Hopi Tribe weighs NRCD funding

On Tuesday, March 16 at approximately 1:30 in the afternoon, the Hopi Tribal Council will address a Tribal Resolution, H-051-2004. It is a possible funding proposal that will aid in the development of all the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) contracts initiated through the Moenkopi Natural Resources Conservation District (MNRCD) Field Office located in Kykotsmovi, Ariz.

These NRCS contracts were initially developed and approved for many individual Hopi ranchers and farmers from the United States Department of Agriculture through its agency the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The NRCS programs offer many funding opportunities in conservation projects associated with natural resources but are defined as cost share and incentive based funding with strict financial conditions.

In essence, those Hopi individual contract holders are impeded from fulfilling their contract obligations by having to take full financial responsibility of paying for their cost share percentage and all material related costs.

There are approximately 27 contracts, which have been approved since 1997 with only one that has been fulfilled. Some NRCS contracts have expired and funding pulled back due to lack of activity.

If these NRCS contractual obligations are not fulfilled, then penalties may be assessed. It is also possible that $1.2 million of USDA obligated funds would have to be returned to the US Government.

A mutual agreement exists between the MNRCD, The Hopi Tribe and USDA and a cooperative agreement between the MNRCD, the Hopi Tribe and USDA’s, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Through these agreements, it was hoped that some in-kind services and material costs for these contract holders would be provided by the Hopi Tribe’s Department of Natural Resources inter-departments.

However, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) cannot shoulder the entire burden due to budgetary constraints imposed upon them by past and present budget crisis. It is difficult for DNR to carry the NRCS projects while at the same time fulfill the Hopi Tribe’s project priorities.

Since the mid-’90s when the Moenkopi NRCD was first conceived, officially recognized through tribal resolution and, subsequently, through agreements with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)—in particular, the Natural Resources Conservation Service—the Moenkopi NRCD has provided access to USDA’s programs to those individuals who have interest in obtaining cost share and incentive based funding available to them through our NRCS staffed field office in Kykotsmovi.

To date, the Moenkopi NRCD has been very successful in bringing in money to supplement our existing departments within the Hopi Tribe’s Department of Natural Resources in those areas mentioned above.

However, the cost share programs require the participants to provide, not only their portion of cost share, but also the up-front monies associated with the entire cost of materials involved. Thus, a problem has arisen for many NRCS contract holders who, not by their fault, cannot meet the financial aspects of these contracts.

As mentioned, agreements exists whereby the Hopi Tribe is a signee. The problem of funding and fulfilling the contract obligations is now being addressed to take the appropriate action in regards to this matter through a tribal resolution that I have put forth that will be addressed at the March 16 meeting.

The resolution will basically do two things. First, it will establish a revolving account to help cover the related expenditures such as material costs associated with all NRCS contracts.

Second, it will give those Hopi farmers and ranchers the option to turn over their individual contracts to the Hopi Tribe to fulfill the contract obligations. This would eliminate any undo hardships or possible penalties to those participants of the USDA programs.

I am therefore encouraging all agricultural producers (farmer and ranchers) to come to the March 16 Hopi Tribal Council meeting to help support and participate in this very important process.

Leonard A. Selestewa,

Board President

Moenkopi NRCD

What became of shopping center?

What ever happened to the shopping center that was supposed to be built in First Mesa?

Nobody talks about it anymore. I mean some people were all happy about it. They talked about it all the time. It was even in the newspapers.

There have been some rumors that they don’t even know where the money went to. It’s like it just disappeared.

That’s kind of stupid to lose a lot of money like that. I mean how could anyone lose a lot of money like that? I don’t know who lost it, but that person should have taken more care of it.

There is also another part of the story. They said that the Basha’s in Dilkon was supposed to be the one that was going to be at First Mesa.

Since we didn’t have the money, they went to the people who did have the money.

Just think that we could have had a Basha’s here. The Basha’s would have been helpful to some of the people.

We still have to go to town when we need some bare necessities.

I don’t think that I am the only who wants to know what happened to the Basha’s.

Andree Duwyenie

Bruin Times Staff

Hopi High School

Natives should get preference

I think Native Americans and other minorities should be given preference for getting jobs.

Native Americans and other minorities should be given preference for getting into colleges because there are many native students who are willing to go to college but are undecided where to go.

When they are given a preference, it makes their decision a lot easier. If they are given preference ahead of time, it makes it easier for the students to be able to get a chance to get into the collage that they want to attend.

Preference for getting jobs can also be a lot of help for those applying. It’s a lot of help because those Native Americans and minorities—who don’t get into college and don’t have anything to do—need a job to help them economically.

When Native Americans and other minorities aren’t given preference for getting into college or getting a job, it makes it harder for them because they have to find all kinds of information about the job or college themselves.

Sarah Duwyenie

Bruin Times Columnist

Hopi High School

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