Governor meets with tribal leaders in historic summit

Gila River leaders took the heat in stride.

Lt. Governor Mary Thomas said, “The loss of water [from the damming of the Gila River] changed our lifestyle.” She noted that her community is now first in the world for diabetes from “getting hooked on commodity food.”

Thomas added, “Others will claim the water if [the tribes] don’t get it together” and achieve consensus on water settlements.

Gila River attorney Rod Lewis echoed Thomas’ sentiments, saying, “Unless we come to consensus, you won’t get [any water settlement bill] before Congress.”

And Governor Richard Narcia said, “We’ve been trying to settle this for decades. It’s clear to me that every effort has been made to include everyone.”

Narcia also noted that his tribe is settling for far less than the 1.4 million acre feet it is entitled to, and challenged other tribes to determine what they actually need in water supplies.

Hopi Chairman Wayne Taylor, Jr. said that the drought, combined with over pumping of groundwater poses a grave threat to Hopi life.

“Moencopi will be the first village to run dry in 2012,” he said.

And Hopi Council Member Florence Arthur of Bacavi

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