Letter: Hopi tribal council is still in chaos
To the editor:
On April 1, Chairman Leroy Shingoitewa removed - with help of Hopi rangers - two certified Council representatives from the Village of Mishongnovi and four certified representatives from the consolidated village of First Mesa. In protest to this outrageous behavior of the Chairman, the representatives from the Village of Bacavi and the Village of Kykotsmovi walked out of the Council chamber. This left three representatives from Sipaulovi and four representatives from the Upper Village of Moencopi on the Council. The Chairman decided that these seven reprensentatives, with himself and the Vice Chairman, constituted a quorum. Normally, 12 Council representatives constitute a legal quorum. However, this "mini-Council" proceeded to conduct the business of the Hopi Tribe.
This is the first time a Chairman has taken upon himself the authority to remove certified village representatives - with the help of rangers - from the Council. This is also the first time that a Chairman has taken on his own authority to recognize three individuals from Sipaulovi who the Council had removed back in September 2008.
The question on everyone's mind is: What will happen next? Will the kikmongwis of the three traditional villages of Sipaulovi, Mishongnovi, First Mesa, and the governors of Bacavi and Kykotsmovi tolerate these outrageous actions of the Chairman? Will the BIA recognize this "mini-Council" as the legitimate representatives of the Hopi Tribe? Will the members of the Hopi Tribe tolerate this outrageous behavior of the Chairman who they just elected into office?
In summary, several things are very clear. First, the Hopi Tribal Council is in chaos. There is an urgent need to resolve these conflicts. Otherwise, the welfare of the Hopi people will be in jeopardy. Second, it is up to us with our village leaders to clear this chaos up. One of the things we must consider is whether this type of tribal council is a failure and needs to be thrown out and another form of government be established. This outrageous behavior within the tribe must not continue forever. We cannot ask the federal government to help us because they have made it clear that this is an internal problem within the tribe.
So it is up to us - no one else. For one, I am confident that we can do it, and will do it.