Race for President Hopi will be revenge for 2017 election
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) – The race for President Hopi will be a revenge for the last general election.
Tribal Council member David Norton Talayumptewa was the top voter in Thursday’s primary with 298 votes, followed by current President Tim Nuvangyaoma with 291 votes, unofficial results show.
The two will face each other in the general election on November 11. Nuvangyaoma defeated Talayumptewa in the 2017 general election by more than 325 votes.
Turnout for Thursday’s primary was low with 945 votes cast. The ballot did not feature the vice presidential candidates as only two people are running, meaning that current vice president Clark Tenakhongva and Craig Andrews automatically went into the general election.
Andrew Qumyintewa finished third in the presidential primary elections, with 286 votes. Former Vice President Alfred Lomahquahu Jr. was behind with 70 votes. Candidates have a few days to submit challenges before results can be certified, said Karen Shupla, tribal clerk.
The two main elected officials of the tribe do not show up on a ticket, but Nuvangyaoma has campaigned with Andrews. Nuvangyaoma did not immediately respond to a message left by The Associated Press on Friday.
The leaders derive much of their authority from the Hopi Tribal Council, which functions as a municipal government. The president chairs the meetings but only votes to break the tie.
Talayumptewa, a former head of the US Bureau of Education, represents Kykotsmovi on the board where he championed a measure to unify the various schools on the reserve under a single district and education board.
“There is going to be some consistency in the way we teach them, and that is going to improve learning and academic achievement,” he told the AP.
Talayumptewa and Nuvangyaoma spoke in a recent forum and on social media where much of their campaigning was about the need for economic development and finding ways to encourage Hopi youth to get involved in tribal government.
One of the obstacles to running for office is a requirement for candidates to speak the Hopi language and demonstrate this ability, Nuvangyaoma said at a youth-led forum earlier this week in Phoenix. Prior to 2017, applicants had to be fluent.
“Our young people, all of you here today, talk about technology, finance, development, healthcare, education, construction, all these languages that you speak and understand,” he said. “We have to bring Hopi into the era we are in now.”
Nuvangyaoma proposed to reform the constitution which was first approved in the 1930s.
Talayumptewa said he wanted to maintain the language requirement, establish a language immersion school on the Hopi reservation in northeast Arizona, and actively contact young Hopi professionals to help lead the government.
“This is what sets us apart as a Hopi nation, this is how we practice our traditions, our culture and our religion,” he said. “I think there are ways to teach the Hopi language to maintain it.”