To the editor: Who is going to lead the Hopi Tribe?
To the editor:
On March 2, 2010, over a year ago, Chairman Shingoitewa and Vice Chairman, Honani issued a memo suspending four village representative from First Mesa and three representatives from Mishongnovi for an indefinite period.
This action violated Article IV, Section 4 of the Hopi Constitution. It also violated the authority of these two traditional Hopi villages. In addition there is no specified authority in the tribal constitution for such action.
However, these two tribal officers allege that an Appellate Court case No. 2008-AP-001, the final answer and opinion of the court provided authority for them to take this action otherwise they would be in violation of a court order.
Three attorneys, to include Mr. Scott Canty, General Counsel of the Hopi Tribe, disagreed with this allegation of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman.
On March 19, 2010, the general counsel wrote the following memo and said on page 12, the following: "The Hopi Appellate Court's opinion concerning the Bacavi certified question is not a court order. Under Ordinance 21, section 1,2.8, the court lacks jurisdiction to order Hopi Tribal Council, the village or any individual or other entity to take any action. The opinion does not order the removal of Tribal Council, the village or any other entity to take any action. The Chairman and Vice-Chairman lack any authority to take such action."
The results are these, Mr. Scott Canty was relieved of his position as the General Council of the Hopi Tribe. Seven certified village representatives of two traditional Hopi Villages have been prevented to regain their seats on the council. The Hopi rangers who were established to protect ranges and Hopi representatives from the council chambers on several occasions.
In summary, today, the Hopi Tribe has a council which represents legally only three Hopi villages out of nine Hopi villages specified in the Tribal Council does not represent the Hopi Tribe yet the Federal Government continues to recognize it. The basic concept of Democratic government is majority rule but apparently this does not apply to the Hopi reservation.
The question now is this. What are we Hopi Sinom going to do about this situation? Do we care or not? Who is going to lead us? Or shall we let this type of Tribal government continue as is and do nothing. If that is the case, then we shall sit in our homes and get fat.
Caleb H. Johnson
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