My name is Timothy Nuvangyaoma and I have the privilege of serving as Chairman of the Hopi Tribe. I am writing to dispel rumors about the Hopi Tribe and Forest Service lands near Flagstaff.
To be clear, the Tribe did not ask for the lands on the map that appeared in the Arizona Daily Sun's story last weekend. The lands the Hopi Tribe has been promised and expects to receive are State Trust lands included in the Hart, Drye, Clear Creek, and Aja ranches, east of the Coconino National Forest.
In 1995 the United States and the State of Arizona made a promise to my people that was codified in the 1996 Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute Settlement Act. The promise was simple: if the Hopi Tribe allowed Navajo trespassers to remain on Hopi lands, the Hopi Tribe could obtain replacement lands off-reservation.
The Hopi Tribe has lived up to its promise by granting long-term leases to Navajo trespassers. Unfortunately, the federal government and the State of Arizona have never lived up to their promise. It has been 20-plus years and we still do not have the land we were promised.
Fortunately, Senators McCain and Flake and Congressman O'Halleran understand that the federal government should stand by its word. We have been in discussions with the federal and state governments to figure out how best to resolve this situation. All we seek and expect is to obtain the State Trust land inholdings associated with our ranches in accordance with the 1996 Act.
Chairman, Hopi Tribe