By Tanner Stechnij | Cronkite News
SECOND MESA – Houses and corn fields dot the Hopi reservation, spread across three mesas in southeastern Arizona and circled by the much larger Navajo Nation. The seemingly barren Hopi land carries a rich, centuries old history and, now, an uncertain economic future.
New leadership – tribal members will choose a new chairman and vice chairman on Nov. 9 – will help determine a new reality for the Hopi nation as the Navajo Generating Station is slately for likely closure by December 2019. In recent years, royalties on land leases have made up to 85 per cent of the Hopi tribe’s general budget, according to tribal leaders and the Washington Times.
After the primaries in September cut down the field, two candidates for chair and two candidates for vice chairman are battling over the seats to lead the 22-member council.
Campaign issues include water quality, low employment, preserving the Hopi language and culture and finding jobs but candidates agree replacing income from the plant income is the most pressing matter facing the tribe.