Hopi economic summit on the drawing board
KYKOTSMOVI -- The Hopi Tribe wants to work with the villages to promote economic development on the Hopi Reservation.
Hopi Chairman Ivan Sidney announced March 21 that the tribe is making plans for a Hopi reservation-wide economic summit.
Chairman Sidney said a date for the summit hasn't been set yet, but will probably be around May. The Hopi Tribal Council and Sidney are working on plans for an organized economic summit on the Hopi Reservation.
The chairman said the economic summit will provide the Hopi people an opportunity to present their ideas for future economic development on the Hopi Reservation to the Hopi Tribal Council.
Economic development remains a key issue on the Hopi Reservation as unemployment is about 50 percent and the lack of land availability is just one of the reasons few businesses have opened on the Hopi Reservation in recent years.
Sidney, who ran last year on a campaign platform of village involvement, said the program plans would include presentations from each village.
"The organizational process and time frame are in the planning process," he said.
Chairman Sidney said presentations and participation in the summit will be limited to the Hopi people.
"This is not a political event. It is a Hopi event planned for Hopi input," she said. "Although we typically welcome all people, we will be limiting attendance and participation to Hopi tribal members. We, the Hopi Tribal Council and I, wish to hear from Hopi people."
Chairman Sidney said the Hopi Tribal Council including himself would not make a decision on any of the proposals during the Hopi Economic Summit.
He said after the summit, the Hopi Tribal Council will take the suggestions under advisement and will thoroughly investigate and evaluate the feasibility of the proposed projects.
Harold Joseph, chief of staff to Chairman Sidney, said the staff members are working with the tribal council to set a date for the summit as well as the parameters and methodology that will be used during the forum.
Joseph said the announcement of the summit is preliminary and intended to alert the Hopi people that the council, vice chairman and chairman are interested in the ideas, concepts and input of the Hopi people.
(Stan Bindell, former Observer editor, is journalism and radio teacher at Hopi High School.)