Hopi Tribal Council Spars with Chairman

Jan 5, 2012

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.

 “We have a lot of important cases pending,” Shingoitewa says. “To cut off our legal team would be disastrous for the tribe.”  

The Tribal Council has been at odds with the Chairman over finances. An independent investigation ordered by Shingoitewa revealed the tribe made questionable investments between 2007 and 2009. Shingoitewa took office in 2010.

He says the tribe will move forward with plans to hire a chief administrative officer to handle day-to-day affairs.

Until then, those duties have been turned over to Vice Chairman Herman Honanie.