Arizona: Hopi Tribal Leaders Host Senators John McCain And Jon Kyl To Discuss Priority Issues

 

Hopi Tribal Leaders convened an executive meeting with Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl, Thursday at the Moencopi Legacy Inn to discuss priority issues of concern to the Hopi Tribe.

 

In a formal letter, Hopi Chairman LeRoy Shingoitewa presented the Senators with the meeting agenda which stated “I respectfully submit these issues of concern which the Tribal Council has identified, not related to the Little Colorado River (LCR) water settlement.”

 

Before the meeting began, Senator John McCain, informed the Hopi leaders they had just met with officials of the Navajo Tribe regarding the Little Colorado River negotiations and wanted to assure the Hopi leaders that they would “not move forward with legislation unless approved by Hopi.”

 

Chairman Shingoitewa informed the Senators that LCR presentations are currently being conducted throughout the Villages to educate and receive direct input from Hopi-Tewa tribal members.

 

The meeting proceeded with priority issues on the agenda:

 

1) Initiation of federal condemnation proceedings for Arizona state trust lands interspersed in a checkerboard pattern with Hopi land acquisitions purchased as part of the 1996 Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute Settlement Act. The Hopi Tribe requires contiguous and complete land tract acquisitions through the federal condemnation of state trust lands in order to move forward with tribal land use, resource management and economic development plans.

 

2) Environmental contamination of Hopi reservation lands. The Bureau of Indian Affairs’ operation of the Tuba City open dump, from the 1950’s until 1997, has been a long standing issue and remains unresolved has a direct and impending negative impact on the Moencopi villages. The arsenic contamination around First Mesa and Keams Canyon is another long standing issue. Arsenic levels within the BIA water supply wells which serve the First Mesa and Keams Canyon residential and business areas are of serious health concern since they are in non-compliance with EPA standards and must be addressed immediately.

 

3) Construction of a Hopi adult and juvenile detention facility. The current detention facility was originally built as a rehabilitation facility then repurposed as a corrections facility by the BIA. The detention facility has failed health and safety standard inspections by the Office of Inspector General since 2004.

 

4) Construction of a consolidated third mesa elementary school. Hopi Day School and Hotevilla Bacavi Community School, which serve students from four Hopi villages, have been determined by the Bureau of Indian Education Facilities Management to have outlived their useful purpose. Hopi Day School was built in 1936 and is on the National Register of Historic Buildings. Both schools are badly deteriorated, unsafe and do not meet building codes. The Hopi Council passed a Resolution in 2006 supporting a new consolidated elementary school. Legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Trent Franks as HR 1122 Hopi School Replacement Act of 2009 but was never fully realized. Third Mesa is in dire need of a new school.

 

The 2012 Little Colorado River Water Rights Settlement was not the focus of meeting discussions between the Senators and Hopi Tribal Leaders.

 

Source: Hopi Tribe External link



Tags: Arizona  Hopi  government  water  environment  

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