Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Mon, Sept. 27

Meet the candidates: Hopi Tribal Chairman election set for Sept. 9

Candidates for the 2021 election for Hopi Tribal Chairman. From left: Andrew Qumyintewa, David N. Talayumptewa and Timothy Nuvangyaoma. Not pictured is Alfred Lomahquahu Jr., who is also a candidate for chairman. (Submitted photos)

Candidates for the 2021 election for Hopi Tribal Chairman. From left: Andrew Qumyintewa, David N. Talayumptewa and Timothy Nuvangyaoma. Not pictured is Alfred Lomahquahu Jr., who is also a candidate for chairman. (Submitted photos)

The primary election for Hopi chairman takes place Sept. 9. Early voting starts Aug. 16 for Hopi tribal members.

Vice chairman candidate names will appear on the general election ballot only. There are four candidates for chairman and two for vice-chairman. The top two candidates for chairman will move onto the general election. The general election is Nov. 11.

The Observer recently sat down with all candidates and asked them the same questions. Candidates for chairman are Tim Nuvangyaoma of Mishungnuvi, Alfred Lomahquahu Jr. of Bacavi, David Talayumptewa of Kykotsmovi and Andrew S. Qumyintewa of Hotevilla. Alfred Lomahquahu Jr. did not respond.

Voters can stop by the Hopi Elections Office Aug. 23 – 27 to cast their vote or they can vote Sept. 9 during the Primary election.

The Hopi Election Office is located on the corner of Arizona State Highway 264 and BIA Route 2 in Kykotsmovi. Face masks are required. More information is available from the Hopi Elections Office at (928) 734-2507/2508 or online at hopi-nsn.gov.

Andrew Qumyintewa

Q: The coronavirus pandemic has brought forth the lack of internet services and other communication services on the reservation, how would you address this issue?

Fortunately, on Hopi, there was internet services available to families, however could be improved.

My intent is to establish strong communication with service providers in the area to fully understand the dynamics and barriers these providers face.

There are “dead spots” where families reside, which make it both frustrating and a barrier, particularly for students who need internet services to perform school work.

Another option to explore is working with villages to determine possible land site lease options for additional resource avenues for a wider range of cell services by soliciting companies to provide services on Hopi.

Q: What plan would you set forth to address housing on the Hopi reservation?

The COVID-19 pandemic has reasserted the dire need for housing on Hopi, multiple families residing in the same home made it very difficult for individuals to isolate if exposed or testing positive to COVID.

My intent is to establish a team, which will be tasks with several objectives. These objectives include researching historical content (what avenues have been attempted in the past, etc.), working with villages to determine realistic options (i.e. land assignments, leases, etc.) and funding options.

The Hopi Housing Authority will be a key player on this team; this is their primary role, housing opportunities.

Q: Now that the tribe no longer receives BIA emergency services and operates its own services, increased crime and slow response times have become an issue in some Hopi communities. How do you plan to address this?

In order to fully understand the position of Emergency Services, including Law Enforcement, Fire Response and Emergency Medical Services, my team must meet with these programs to determine their processes and determine their barriers, if any.

For example, Law Enforcement Services, we need to trouble shoot and determine factors for increased crime and slow responses; is it because of lack of training, short staffed, or some other reason? Communication with these programs is essential to addressing these barriers and to improve services, if any.

Q: As younger people move off the reservation there’s a need for expanded senior citizen services, including assisted living facilities. How do you plan to address this?

Traditionally, families always cared for the elderly, however, this is changing and services must be enhanced to ensure they are cared for.

As like any other program, we need to look into services or programs already in existence and determine what their barriers and needs are. With the dwindling of financial resources, we need to become creative to seek alternate financial resources.

There is an assisted living facility in Moencopi and collaboration needs to occur with the facility to fully understand the operation to determine the reality of establishing additional facilities on Hopi.

Of course, communication with villages is crucial to ensure the success of a facility and/or services.

Q: What is or can be done to address arsenic in the water – what kind of support/resources does the tribe need to address this issue?

There is a need to bring key players to the table to determine realistic scenarios and solutions.

There are grassroots, non-profit organizations that have started the work already, regarding water issues, and there are programs/groups that are more than willing to aid Hopi with water issues.

With minimal financial resources Hopi faces, there is a need to reach out to these resources and accept their intent to aid. This task also requires village involvement, therefore establishing a strong communication network with villages is essential.

This is another critical area that could function as a task team to identity the needs and seek resources.

David N. Talayumptewa

Q: The coronavirus pandemic has brought forth the lack of internet services and other communication services on the reservation, how would you address this issue?

We learned important lessons from our response to COVID that impacted Hopi.

Most critical was discovering the levels of inadequacy of the current broadband infrastructure. Online education was a challenge for students and schools. Employees working remotely during the pandemic was necessary, but impacted delivery of services to the people.

We are monitoring legislation now in Congress to shore up the national infrastructure. There are some immediate Infrastructural needs across the country, especially on Indian reservations. When the bill passes, we will be given only one chance to deliberate and plan projects that meet our needs.

Q: What plan would you set forth to address housing on the Hopi reservation?

Shortage of housing is a barrier to getting Hopi citizens living off reservation to come home.

We must also accommodate people living on the reservation. Existing housing programs have eligibility requirements that not everyone can meet. Many houses often have several families within the home, creating overcrowding.

I will work with villages to secure opportunities and lands for housing. Existing land use plans will be reviewed and updated. Consultations with public health agencies and utilities will help to plan infrastructure for housing.

We must expand home financing options that may include multifamily/apartments as well as single family units.

Q: Now that the tribe no longer receives BIA emergency services and operates its own services, increased crime and slow response times have become an issue in some Hopi communities. How do you plan to address this?

All options will be considered when my administration evaluates law enforcement and first responder services on the reservation.

Our villages need essential safety and security services as well as timely first responder assistance when emergencies occur. Undertaking a meaningful study will require soliciting input from Hopi citizens and village leaders.

I will also seek input from law enforcement and first responders to identify any gaps in services or capabilities.

Finally, I will seek resources and assistance from external sources such as the federal government, security professionals, and emergency response officials to enhance services on the reservation.

Q: As younger people move off the reservation there’s a need for expanded senior citizen services, including assisted living facilities. How do you plan to address this?

The Hopi way is to take care of all our people. Our elders carry cultural teachings and wisdom and are dear to us. This is an emotional issue because we all will age and have a stake in this matter.

This will require careful study with an analysis of levels of care, training, location of a facility, financing, and others.

To undertake a valid study, my administration will draw from professionals, elder citizens, and their families to gather essential information to start a conversation. Our efforts will consider future needs of the tribe to properly care for our senior tribal citizens.

Q: What is or can be done to address arsenic in the water – what kind of support/resources does the tribe need to address this issue?

Efforts to mitigate the arsenic issue has been a long arduous process.

This initiative, Hopi Arsenic Mitigation Project, started in 2005, involving many stakeholders including the Hopi Tribe, BIA, IHS, EPA, and others.

The Tribe has secured funding for infrastructure development, which is currently in progress; expected completion is spring of 2022.

Villages that will have arsenic mitigated are First and Second Mesa Villages, Second Mesa Day School, and Keams Canyon. On a larger scale the Hopi Utility Corporation will need to be expanded into a full utility authority in order to provide and maintain water, power, and communication systems.

Timothy Nuvangyaoma

Q: The coronavirus pandemic has brought forth the lack of internet services and other communication services on the reservation, how would you address this issue?

It’s hard to think that something so devastating, such as the coronavirus, could also bring much needed funding to Native Communities including Hopi.

For me, it is not a question of what we will do but what we have done. My team and I have embraced the opportunity to collaborate with our Hopi Telecommunications Inc. (HTI) to begin the work of improving broadband infrastructure in a geographically challenging location.

We remain focused on our schools and villages to address the need for technology and connectivity. We continue to make progress to bring these much needed services to our Hopi/Tewa Sinom.

Q: What plan would you set forth to address housing on the Hopi reservation?

We certainly recognize the need for housing which has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

Housing for healthcare professionals, education professionals, the need for our own Hopi/Tewa professionals to have a place to come home to, and most importantly, an opportunity to address our multi-generational housing issues for our Hopi/Tewa Sinom.

A plan, referred to as Tawaovi, has already been set in place including a master plan and is supported by years of Hopi Tribal Resolutions. We continue to seek Hopi Tribal Council support to make this shovel ready project become a reality for all.

Q: As younger people move off the reservation, there’s a need for expanded senior citizen services, including assisted living facilities. How do you plan to address this?

We have taken an active approach in supporting and building capacity with our programs. This includes those that provide services to our elderly. We are committed to strengthening our programs that deliver vital services to our elderly population.

Capacity building also includes strengthening our relationships with our Federal partners who also provide critical services to our elderly and also provide critical funding for our elderly programs.

Relationship building is critical to procure funding to build additional assisted living facilities here on Hopi. Again, we are committed to putting in the work for our elders.

Q: What is or can be done to address arsenic in the water – what kind of support/resources does the Tribe need to address this issue?

The Hopi Tribe and the Hopi Utilities Corporation collaborated with IHS to create the Hopi Arsenic Mitigation Project (HAMP). Funding was an obstacle. One option was to take a USDA loan out to fund this $20 million project.

In short, my team and I took an aggressive approach to seek funding for this project. Today, the HAMP project has been fully funded by our federal partners which include the IHS, EPA, and BIA.

This project is underway with a 2022 timeline to bring healthy, potable water to the impacted villages and two of our local schools.

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