WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (11-7-14) – On Oct. 30, Speaker Pro Tem LoRenzo Bates (Nenahnezad, Newcomb, San Juan, Tiis Tsoh Sikaad, Tse’Daa’Kaan, Upper Fruitland) and President Ben Shelly issued a joint letter addressed to Hopi Chairman Herman Honanie, requesting a meeting to address the impoundment of livestock owned by Navajos residing in Hopi Partitioned Lands.
In a Nov. 4 letter addressed to Pro Tem Bates and President Shelly, Chairman Honanie wrote, “I appreciate your desire to meet. However, I do not feel it is necessary or appropriate to do so today.”
Pro Tem Bates and President Shelly requested a meeting to occur as early as Oct. 31, however, numerous attempts to contact the Hopi Chairman’s office to follow-up with the request went unanswered.
“To date, the Office of the Speaker and the Navajo-Hopi Land Commission have worked toward a resolution, however, at some point the leaders of the Hopi Tribe have to do their part by meeting with our Nation’s leaders to bring an end to the unnecessary use of intimidation and force to impound our people’s livestock,” stated Pro Tem Bates.
Pro Tem Bates said that while he understands the Hopi Tribe’s concerns over drought conditions and overgrazing, it is important that Navajo people are treated in a respectful manner that does not impede on their rights to maintain their livelihood through livestock ownership.
“I have spoken with residents who say armed officials are removing livestock and whether they realize or not, their tactics are creating stress and tension among the residents,” added Pro Tem Bates. “We simply need to sit down and talk through the issues at hand.”
Shortly after the impoundments began, the Navajo-Hopi Land Commission passed a resolution requesting the Hopi Tribe to accommodate livestock capacity for Navajo families living in the HPL.
“We will continue pushing the issue on our side and I hope President Shelly continues to do so as well,” said Pro Tem Bates.
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