Hopi Tribe Sues Over Navajo Tribe?s Refusal Of Access To Allotment Sites

July 10, 2013

The Navajo and Hopi tribes are back in federal court, this time over access to religious sites.

The tribes have fought for more than a century over land in northeastern Arizona, but a settlement in 2006 was supposed to end the battle. It allows members of each tribe onto the other's lands for religious purposes.

For the Hopi that means gathering eaglets at what they consider 'sacred sites,' but the suit claims the Navajo are now refusing access to sites on what are called allotments, or land held by individual tribal members. The Hopi want a judge to rule that's a violation of the pact, but Navajo attorney general Harrison Tsosie, doesn't buy it.

“It has always been our position that certain lands, called allotment lands which are allotted to individuals rather than to the tribe, are off limits,” Tsosie said.

The Hopi claim the 2006 deal shows the sites in question are supposed to be accessible.  It will now be up to a federal judge to decide what the agreement says and what's on the map.