Shelley Smithson

Freelance Reporter

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KNAU and Arizona News
7:26 pm
Thu February 2, 2012

White Mountain Apache wrap up heated primary election

At the Fort Apache Reservation south of Show Low, two Tribal Council incumbents faced  defeat in yesterday’s primary.

The White Mountain Apache tribal election followed a raucous campaign season that culminated with a judge unsuccessfully trying to halt balloting.

Longtime Councilman Reno Johnson Sr. came in third in a field of three candidates, and won’t be able to compete in the general election in April.

The Election Commission barred Councilman Rubert Lupe Sr. from running because he did not meet the qualifications to run in his district.

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KNAU and Arizona News
8:56 am
Thu February 2, 2012

Apaches Go to Polls Despite Internal Power Struggle

Despite a tribal judge’s order to suspend the election, voting went forward Wednesday.

The reservation south of Show Low is embroiled in a political power play between long time chairman Ronnie Lupe and the Council.

The Council suspended 82-year-old Lupe in December. 

His critics claim he is trying to block opposition candidates from running in the Tribal Council election.

In January, Judge Reagan Armstrong ordered the tribe’s election office to reinstate the names of three candidates who were left off the ballot.

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KNAU and Arizona News
3:33 pm
Tue January 31, 2012

Navajo Nation opposes copper mining bill

The Navajo Nation Council recently voted to oppose a land-swap bill that would allow copper mining in the Tonto National Forest.

The legislation, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Doney Park, would lift a decades-old mining ban on 2,600 acres of federal forest east of Phoenix. 

It would swap the land for 5,000 acres of private land.

Copper prices are at historic highs, and Gosar says a mine near Superior would create 3,700 jobs.

The Navajo Nation has joined the San Carlos Apache Tribe in opposing the bill.

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KNAU and Arizona News
6:00 pm
Fri January 27, 2012

Flagstaff Politicians Court Voters at Forum

Voters in Flagstaff’s city elections took part in a kind of political speed dating Thursday evening.

But instead of singles moving from table to table hoping to meet that special someone, politicians did. And voters got up-close and personal with the candidates who want to be a part of the city’s future.

At the forum hosted by Friends of Flagstaff’s Future, four mayoral candidates and five of the six city council candidates moved from table to table at Flagstaff High School.

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KNAU and Arizona News
3:33 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

Hopis will appeal Snowbowl ruling

The Hopi Tribe will appeal a recent ruling in favor of the City of Flagstaff’s plan to sell reclaimed wastewater to Arizona Snowbowl.

The Tribal Council recently told its lawyers to appeal the decision by the Coconino County Superior Court.

In his ruling in late December, Judge Joe Lodge said that the major issues in the case have already been decided in federal court.

The tribe’s latest suit claims that treated sewage water cannot be used for snowmaking because melted snow could flow into water basins outside of the ski resort.

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KNAU and Arizona News
3:33 pm
Tue January 10, 2012

Tuba City Officials Accused of Taking $80,000

A hearing is scheduled next month for the fifth Tuba City Chapter official facing ethics charges on the Navajo Nation.

Charlene Nez, the chapter’s secretary and treasurer, is accused of taking $26,000 in chapter funds.

Her hearing before the Navajo Office of Hearings and Appeals is scheduled for Feb. 7.

Four other chapter leaders were removed from office last fall.

The officials are accused of granting themselves excessive bonuses totaling $80,000.  

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KNAU and Arizona News
4:27 pm
Mon January 9, 2012

Opponents of Snowmaking Appeal to Federal Court

 More than 100 opponents of snowmaking on the San Francisco Peaks marched to the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco Monday.

That’s where attorneys for the Save the Peaks Coalition were appealing a lower court decision that allowed the U.S. Forest Service to grant a snowmaking permit for Arizona Snowbowl.

The coalition is made up of Native American tribes and environmental groups. The Peaks are sacred to 13 tribes.

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KNAU and Arizona News
3:33 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

Hopi Tribal Council Spars with Chairman

The chairman of the Hopi Tribe says he will not fight a recent decision by the Tribal Council to strip him of administrative duties.

The Hopi Tribal Council voted unanimously Nov. 30 to take away Chairman Leroy Shingoitewa’s oversight of personnel.  

The Council also fired the lawyer that Shingoitewa had contracted to represent the tribe. Critics claim Robert Lyttle’s legal fees have exceeded $6 million.

Shingoitewa says the Council has since decided to rehire Lyttle.

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KNAU and Arizona News
12:00 am
Mon December 12, 2011

Hopi Tribe suing BIA over dump clean-up

Hopi and Navajo officials found this ball, which they believe was used to crush uranium at a nearby uranium mill. Tribal officials contend that the BIA allowed radioactive waste to be dumped here in the 50s and 60s.
Shelley Smithson

Lionel Puhuyesva walks across a sea of broken glass at the Tuba City Open Dump. Puhuyesva is director of the Hopi Tribe’s Water Resources Program. He has been working 12 years to clean up the groundwater beneath this landfill near Tuba City, Ariz. Last month, the Hopi Tribe sued the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs over the landfill that the federal agency operated for nearly 50 years. 

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