Hopi Tribe cautious in Little Colorado River Settlement Agreement

Hopi Chairman cites too many 'unresolved issues,' says more public education, input needed from Hopi people

KYKOTSMOVI, Ariz. - The Hopi Tribe is not ready to make a decision on the Little Colorado River Settlement Agreement and is not ready to make any hasty decisions regarding their water rights.

Hopi Tribal Chairman LeRoy N. Shingoitewa said Hopi is not ready to make a decision on the settlement agreement.

"There are several remaining tasks that need to be worked on," Shingoitewa said. "The Hopi Land and Water Teams continue to meet and work on the remaining tasks, terms and language of the agreement."

"There are still a lot of unresolved issues on the table and until the Hopi Tribal Council is more informed and at a point to go before the Hopi people to present and answer their questions, we cannot approve the agreement," Shingoitewa added. "More public educational forums need to be provided with input from the Hopi people."

On Nov. 4, the Navajo Nation Council voted 51-24 to approve the Northeastern Arizona Indian Water Rights Settlement Agreement.

A news release from the Navajo Nation stated that the Navajo Council's "vote to approve the settlement is the first step towards securing the Navajo Nation's water rights to the Lower Basin of the Colorado River and Little Colorado River systems. The Navajo Nation's water rights are reserved water rights under the Winters Doctrine - to establish a permanent homeland for the Navajo Nation."

The Navajo Nation Council's approval of the water settlement now goes before Navajo President Joe Shirley Jr. for review and signature. If approved by Shirley, the water settlement would still need to be approved by other parties, including the Hopi Tribe, the Central Arizona Water Conservation District, Salt River Project and many other parties of interest.

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