Friday, January 16, 2009

Factions in Hopi Disrupt Council Functions & Mr. Peabody May Have A Role

5th U.S. Cavalry in 1905 with Hopi prisoners, and (inset) Youkioma, Antelope Priest, in 1910.

Circa 1680, The Pueblo Revolt: “The Chief of Mishonguovi said, ‘I have come to kill you.’ ‘You can’t kill me,’ cried the (Spanish) Priest, ‘You have no power to kill me.’ The old Priest made a rush and grabbed his sword from the wall. The Mishonguovi Chief yelled and the (mission) doors were broken open. The Priest cut down the Chief and fought right and left but was soon overpowered… Ponderosa pine beams that were outside and that which Hopi slaves brought back from the San Francisco Mountains were erected into a tripod. They hanged the Priest on the beams, kindled a fire and burned him.” –Truth of a Hopi, 1936

Factions within the Hopi “Friendlies”: Instability of a 21st Century, Colonial-Established Tribal Government

By Bahe “Kat” Keediniihii Katenay, Sheep Dog Nation Rocks Media
January 15, 2009

Big Mountain, Dineh bi’ Ke’yah’ (a.k.a. Arizona) The Hopi “friendlies” as they were referred to once in the early 20th Century when the American military and its Indian Agent were trying to establish a ‘civilized’ tribal agency. Today, in the 21st century these ‘friendlies’ are now referred to as “progressive” Hopis by the Dineh traditional resistance movement of Big Mountain. This current and federally recognized, Hopi tribal council is in turmoil due to an out of control political faction and years of temporary, executive leadership.

Coincidently or truth, the traditional Hopi Kwimongis have prophesized that, “the complete adaptation to the ‘corrupt White Brother’s Ways’ by indigenous peoples will bring about turmoil or martial law.” The traditional Hopi ways have survived because to a limited extend village chief authority are still respected. These descendents of the Hopi “hostiles” from the early 1900s are today’s traditionals, and they still oppose the colonial-established tribal councils because such councils pledge to an American oath to uphold the laws of industrial exploitation of the natural resources.

Before the subject of political factions in Hopi is mentioned in depth, the modern Dineh (Navajos) have had their own unstable political practices of the colonial tribal governing. Navajo political upheaval in the 1980s turned violent when two factions supporting their candidates for tribal executive position clashed in front of an administration building in Window Rock, Arizona. A couple of people were killed and some were wounded when the tribal police open fire after being attacked with sticks. More recently, a dispute among a community council in New Mexico on the Navajo reservation turned violent, but only chairs were thrown and a few people got minor injuries.

There is a book which is not widely known but it is called, “Truth of a Hopi,” that was published in 1936 by the North American Society of Science & Arts, Inc. One passage mentions the fragile Peaceful Way of Being a Hopi as it puts attention to “all the ruins throughout Hopi country” can show that “Hopis have always had dissensions.” Basically, a village would break up and thus a new village would be established. However, the only documented village breakup is in 1906 when the American colonialist brought the European form of education to Hopi.

“Hostile” Chief Tawahongniwa opposed sending Hopi children off to the American school in 1906, and he had some followers from Mishonguovi and Shipaulovi. Factions throughout Hopi intensified when “friendly” Chief Lololama was in disagreement with Spiritual Leader Youkioma who advocated for the ancient Hopi Ways. Tawahongniwa and his followers had left their home-villages and while on a search for a new home, Youkioma of (Old) Oraibi welcomed these homeless Hopis with the sacred corn meal but another “friendly” Chief Tawaquoptiwa disagreed with Youkioma’s invitation. All this led to Youkioma being excommunicated and forcibly deported, along with his followers, out of (Old) Oraibi into the late winter environment. This further led to the creation of the sovereign village of Hotevilla, attempted assassination of Youkioma, and military imprisonment of Chief Youkioma. Youkioma was about 90 years old at that time.

The modern and “civilized” Hopi tribal council was successfully formed in the mid-1960s and soon after, Peabody Coal Company was awarded its Black Mesa mining lease from the US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Today, the sources of this corruption are unknown and it is causing another dissension among “democratically elected,” Hopi leadership which were based on BIA designed tribal constitution. A constitution now being interpreted according to one faction’s needs to control certain aspects of judicial process and executive decisions, and the other faction that includes a recently elected tribal Chairman claim they have been deliberately removed and banned from participation. The BIA Indian Police and Hopi Tribal Rangers have only assisted by vacating the council chambers and arresting those who were unofficially banned. The police help maintain a hold and there is no functioning tribal council.

Meantime, Peabody’s Life of the Mine Permit for Black Mesa has been approved even though indigenous communities of Black Mesa and Big Mountain tried to stop the approval process, and even though this approval process caused factions in Hopi to intensify. Also, the BIA-Hopi Agency along with their tribal Rangers continues to assist in the US/Peabody, genocidal processes at Big Mountain with enforcements like monitoring and harassment of traditional Dineh elders. The traditional Dineh, whom once aligned themselves with traditional Hopis by opposing relocation policies and coal mining in the 1970s, have warned federal Hopi police: “What you do to us with all your threats of sins, you do to yourselves and your peoples! You will see.”

© Sheep Dog Nation Rocks 2009