Thu November 19, 2009
Hopi elect new Chairman and Vice Chair
By Daniel Kraker
Flagstaff, AZ – For the first time in nearly a year, the Hopi Tribe will have a Chairman and Vice Chairman.
Leroy Shingoitewa was elected the new chairman of the Hopi tribe Wednesday. The 67 year old principal at Moencopi Day School near Tuba City received just over one thousand votes, nearly twice as many as runner up Clark Tenakhongva. Herman Honanie, current Director of Health Services for the Hopi Tribe, was elected vice chairman.
The Hopi Tribe has been wracked by infighting since former chairman Ben Nuvamsa and vice chair Todd Honyauma resigned nearly a year ago. Honanie hopes this election will help the Hopi people come together.
"Hopefully we can start this new administration out on a positive note. I think it's going to depend on our willingness to be open, honest, and work together on behalf of the people."
But Alph Secakuku, who directors the Hopi grassroots group H.O.P.I., says changes also need to be made within the tribal council.
"In order for there to be some real changes the makeup of the Council needs to change. And I believe the people realize that."
Secakuku himself is a tribal council representative from the village of Sipalovi on Second Mesa. But he hasn't been attending meetings lately. He and others argue the council lacks governing authority without a sitting chairman or vice chairman. That will now change on December 1st, when Shingoitewa and Honanie are sworn in for four year terms.