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Hopis Thank Navajos for Escalade Vote

Hopis Thank Navajos for Escalade Vote
October 18
14:55 2016

The Hopi Tribe is glad that a Navajo Nation committee offered strong opposition to the proposed Grand Canyon Escalade development project.

Proposed Grand Canyon Escalade

Proposed Grand Canyon Escalade

The Navajo council’s Law & Order Committee unanimously voted against the $1 billion project during a meeting held at Twin Arrows Casino and Resort last week.

Hopi Tribal Chairman Herman G. Honanie thanked the committee for its action to unanimously oppose the proposed the Escalade, with a gondola
tramway into the revered Grand Canyon.

Many Hopi leaders attended the October 10 meeting.

In September, Honanie had urged the Navajo Council not to support the 420-acre tourism proposal planned by Confluence Partners, LLC, of Scottsdale.

The proposal would “irreversibly compromise the tranquility and sacredness” of areas the Hopi tribe has held sacred for at least a thousand years, Honanie said.

The five-member Law and Order Committee is the first of four committees that will hear the proposal before it goes to the full tribal council for a vote.

Hopi tribal members attending the Law & Order Committee’s meeting included Honanie, Vice Chairman Alfred Lomahquahu Jr., Leigh Kuwanwisiwma and Terry Morgart from the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office.

“The Hopi Tribe and many other Southwestern tribes, including the Navajo Nation, hold the Grand Canyon as a sacred place of reverence, respect and conservation stewardship. It is important to preserve and protect these sites from harm and wrongful exploitation,” Honanie said in the letter to the Navajo leaders.

The proposed development of the Grand Canyon is a violation of the Intergovernmental Compact entered into between the Navajo and Hopi tribes in 2006, Honanie added.

That pact said “The Navajo and Hopi people are and shall remain neighbors, and desire to live in harmony with mutual respect for each other for all future generations. One important aspect of such mutual respect is consideration for the religious beliefs and practices of the other.”

Among other things, the Intergovernmental Compact requires each tribe to respect the privacy of persons engaging in religious practices, and to not observe or intrude upon religious activities.

The compact also commits the Navajo Nation to protect Hopi religious sites and guarantee Hopi religious practitioners privacy.

The Escalade tourist attraction and resort would be located near the confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado rivers.

Navajo Council Delegate Benjamin Bennett sponsored the Escalade bill before the council. The controversial legislation would require the Navajo Nation to pay at least $65 million for infrastructure costs.

Kuwanwisiwma, who heads the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office, said that the site would disturb land where Hopi pilgrimages have been taken for more than a thousand years as part of a ritual initiation for Hopi young men.

The proposed gondolas on either side of the confluence would go over the top of sites used for sacred ceremonies and construction of the Escalade would destroy Hopi sites, Kuwanwiswma concluded.

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