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Navajo, Hopi Discussing Water Deal

Navajo, Hopi Discussing Water Deal
June 09
10:37 2017

The Hopi Tribe is looking to reach a water-sharing agreement with the Navajo Nation.

The Hopi council’s Water and Energy Committee met with representatives of the Navajo Nation on May 31.

The tribes met with the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution – Udall Foundation to discuss the prospect of a water rights agreement.

The Udall Institute hosted the meeting at the behest of Arizona Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

Beginning in March 2016, representatives of the Hopi Tribe and the Navajo Nation met on several occasions, seeking to develop shared principles for water rights settlement discussions.

The initiative was referred to as “Two Nations, One Voice.” But those discussions soon reached an impasse.

McCain suggested the May 31 meeting based on the Udall Institute’s history of successfully mediating complex conflicts.

At the meeting, Navajo and Hopi officials each had an opportunity to state their respective positions, perspectives, and concerns.

The Udall Institute will assess the information provided, and report back to the Hopi Tribe and the Navajo Nation.

Hopi Chairman Herman Honanie expressed his appreciation to the Udall Institute for hosting the meeting and to Senator McCain for recommending it.
Honanie expressed hope the Institute will help the Tribe and the Nation bridge their differences in water matters.

However, reaching an agreement will be difficult and will require all parties to work together, Honanie said.

“The Hopi Tribe and the Navajo Nation are entitled to water resources that provide both of them a permanent homeland with meaningful economic development for their peoples,” Honanie said. “But, as a result of actions and positions of the United States and the Navajo Nation, the water resources readily available to the Hopi Tribe are limited and insufficient for Hopi’s future needs.”

Under present circumstances, the only viable settlement framework is one that assures Hopi rights to off-reservation water resources that will be delivered to Hopi lands with adequate waterworks infrastructure sufficient to ensure the Hopi Reservation’s future as an economically viable and prosperous homeland for the Hopi people, the Hopi chairman argued.

Protection, confirmation and preservation of the Hopi Tribe’s water rights and resources are of the highest priority to the Hopi Tribe, according to Honanie.

“We’re doing this for future generations,” Honanie said.

Honanie said the Hopi’s future depends on access to water resources.

“Large portions of ‘Hopitutskwa’ (the Hopi’s aboriginal homeland) were taken from us,” Honanie said. “Hopi has a right to share in the water resources of all of Hopitutskwa to meet our future needs.”

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