KYKOTSMOVI, Ariz. -The Hopi Tribe conducted a swearing-in ceremony of their new Council representatives on Dec. 1 in a capacity-filled Council chamber at the tribal complex. Chairman LeRoy N. Shingoitewa conducted the swearing-in ceremony.
The new representatives took their oaths to uphold the constitution of the Hopi Tribal government and to serve the Hopi people.
One by one, village governors or their representatives presented their newly elected representatives to the Council. Bacavi Village Governor Karen Shupla sent a letter, which was read into record, certifying Gayver Puhuyesva and Marshall Namingha as the elected village Council representatives for the Village of Bacavi. The two new representatives will join current representative Velma Kelyesva.
Kykotsmovi Village Governor Anthony Honahni presented and certified Carleen Quotskuyva and Rebekah Masayesva as the new representatives for the Village of Kykotsmovi. The two new representatives will join current representatives Nada Talayumptewa and Danny Honanie.
Lorena Charles, clan mother of the Bear Clan from the Village of Sipaulovi, presented and certified Alph Secakuku and George Mase to serve another term on Council. Secakuku and Mase will continue to serve on the Council with current representative Cedric Kuwaninvaya.
The mood of the ceremony was positive and optimistic. Quotskuyva looks forward to the work.
"The job will not be easy, but if we keep the people in mind as we do our work, we can never go wrong," she said. "I take my oath seriously and I take on this position with an open mind. I want to work collectively with the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman to make things better and work to advocate positively for all the villages - including Yuweloo Pahki (Spider Mound)."
Neal Monongye, a Hopi elder from the Village of Old Oraibi, shared wise words with the public and the tribal leaders. He reminded the Council of their oaths and their responsibilities to the Hopi and Tewa people.
"You were chosen by the people to represent and to advocate on their behalf. Whatever the people want in our villages, that is what you should advocate for," he said. "Today, everyone is for self and they want to be in leadership positions. We are like little children fighting for candy. There are more important issues that require planning and thinking far into the future, such as water issues. Issues such as this will have a great impact on our people, on our children long after we are gone."
Monongye also spoke about the role of Kikmongwi, which is village chief or traditional village leader.
"The traditional form of government and the Kikmongwis of each village are sacred. The Kikmongwis have a place and purpose in the village; they have no place in politics and we should not play around with them. [Their] role has been diminished. Even if Old Oraibi doesn't have elected representatives to serve on the tribal Council, we still want to be informed and updated on what is happening in the tribal government."
Monongye then turned to the audience in the chamber and concluded, "People, support and stand behind your elected leaders. We need to start working together for a better future for our people."
Willard Sakiestewa reminded the Council of their responsibilities and the oaths to uphold the constitution.
"The Hopi Tribe has aired its hurts nationally," he said. "But, the past is the past and it is time to start working on regaining our integrity back. Diplomatically, let us get our act back together again and show that we are serious about working with governments on issues that affect us."
Chairman Shingoitewa then congratulated the newly sworn-in Council representatives, adding that the current Administration just completed their first year in office.
"The Vice-Chairman and I have worked well together, and we look forward to working with the new Tribal Council representatives on behalf of the Hopi people," Shingoitewa concluded.