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News Release

Village of Tewa

The “Interim Board” (Deidra Honyumptewa, Jayson Paymella, Roni Abeita, Valerie Nuvayestewa, Emma Cortez, Hilton Polacca, and Claude Pahona), Timothy L. Nuvangyaoma, Hopi Tribe, Hopi Tribal Council, CARES Act Committee, Jamie Navenma, Virgil J. Pinto, Dorma Sahneyah, Hopi Law Enforcement, and Jim Davis are named in the lawsuit.

The Village of Tewa Board of Directors, the governing body for the Village of Tewa, has filed a lawsuit in Hopi Tribal Court against the individuals responsible for the insurrection that took place at the Village of Tewa Administration Building on September 28, 2021.

The suit describes how individuals who refer to themselves as the “Interim Board” or “Community of Tewa Village” stormed the Village of Tewa’s Administration Building, held individuals hostage, purported to overthrow the elected Board of Directors, fire all of the Village’s employees, and then declare themselves the government of the Village of Tewa. The suit also demonstrates that these individuals were assisted in their plot and subsequent takeover by various individuals and entities of the Hopi Tribe. Rather than aiding the legitimate Board, and those who were held hostage, the Hopi Tribe has assisted and recognized the insurrectionists. The Board of Directors has suffered greatly from this coup d’état, which is an assault on democracy itself. 

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Worse yet, the Complaint sets forth that individuals within the Hopi Government conspired to overthrow the Village of Tewa’s Board of Directors and install a puppet regime (the Interim Board). For example, the Complaint describes that the September 28th insurrection was instigated by, among others, the Hopi Chairman’s campaign manger, Deidra Honyumptewa (who is also the Chairwoman of the Interim Board), the Executive Director of the Hopi Tribe, Dorma Sahneyah, and a member of the CARES Act Committee, Jamie Navemna. The Complaint also details how the Hopi Chairman then held a campaign event with the illegal Interim Board shortly after the coup. Eventually, the conspiracy was complete when the Tribal Council placed the Village of Tewa under the Chairman in the Finance Department via Hopi Tribal Council Resolution H-008-2022. 

As described in the Complaint, the Hopi Tribe’s assistance, and recognition of the Interim Board, is not only egregious (given its supports of the insurrectionists), but it also violates the Village’s sovereignty. The Hopi Villages have the absolute right under Article III, Section 3, of the Hopi Constitution to be free from interference in their internal affairs from the Hopi Government. The Hopi Constitution preserves the right of all Villages to choose their own leadership—not to have puppet regimes installed via a coup d’état. The Hopi Tribe has violated the Hopi Constitution by formally recognizing the insurrectionists as the governing body of the Village of Tewa.

The Village of Tewa Board of Directors are represented by Colin Bradley Law, PLLC of Phoenix, Arizona.

The full complaint, which was filed in Hopi Tribal Court, can be released upon request to the Village of Tewa Board of Directors.

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