HOPI, Ariz.-After numerous requests and demands by Navajo families residing on Hopi Partitioned Lands to remove trespass animals from areas to which they have proper grazing rights (per the Navajo Hopi Relocation Accommodation Agreement), on Jan. 21, the Hopi Resource Enforcement Services implemented livestock round ups to uphold and protect the range resources.
Pursuant to Hopi Tribe Ordinance 43, Section 108 B.1.f Causing Damages and Section 108 B.2.b Trespass Impoundments, the Hopi Tribe and Resource Enforcement Services are mandated to enforce tribal laws and impound livestock in trespass therein not permitted under existing HPL grazing permits, both branded and unbranded, that has or are presently causing damage to Hopi Partitioned Land/Range Units.
"The feral horse population has become troublesome as horse owners have abandoned their horses on Hopi lands" said Chairman LeRoy Shingoitewa. "The drought and the growing number of illegal livestock have impacted the grazing rights of Navajo AA signers. This overgrazing caused by livestock owners has caused tremendous negative impact on the land."
Priscilla Pavatea, Director of Range Management, said, "The Hopi Reservation has been experiencing severe drought conditions over the past 16 years. If actions are not taken to protect Hopi lands, livestock reductions within the Hopi range units may become necessary."
"I have received several phone calls from HPL residents expressing their appreciation for the action taken", said Pavatea. "The residents have endured much hardship and continue to safeguard their grazing area."
At the last meeting hosted by Navajo families, statements of concern were voiced of non-permittees cutting fences to access grazing areas concerns included trespass, cut fence lines, water hauling and faucets not being shut off causing loss of water and leaving little or no water for their animals to drink. Some faucets have been broken. Families are also concerned about their own well-being and lifestyles being infringed upon by other Navajos who have not signed the agreements but continue to live on Hopi land.
Officials in attendance included the Hopi land office, Range Management, Hopi Rangers, Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Navajo/Hopi Land Commission, local Navajo Chapter Grazing official, a representative from the Hopi Tribal Council and the Hopi Chairman's office. No official from the Navajo Nation attended although they were invited.
"Only one representative from the Navajo grazing committee from the area was present and no one representing the Navajo Nation Council. I would have liked to have seen one of their representatives, as we have issues on both the HPL and NPL sides that we need to address as tribal governments" said Hopi Councilman Cedric Kuwaninvaya. "One would expect this to be a problem of Navajos against the Hopi, but it's not; it's Navajos against Navajos."
The roundup was conducted with full support of the Hopi Tribal Council and Executive Officers of the Hopi Tribe. Families in the area were given courtesy notice in advance and the required 5 day notices were posted in public places.
Roundups will continue throughout the year in all range units.