Fate of Hopi newspaper still uncertain

KYKOTSMOVI, Ariz. - On May 13, the Hopi Tribal Council passed a resolution to start the Hopi Tutuveni newspaper after it was suspended in 2009 "in an attempt [to] improperly restrict and withhold information from the Hopi people" according to the resolution.

Seven months later, no newspaper has been printed after the Chairman was "directed to carry out this resolution in such a way that begins the proper publication of the Tutuveni."

In archaic times the term Tutuveni was used to describe petroglyphs on cliffs and rocks throughout the southwest. This was the ancient way of communication during the migrations and ceremonial purposes of the Hopi people.

Petroglyphs marked the clans that had gone through the area or explained what may have occurred in a particular village or area for others to know what happened. This also was a way to put into writing the ancient claim to the land by Hopi people and their ancestors. Desecration of these rock writings is akin to erasing the history of the ancient people of the southwest.

The Tutuveni newspaper was therefore a cherished publication of the Hopi people, but due to the political turmoil in 2009, the paper ceased operation due to some harsh criticism by the Hopi Tribal government. Many articles were written in Hopi, which was a unique way to communicate to the Hopi people. One item of interest was the Hopi search word puzzle that had Hopi words to look for in the puzzle.

Hopi people looked forward to the newspaper every Thursday to read about the Hopi community. It provided information to people outside the reservation as well since there was no online format.

Nikishna Polequaptewa from the University of California at Irvine says he has created a template for an online version of the Tutuveni that he presented to the Chairman for consideration. He explained with this template, an online version of the newspaper could be established with ease, much like other publications.

In the past, Chairman Shingoitewa commented that he wanted to see the paper started in September. However, there has been no change in its current status. He also remarked that he was looking for an editor for the paper, which has presented a challenge as well.

The resolution passed in May directs the establishment of an editorial board made up of "one person selected by the Tribal Council, one person selected by the Chairman, and one person selected by the Chief Justice of the Appellate Court ... to ensure the Tutuveni is operated in a professional and efficient manner in accordance to industry standards."

Again, however, there is no word as to whether this editorial board has been established.

Finally, the resolution "appropriates available funds as determined by the Chairman of the Tribe." These funds may be available to help start up the newspaper again, but until then, the Hopi community must rely on other publications - such as the Navajo-Hopi Observer - to receive information about their communities.

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