as well."
HAASA holds monthly meetings, and the next meeting is scheduled for the first week of September in Kykotsmovi for more information call (928)205-9593.