Wayne Taylor, Chairman,
Hopi Tribal Council
Jul. 15, 2004
Tribe of Arizona regards the newborn as being very sacred. When a
child is born in the Hopi way, the mother and baby are protected
and cared for by the members of the village. There is a naming
ceremony involving the parental aunts. The aunts each wash the
baby's hair, and as they do so each says a prayer for the child.
the prayer asks that the baby prospers and lives a long life,
course, Hopi traditions surrounding the birth of our children are
fading away, victims of modern life. Many of us don't even teach
Hopi anymore. Our language is vanishing.
people are being forced to leave by poverty and the lack of jobs
on the reservation. Our children are growing up without being
exposed to the culture and traditions taught by their elders.
percent of our adults do not have jobs. Our villages lack adequate
water, sewers and utilities. We have no roads or infrastructure to
support commercial and industrial development. Many young people
no longer regard the Hopi homeland as a place where they can live
a quality life.
not have to be this way.
a plan to maintain the cultural and economic viability of the Hopi
homeland for generations to come. The Hopi Comprehensive Economic
Development Strategy of 2001 is a guideline for the Hopi to plan
for the future while respecting the past.
thousands of years the Hopi people have looked to traditional
beliefs and practices to guide our lives. When recently presented
with the opportunity to generate millions of dollars by operating
a casino or leasing slot machines, the Hopi people said, "No.
To profit from gambling is not the Hopi way."
over the land is very much a part of our religious tradition. So
much so that we can no longer allow operators of the Black Mesa
Mine to use the Navajo Aquifer - the Hopis only source of drinking
water - to slurry coal 273 miles to the Mohave Generating Station
in Laughlin, Nev.
demanded that Peabody Energy stop using the aquifer by the end of
this demand despite the fact that royalties from the mine generate
$7.7 million a year, more than a third of the tribal government's
California Public Utilities Commission is deliberating whether to
allow the coal-burning Mohave plant to continue operations,
supplying low-cost energy to growing markets in Southern
California, Arizona and Nevada.
with the installation of $1.1 billion worth of upgrades to reduce
emissions from the plant, the CPUC needs to be certain there is an
adequate supply of coal to fuel the plant and a reliable source of
water to deliver the coal.
and Navajo Indian nations, Peabody Coal and experts in the field
of energy-plant operations and hydrology believe that a pipeline
from the Coconino Aquifer in Flagstaff would provide a sufficient
supply of water to slurry coal from Black Mesa to the Mohave
plant. After passing on to ratepayers the cost of the pipeline
construction and emission-control upgrades, the price of energy to
customers of the Mohave plant would still remain much lower than
what is paid for energy produced by a natural gas-fired plant.
down the plant - forcing closure of the mine - would have a
devastating impact on the Hopi Tribe. Our situation is dire.
working aggressively to implement our economic development
strategy, to bring needed roads and infrastructure to the
reservation to support housing and new businesses, and to do it in
such a way that it does not erode our culture and traditions.
need help. We need a commitment from the public, Congress and
policymakers in California, Arizona and Nevada to keep Mohave
operating. We also need a commitment from the federal government
to help the Hopi find a long-term solution to economic problems on
Tribe believes the federal government, recognizing its trust
responsibility to American Indians, should finance an expansion of
the pipeline so additional supplies of water could be diverted to
the Hopi and Navajo nations. We need assistance in building roads,
sewer systems and utilities necessary to sustain development on
As do all
Americans, the Hopi want a bright and sustainable future. We want
our homeland to remain a place where Hopi children, their children
and generations to come can find opportunity.
our Hopi babies to live a good, long life, a Hopi way of life,
rich with our culture and traditions. We want to keep alive the
writer is chairman and chief executive officer of the "Hopi
Tribe" [aka Hopi Tribal Council] of Arizona.
The Hopi Tribal Council (HTC) and the Navajo Tribal Council (NTC) are
government entities created by the U.S. government, Bureau of
Indian Affairs (BIA), and Peabody Coal attorneys for the sole purpose of
ensuring the lease of Hopi and Navajo land to oil and coal
corporations. This is a matter of historical fact. In the past,
the Hopi people boycotted and shut down the HTC
because it did not serve the interests of the Hopi people. The HTC
was reopened by Peabody and the BIA in spite of the protests of
the Hopi people. Recent statements by Hopi people indicate that
the HTC still does not serve the interests of the Hopi people,
that it only serves the interests of Peabody and the U.S.
questions are: What has the HTC done with the royalties it has
received in the past 30-plus years? Why has it not gone to address
the concerns expressed by Chairman Taylor? —SENAA