Hopi Chairman's Office receives unlawful meeting notices from tribal secretary

KYKOTSMOVI, Ariz. - The Hopi Tribal Chairman's Office is in receipt of another notification of a special meeting for the Hopi Tribal Council being called by Tribal Secretary Mary A. Felter for May 23.

A previously scheduled special council meeting on May 5 did not materialize because there was no quorum of tribal council members. Many of the Hopi villages had directed their representatives not to participate in that meeting because it was not properly called and because the proposed agenda items were not supported by the villages, according to tribal officials.

At issue with the meeting on May 5 was that it did not comply with the requirements of the Constitution and Bylaws of the Hopi Tribe. Article II, Section 3 of the bylaws require that the Chairman call special meetings of the Council "in his discretion or at the request of four (4) representatives."

"The Tribal Secretary has no authority to call special meetings," said Chairman Benjamin Nuvamsa. "She announces properly called meetings, but should not be announcing meetings that are not properly requested. Not only did I not call the meeting, but the request was only signed by three representatives. [A]ny actions taken at that meeting would have been illegal and had no force and effect [because] the Tribal Secretary has no authority to call special meetings."

The agenda for the May 23rd meeting outlined the same Action Items as the agenda for the meeting on May 5. On the agenda is Action Item No. 055-2008 that would rescind Resolution H-028-2008, which was passed by Council on Feb. 12. It rescinded three objectionable action items that were passed the day before.

Those action items, if allowed to stand, would have effectively stripped the Office of the Chairman of all previously delegated authorities, suspended the Hopi Appellate Court, and authorized the payment of over $113,000 to Todd Honyaoma Sr.'s personal attorney for defense in a case in Hopi Court (Nuvamsa v. Honyaoma, Sr. et al).

In that case, Mr. Honyaoma and Tribal Secretary, Mary A. Felter, were ruled to have violated the Hopi Constitution and been in contempt of court.

Resolution H-028-2007 also rescinded HTC Resolution H-036-2007. Resolution H-036-2007 is the resolution that nullified the special election over a year ago that first put Chairman Benjamin Nuvamsa in the Office of the Chairman of the Hopi Tribe. That resolution nullifying the election has since been declared by the Hopi Courts to be unconstitutional and illegal. One of the effects, then, of the items on the agenda for May 23 would be to re-instate the nullification of last year's special election.

"Apparently, they weren't listening to the people on May 5 or to the court rulings regarding the illegality of nullifying the election," said Chairman Nuvamsa. "The fact that only six council representatives showed up for that meeting should have sent them a clear message that the villages (the people) do not support their agenda."

"We will continue to work at reassuring the Hopi and Tewa people that business at the Tribal Council is conducted properly," said Chairman Nuvamsa.

The next Hopi Tribal Council meeting will be the regular quarterly session in June, as mandated by the constitution.

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