Concerns about Village Governing Boards

My view on Village Governing Boards and their responsibilities.

On August 13 & 14, the village of Sipaulavi hosted a Governing Boards workshop at the Upper Moenkopi Community Center presented by KIVA Institute. There were many issues covered and information on our village and Tribal governance issues that we were not able to discuss ways of resolving the issues villages face. Looking at the Tribal view of Tribal/ Village relationships, I feel that HTC is practicing the U.S. government's habit of dominance over villages that is inconsistent with the Hopi Constitution whereby the villages created the Hopi Tribal Council to deal with the outside world in the eyes of Hopi/ Tewa to have certain powers delegated to HTC.

In my view, villages must exercise their rights to have HTC understand the power that villages have. Tribal Council Representatives are merely spokespersons of their respective villages and have no authority over Governing Boards, as they are the ultimate authority for their village members. Governing Boards must understand the authority given to them by the elders that made the constitution. It amazes me that the elders could see the problems we would face in our times. Governing Boards are recognized as the decision makers and speak for their village members as should Tribal Council spokespersons. The yoke of legislative power is being claimed by HTC contrary to the rule of law in the Certified of Bacavi. The misunderstood concept is that this is a Bacavi matter. What Bacavi is asking the courts is "do villages have the authority to remove their HTC Representatives?". The answer is yes, the Hopi courts ruled in favor of the villages. HTC ignores this ruling because villages have not done anything to enforce their rights and will continue until the villages exert their constitutional authorities. I am not fully convinced that HTC has the authority to remove a representative yet may have the authority to reverse a village's action to remove as was presented at the training session.

I think villages can establish their effective Governing Boards by hiring a full-time Governing Board Chair, Governor, etc. to administer a leader's obligations consistently. A part-time Governing body allows for officials to walk away from their responsibilities when things get unmanageable that villages can do nothing about since they are not bound to their duties.

The Certified Question of Bacavi also refers to the responsibilities of an HTC representative. It states that a rep must report to their Governing bodies the issues discussed at the Tribal level, acknowledge the input of the village members, advocate the views of the village, vote accordingly, and report the outcome of the issues brought before the village.

Also, villages without representation have the same authority as villages that do. However, their method of establishing their government-to-government relations is up to them.

These are only a few observations I encountered. To sum it all up. The village members and their Governing boards hold the Hopi/ Tewa people's future in their hands. Hopefully, these training sessions continue to teach us the importance of our duties as representatives of our people.

You as a Hopi/ Tewa person may feel that you are insignificant in the process of governance. That is not so, you are what this Hopi Constitution is built on for you as your tool to have all the advantages that are your right to attain a secure and compassionate Tribal government. HTC must account for and practice Hopi values. Pai senom yesni. Kwahk-kwai.

All comments are welcome. With your comments, I am able to gain guidance and work for you as a Hopi Tribal Council Representative. Please understand that we vote on all issues that may have an effect on you.

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