UPDATE TO HOPI AND NAVAJO WATER RIGHTS SB2109. OCTOBER 19-2102
The issue of water rights of the Hopi and Navajo people is still being pursued By Kyl and McCain as of October 2012.
The Traditional Hopi ask you to continue your support through letters to Secretary of Interior and others, sign our petition, educate and share this information with your communities. You may find more details on or TAKE ACTION page.
Feature article: The TRADITIONAL Hopi appose the Tribes stand on SB2109 acting against the people and passed resolution after voting NO to water deal.
Hopis on board to renegotiate terms of water rights settlement
By Brenda Norrell
Censored News copyright (permission given to share on this site. Thank you Brenda Norrell)
US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar wants to push the Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Water Rights Settlement, already rejected by Navajos, through an upcoming Lame Duck Congress, according to a document leaked to Censored News.
The letter from the Navajo Nation Washington Office states there will be a meeting on Nov. 14 in Washington, between Salazar and the Navajos and Hopis to discuss the water rights settlement, along with the Navajo Generating Station, one of the dirtiest coal fired power plants in the US which Navajo and US politicians want to remain in operation.
Already numerous Arizona Indian Nations have accepted “water rights settlements,” which opponents say are the theft of Indian water for the US, pushed through by non-Indian attorneys. Those opposing the Little Colorado River settlement say it requires the Navajo Nation to give up expansive rights under the Winter’s Doctrine and future generations of Navajos would suffer.
The current scheme involves Salazar meeting with Navajo and Hopi officials, then persuading Sen. Jon Kyl to modify the legislation that has already been rejected and push this through an upcoming Lame Duck session of Congress following the elections.
The Navajo Washington Office letter states, “The Secretary believes that if the Tribes can come to agreement on the portions of the settlement that raised the most objections, he can convince Senator Kyl to make changes to the settlement. If the settlement can be changed there may be a window of opportunity for passage during the upcoming ‘Lame Duck’ Congress after the November election.”
The letter from the Navajo Washington Office is addressed to Navajo President Ben Shelly and Navajo Council Speaker Johnny Naize.
In the typical heavy handed style of US bargaining and political blackmail, Salazar says in his letter to the Navajo Speaker that they will also discuss housing in the Bennett Freeze area, where Navajos live in desperate conditions.
A primary reason that the US wants the water from the Little Colorado River is to keep the Navajo Generating Station operating, a leading source of global warming. The coal fired power plant on Navajoland near Page, Ariz., was founded on the abuse of Navajos. An attorney for Peabody Coal orchestrated the so-called Navajo Hopi land dispute in order to remove more than 14,000 Navajos from Black Mesa through relocation, so that Peabody could mine the coal.
Today, Peabody coal from Black Mesa fuels the Navajo Generating Station which provides power to Southwest cities, while many Navajos live without electricity. Phoenix and Tucson are now dependant on this electricity and desperate for Indian water. Coal mining depletes the aquifer on Navajoland, while most Navajos on Black Mesa live without running water.
Listen to Hopi Elders Speak with Host Rob Simone. Thank you Rob for interviewing us! www.robsimone.com
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Sign the petition on Avaaz to stop Senate Bill 2109. Please share with your networks. Thank you. Link here.
Stop the buying and selling of life through water; stop US Senate Bill 2109. We the Hopi are Caretakers of the Earth, of humanity, of all life. We encourage you to join us in protecting the life giving elements in the world for future generations. Without water, we all cease to exist. Buying and selling water, is buying and selling life. This is not a part of the natural balance. Around the world we must join together to stop the destructive path we are currently on and protect life itself.
Save Hopi natural water resources.
Hopi Message 2012 – World Waters at Risk – Prophecy
Hopis raise concerns about water settlement
By Kathy Helms
KYKOTSMOVI, Ariz. – Despite Hopi Tribal Chairman LeRoy Shingoitewa’s claim that “no deal has been made” to settle the tribe’s claims to the Little Colorado River, U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., stated in a Feb. 17 letter that Senate Bill 2109 was introduced “based on verbal assurances that the parties’ representatives had reached a conceptual agreement.”
In his letter to Sandy Fabritz-Whitney, director of Arizona Department of Water Resources, Kyl said he was aware of some minor outstanding issues that will be resolved shortly and said he expected the parties’ representatives to send him and co-sponsor Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a letter when they reach full agreement.
Although there are 33 parties to the settlement, “Formal approval by the negotiating parties, specifically the Navajo Nation and the Hopi Tribe, is a critical step in advancing this measure through the legislative process,” Kyl said.
While Shingoitewa and the Hopi water team held a closed meeting on the negotiations last Wednesday at the Veterans Memorial Center for Hopi-Tewa tribal members only, former Hopi Chairman Ben Nuvamsa and former Chief Judge Gary LaRance educated the public at an open meeting held simultaneously at the Community Center in Kykotsmovi.
“We have a lot at stake,” Nuvamsa, a member of the Bear Clan from Shungopavi Village, said while showing a slide of an unidentified sacred spring that had dried up. “That is sad. It made me cry because that particular ceremony depended on that spring being full, and it was not.” Without water from the spring, the ceremony could not be held, he said.
“It’s all part of the problems we’re facing with Peabody’s over-pumping. We have ceremonies where we go out and we pay homage to our springs and shrines, and we use that water for medicine, our prayers. That’s why those things are really important,” he said.
In exchange for waiving “past, present and future claims for injury to water rights and injury to water quality arising from time immemorial and, thereafter, forever …” up to $133 million would be allocated for one Hopi groundwater project.
Under the proposed Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Water Rights Settlement Act of 2012, the Hopi Tribe would waive its aboriginal water rights derived from time immemorial; water rights granted the villages from Spain and Mexico in the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo; and federal reserved water rights under the 1908 “Winters doctrine.”
“This bill gives the non-Indians substantial or significant benefits. It gives Navajo Generating Station a water right – 34,000 acre feet,” Nuvamsa said. “How do you gain a water right? You’ve got to own land, and along with that comes a water right. They’re sitting on the Navajo Reservation. They cannot own property, but this law gives them that water right.”
Kykotsmovi Village Gov. Melvin George, told the audience, “The water rights that we’re talking about today, it’s for the younger generation that are just still small. They’re going to be impacted tremendously. … And what are the younger generation going to say? ‘Our people sold us out, just like back in the ’60s when Peabody Coal was negotiated.’ This is what we’re trying to avoid right now.”
LaRance, a member of the Sun Clan from Upper Moenkopi Village, said that when the Hopi Reservation was created in 1882, the government also set aside sufficient water to sustain the Hopi people, not only now but in the future.
“The question is, if the Hopi Reservation was created in 1882 and we were given water rights in 1882, who was the reservation created for and who are the water rights reserved for?” There was no central government in 1882, he said. “It was created for the Hopi people that were then living in the villages that had been here since time immemorial.”
Exactly how much water Hopi has a right to is unknown. “We have to go to trial in the LCR case to prove how much water we’re entitled to. We haven’t done that,” LaRance said. The case is still pending in Apache County.
Even if the Hopi Tribal Council approved the proposed water rights settlement, that agreement could be open to challenge because not all of the villages are represented on Council.
“The Hopi Constitution said that the authority of the central government rests on the aboriginal sovereignty of the villages,” LaRance said. When the villages created the central government they gave it limited powers. They did not delegate aboriginal, ancestral, reserved water rights to the central government.
“Water is not even mentioned anywhere in the Constitution. When it is not mentioned in the Constitution, it is considered a reserved right,” LaRance said. A landmark decision issued in February 2010 by the Hopi Appellate Court affirmed the aboriginal sovereignty of the villages.
Kyl has worked with a number of tribes during his career to settle water rights claims, and tribal leaders are banking on him getting approval for the settlement before he retires in January.
“Just because somebody’s leaving the Senate, we don’t do away with our aboriginal rights,” Former Chairman Ivan Sidney said. “These are things that were taught us, and it really offends me when the senator said that the Hopi have no resources to use this water. Who do they think we are?”
Nuvamsa said the tribes never lose their federal reserved water rights unless they take official action to waive them. “It’s important to quantify water rights,” he said, “but the terms and conditions of this particular agreement are not good. … Let’s go back and come up with something that we can agree to.”
The former leaders want the Hopi Tribal Council to hold a special meeting on S.B. 2109 to hear from the Hopi-Tewa people and place an immediate moratorium on further negotiation of the bill. If not, the Hopi-Tewa Senom could file an injunction to enjoin Council from further negotiations and agreements on the bill and also take legal action to have the tribal courts enforce the villages’ aboriginal, ancestral and reserved water rights.
PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 25, 2012 Former Hopi Tribal Chairmen respond to false reporting by Hopi Chairman Shingoitewa Concerning Senate Bill 2109, Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Water Rights Settlement Act of 2012. Contact: Ben Nuvamsa (928) 380-6677; Ivan Sidney (928) 205-5504, Vernon Masayesva (928) 255-2356
Hopi Tribal Chairman LeRoy Shingoitewa and Council Representative George Mase have been giving out false information that the Hopi Tribe approved Senate Bill 2109, the Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Water Rights Settlement Act of 2012, when in fact, the Hopi Tribal Council, by a vote of 11 for, 4 against, and 0 abstentions, rejected the Kyl bill on June 15, 2012. Over 100 tribal members witnessed this historic event.
Representatives from the Hopi villages, traditional leaders, allottees, and tribal members provided overwhelming objection to, and rejecting Senate Bill 2109 through written and oral testimony in a packed Hotevilla Elderly Center. Senate Bill 2109 favors non-Indian parties including owners of the Navajo Generating Station and the Peabody Coal Company; requires waiver of Hopi aboriginal and federal reserved water rights to the Little Colorado River; and waives any future claims for damages done to the Navajo Aquifer and sacred springs by Peabody Coal Company and owners of the Navajo Generating Station.
After hearing the people’s testimony, the Hopi Tribal Council passed Resolution No. H-072-2012 rejecting Arizona Senator Jon Kyl’s Senate Bill 2109. But, Shingoitewa has refused to sign this resolution forcing the former elected tribal leaders to file a formal complaint to the Hopi Tribal Council and demanding Shingoitewa’s immediate removal.
Hopi Council Resolution H-072-2012 not only rejects Senate Bill 2109, it also prohibits Shingoitewa, the Water & Energy Team and the Hopi Tribal Council from further negotiations on Senate Bill 2109, including the Settlement Agreement. It also requires Hopi Chairman Shingoitewa to report the official position of the Hopi Tribe to Senator Kyl and the Department of Interior on the formal rejection of Senate Bill 2109.
Leroy Shingoitewa and George Mase have been providing false and misleading information that the Hopi Tribe approved and endorsed the Kyl bill. They are doing this so they can continue the Little Colorado River water rights negotiations. Any negotiations by Hopi tribal officials would be in direct violation of Resolution H-072-2012 and would be grounds for Serious Neglect of Duty charges under the Hopi Tribe’s constitution.
Shingoitewa convened an illegal tribal council meeting on June 21, 2012, to force passage of a council resolution to “endorse” Senate Bill 2109. This he did out of total disrespect for the Hopi and Tewa people’s rejection of the Senate bill. Upon hearing of this action, many tribal members are angered and are demanding immediate removal of Hopi Chairman Shingoitewa and George Mase.
Resolution H-073-2012 is not the official position of the Hopi Tribe and its members. The official position of the Hopi Tribe is embodied in Resolution H-072-2012 which rejects Senate Bill 2109 and the proposed Settlement Agreement.
Buffy Saint Marie
Says it very well with her song No No Keshagesh
Buffy Sait Marie Website click HERE