ICT Article on Hopi Constitutional Reform and Village Sovereignty

From ICT (via Pechanga):

Voting on a proposed revision to the Hopi Constitution could violate village sovereignty and the results might create an ill-conceived fourth branch of government, according to a former Hopi Tribal Court chief judge.

“The Hopi Constitution was a historical agreement between the villages and Hopi central government,” Gary LaRance said.

In Hopi there are two separate governments – the central government, termed “the Hopi Tribe,” and the Hopi villages with their own inherent sovereignty. Each village is to determine for itself its own organization, he said.

About 75 years ago, at the time of the Indian Reorganization Act, Hopi and Tewa villages in northeastern Arizona decided that they wanted the Hopi central government to be their voice to the outside world but that they wanted to remain apart from it internally, he said.

LaRance is among those calling for a halt to a vote requested by the tribal council and scheduled by the BIA for Jan. 27, 2011. A delay is sought to provide more time to consider what amendments should be made to the IRA-era constitution that over the years has posed problems in the villages’ relationship to the central government.

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