Constitution of the Hopi Tribe




PREAMBLE

The Constitution is adopted by the self-governing Hopi and Tewa Villages to provide a way of working together for peace and agreement between Villages and of preserving the good things of Hopi life.

ARTICLE I - TERRITORY AND JURISDICTION

Section 1. Territory. The Territory of the Tribe shall include all lands held by the Tribe or the People, or by the United States for the benefit of the Tribe or the People, and any additional lands acquired by the Tribe or by the United States for the benefit of the Tribe or the People. The Territory shall include all water, air, surface, subsurface, natural resources, and any interests therein, notwithstanding the issuance of any patent or right-of-way in fee or otherwise, by the governments of the United States or the Tribe, existing or in the future.

Section 2. Jurisdiction. The Jurisdiction of the Tribe shall extend to all persons, activities, and property within the Territory based upon inherent territorial or popular sovereignty. Every public highway or any other ingress into the Territory shall be accompanied by a public notice that entry is conditioned upon the acceptance of the Jurisdiction of the Tribe. Any person who enters the Territory shall, by entering, be deemed to have consented to the Jurisdiction of the Tribe. Every license or permit issued under the authority of the Tribe shall include a provision submitting all parties and their assigns to the Jurisdiction of the Tribe. Any employee of the Tribe shall, by accepting employment, be deemed to have submitted to the Jurisdiction of the Tribe. The Council shall have the power to assert the Sovereignty and Jurisdiction of the Tribe by law over all matters that affect the interests of the Tribe.

ARTICLE II - MEMBERSHIP

Section 1. Membership Requirements. The following persons shall be enrolled members of the Tribe:

(a). All persons whose names appear on the Census Roll of the Hopi Tribe as of December 31, 1937, as corrected by the Council;

(b). All persons of a one-fourth degree Hopi Indian blood or more, or one-fourth degree Tewa Indian blood or more, or one-fourth degree Hopi-Tewa Indian blood or more combined, born after December 31, 1937, who are not enrolled with any other Indian Tribe;

(c). For the purpose of determining membership, Hopi Indian blood, Tewa Indian blood, and Hopi-Tewa Indian blood shall mean biological lineal descent from any Hopi or Tewa Indian person whose name appears on the Corrected Membership Roll of the Hopi Tribe as defined in Section 1(a).

ARTICLE III - ORGANIZATION OF THE GOVERNMENT

Section 1. Branches of Government. The government of the Tribe shall be comprised of four branches: Villages, Legislative, Executive, and Judicial.

Section 2. Separation of Functions. No branch of government shall exercise the powers or functions delegated to another branch.

ARTICLE IV - LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

Section 1. Composition. The Legislative Branch shall be comprised of a Council. The Council shall consist of two Representatives from each Village. The Council shall select a Representative from among its Members to serve as Speaker of the Council.

Section 2. Terms. Each Representative shall serve a two year term or until a successor has been sworn into office. Representatives may serve any number of terms in succession or otherwise.

Section 3. Qualifications. Each Representative shall be a member of the Village which he or she represents and a Member of the Tribe, at least twenty-five years old, a resident of any lands within the Jurisdiction of the Tribe for at least two years immediately prior to the election or appointment, be able to speak the Hopi language, and shall meet other criteria, if any, set by the respective Village.

Section 4. Powers.

(a). Legislative power shall be vested in the Council. The Council shall have the power to make laws.

(b). The Council shall enact an annual budget by law which shall include an appropriation for the Judicial Branch and the Executive Branch. Every funding item in the annual budget must have been previously authorized by law. No moneys shall be drawn from the Treasury except by a warrant signed by the President and except upon authorization and appropriation by law.

(c). The Council shall adopt a public legislative process. Legislative proposals shall be formally introduced as written Bills, read into the legislative Record, published in a Legislative Calendar for at least thirty days prior to a vote by the Council, and made the subject of a legislative hearing during such period. A Bill shall remain on the Legislative Calendar for no more than one hundred eighty days. All votes of the Council shall be cast in public and shall be published in a tally with the name and vote of each Representative recorded. All Bills passed by the Council shall be presented to the President for signature or veto. Any action by the Council which does not follow the legislative process shall be deemed void. All Bills shall include a statement identifying the specific law, if any, to be superseded, repealed, or amended. All laws shall be compiled into a Code which shall be published annually.

(d). The Council shall have the power to override a veto by the President by an affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the entire Council.

(e). The Council shall have the power to confirm or deny nominees selected by the President as Directors within the Executive Branch. Representatives shall not be permitted to serve as Directors within the Executive Branch.

(f). The Council shall have the power to create Regulatory Commissions by law. Any Commission created by the Council shall be in the Executive Branch of government. No Member of the Council may also be a member of any Commission created by the Council. All Commissions shall be subject to the laws of the Tribe. Any Commission created by the Council shall have the authority to promulgate written regulations pursuant to law and due process. Members of all Commissions shall be selected by nomination by the President, subject to confirmation by the Council.

(g). The Council shall have the power to create Executive Boards by law. Any Board created by the Council shall be in the Executive Branch of government and shall be subject to the powers of the Executive Branch. No Member of the Council may also be a member of any Board created by the Council. All Boards shall be subject to the laws of the Tribe. Members of all Boards shall be selected by election as required by law, or by nomination by the President, subject to confirmation of the Council.

(h). The Council shall have the power to establish policies and procedures, and appoint officials, for the Council including the power to establish legislative committees comprised exclusively of Representatives.

ARTICLE V - EXECUTIVE BRANCH

Section 1. Composition. The Executive Branch shall be comprised of an elected President and Vice President and all Departments that the Council deems necessary by law for the effective operation of Government. The Department shall include at a minimum a Department of Treasury.

Section 2. Terms. The President and Vice President shall each serve a four year term or until a successor has been sworn into office. The President and Vice President shall seek office as a single political ticket for the same term of office. The Vice President shall be subordinate to the President. The President and Vice President may serve any number of terms in succession or otherwise.

Section 3. Qualifications. A President and Vice President shall each be a Member of the Tribe, at least twenty-five years old, be able to speak the Hopi language, and must be a resident of any lands within the Jurisdiction of the Tribe for at least two years immediately prior to the election.

Section 4. Powers.

(a). Executive power shall be vested in the President. The President shall have the power to execute, administer, and enforce the laws.

(b). The President shall have the power to veto a Bill passed by the Council with a written explanation of any objections, and if the President takes no action within twelve calendar days from the date the Bill is presented to the President, then the Bill shall become law.

(c). The President may authorize the transfer and expenditure of monies which are included in the budget approved by the Council. No moneys shall be drawn from the Treasury except by a warrant signed by the President.

(d). The President shall have the power to nominate an Executive Director for each Department subject to confirmation by the Council. Any nominee that is neither confirmed nor denied within sixty days of nomination shall be considered confirmed. The President shall have the power to remove an Executive Director of a Department.

(e). The President shall have the power to represent the Tribe in all matters with any other government, entity, or individual. The President shall not negotiate any treaty, compact, or contract which has not been generally authorized by law. Any treaty or compact negotiated by the President shall be subject to ratification of the Council.

ARTICLE VI - JUDICIAL BRANCH

Section 1. Composition. The Judicial Branch shall be comprised of a Trial Court and a Court of Appeals. The Trial Court shall be comprised of one Chief Judge and other Associate Judges as necessary. The Court of Appeals shall be comprised of one Chief Justice and two Associate Justices.

Section 2. Terms. Trial Court Judges shall serve two year terms of office or until their successors have been sworn into office. Court of Appeals Justices shall serve six year terms of office or until their successors have been sworn into office. Judges and Justices may serve any number of terms in succession or otherwise.

Section 3. Qualifications.

(a). The Chief Justice of the Court of Appeals shall possess a law degree. One Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals shall be a member of the Hopi Tribe, shall be able to speak the Hopi language, and shall possess a college degree, and one other Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals shall be a member of the Hopi Tribe and shall possess a college degree.

(b). The Chief Judge of the Trial Court shall possess a law degree. At least one Associate Judge of the Trial Court shall be a member of the Hopi Tribe and shall be able to speak the Hopi language.

Section 4. Appointment. There shall be a Judicial Nominating Committee comprised of one representative selected by each Village. All Judges and Justices shall be appointed upon nomination of the Judicial Nominating Committee, approval by the President, and confirmation by the Council.

Section 5. Jurisdiction.

(a). The Trial Court shall have original jurisdiction over all cases and controversies, both criminal and civil, in law or in equity, arising under the Constitution, laws, customs, and traditions of the Tribe, including cases in which the Tribe or its officials and employees shall be a party. Any such case or controversy arising within the jurisdiction of the Tribe shall be filed in the Trial Court before it is filed in any other court. This grant of jurisdiction shall not be construed to be a waiver of the Sovereign Immunity of the Tribe.

(b). The Court of Appeals shall have appellate jurisdiction over any case on appeal from the Trial Court. The Court of Appeals shall have exclusive jurisdiction over all election disputes and over disputes between Villages.

Section 6. Powers and Duties.

(a). The Trial Court shall have the power to make findings of fact and conclusions of law. The Trial Court shall have the power to issue all remedies in law and in equity.

(b). The Trial Court shall have the power to declare the laws of the Tribe void if such laws are not in agreement with this Constitution.

(c). The Court of Appeals shall have the power to interpret the Constitution and laws of the Tribe and to make conclusions of law. Any decision of the Court of Appeals shall be final.

(d). The Court of Appeals shall have the power to declare the laws of the Tribe void if such laws are not in agreement with this Constitution.

(e). All orders, opinions, and decisions of the Court of Appeals shall be written and published.

(f). The Courts shall render a final disposition in all cases properly filed.

(g). The Judicial Branch shall have the power to administer funds appropriated by law for the Judicial Branch.

Section 7. Right to Appeal. Any party to a civil action, or a defendant in a criminal action, who is dissatisfied with the judgment or verdict may appeal to the Court of Appeals. All appeals that are accepted for review by the Court of Appeals shall be heard by the full court.

ARTICLE VII - VILLAGES

Section 1. Villages. The recognized Villages of the Tribe are:

(a). Bacabi
(b). Hotevilla
(c). Kykotsmovi
(d). Lower Moencopi
(e). Mishongnovi
(f). Oraibi
(g). Sichomovi
(h). Shungopavy
(i). Sipaulavi
(j). Tewa
(k). Upper Moencopi
(l). Walpi

Section 2. Powers.

(a). The following powers are reserved exclusively to the Villages:

(1). To appoint guardians for children and incompetent members.

(2). To adjust family disputes and regulate family relations of members of the Villages or persons residing within a Village.

(3). To determine Village Membership subject to Article VII, Section 3(b).

(b). The following powers are reserved exclusively to the Villages or Clans:

(1). To regulate the inheritance of property within the control of a Village or Clan.

(2). To govern all Village Lands or Clan Lands.

(c). Except as provided in Article VII, Section 4, any disputes involving powers reserved to the Villages or Clans shall be decided by the Village or Clan unless the Village or Clan permits the matter to be decided by the Judicial Branch, and any such decision by the Judicial Branch shall be final.

Section 3. Village Organization.

(a). Each Village shall decide for itself how it shall be organized including the selection of its Council Representatives.

(b). A Village may call a referendum by written petition signed by at least twenty-five percent of the Members of the Village to decide how the Village shall be organized. Enrolled Members of the Tribe age eighteen and older shall be entitled to sign a petition in their respective Village based on their Village affiliation number maintained by the Tribe as reported to the Tribe by each Village. A Member of the Tribe shall have no more than one Village affiliation number. Upon request, the Election Board shall issue a referendum petition to a Petitioner along with the minimum number of signatures required for a valid petition. A Petitioner shall have sixty days to collect the requisite number of signatures. A Petitioner shall submit a completed referendum petition to the Election Board. The Election Board shall verify the signatures on a petition within thirty days of receipt of the petition. Upon receipt of a valid petition, the Election Board shall call and hold a referendum election within sixty days. A referendum election shall be decided by majority vote provided that at least fifty percent of the eligible voters vote in the election. A referendum approved by the voters of a Village shall serve as the official organization of the Village which shall be recognized by the Council until modified by a subsequent referendum election of the voters of the Village.

Section 4. Disputes Between Villages. All disputes between Villages shall be mediated by a neutral third party agreeable to the respective Villages or, if the Villages cannot agree on a mediator then the Judicial Nominating Committee shall select a neutral third party as the mediator. The final result of the mediation may be appealed to the Court of Appeals. Decisions by the Court of Appeals shall be final.

ARTICLE VIII - REMOVAL AND VACANCIES

Section 1. Removal of the President and Vice President. The Council shall have the sole power to remove the President or Vice President for gross misconduct by a two-thirds majority vote of the Council; provided, that Villages which do not send Representatives to the Council shall not be counted for purposes of achieving a two-thirds majority vote. The Council shall provide the President or Vice President with notice of the charges and an opportunity to address the Council in a public hearing. A President or Vice President who is removed from office must wait at least two full terms before becoming eligible to run for elective office.

Section 2. Removal of Council Representatives. Each Village shall have the power to remove its Representative according to the criteria and procedures established by the Village.

Section 3. Removal of Judges and Justices. The Judicial Nominating Committee shall have the sole power to remove a Judge or Justice for gross misconduct by a two-thirds vote of the entire Judicial Nominating Committee. The Judicial Nominating Committee shall provide the Judge or Justice with notice of the charges and an opportunity to address the Judicial Nominating Committee in a public hearing.

Section 4. Automatic Removal. A President, Vice President, Representative, Judge, Justice, Executive Director, or a Legislative Branch official or employee who is convicted in any court of a felony, or any crime involving embezzlement, dishonesty, or fraud shall be automatically removed from office or employment. A person who is appealing a conviction shall be suspended without pay pending the outcome of the final appeal. Any person who is removed under this Section shall not be eligible to run for office, serve as an elected official, or serve as an employee of the Tribe in the future.

Section 5. Vacancy in the Office of the President. A vacancy in the office of President shall be filled by the Vice President who shall serve as President for the unexpired term, and who shall appoint a new Vice President.

Section 6. Vacancy in the Office of the Vice President. The President shall appoint a qualified person to fill a vacancy in the office of the Vice President.

Section 7. Vacancy in the Office of the President and Vice President. A vacancy in both the office of the President and the Office of the Vice President shall be filled as follows:

(a). If less than one year remains in the terms, then the Speaker of the Council shall serve as President for the unexpired term;

(b). If more than one year remains in the terms, then a Special Election shall be held within ninety days of the vacancies to fill the vacant seats.

Section 8. Vacancies in the Council. A vacancy in a Representative seat shall be filled by the respective Village.

Section 9. Vacancies in the Judicial Branch. A vacancy in an Office of Judge or Justice shall be filled upon nomination of the Judicial Nominating Committee, approval by the President, and confirmation by the Council.

ARTICLE IX - BILL OF RIGHTS

Section 1. The government of the Tribe including the Villages shall not:

(a). make or enforce any law which infringes upon religious beliefs or prohibits the free exercise thereof;

(b). make or enforce any law prohibiting the freedom of speech, press, expression, conscience, association, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for political purposes;

(c). violate the right of the people to be secure in the privacy of their persons, houses, papers, vehicles, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, nor issue warrants but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation signed by a Judge, and particularly describing the place, person, house, papers, vehicle, or effects to be searched, the object and scope of such search, and the person or thing to be seized, and to have these rights explained at the time of arrest, and any search or seizure taken in violation of this provision shall be excluded;

(d). subject any person to be prosecuted twice for the same offense arising out of the same incident;

(e). compel any person under oath in any case to self incrimination;

(f). take any private property or possessory interest in private property, or deprive the owner of value by regulation of any private property, for public use without due process and just compensation;

(g). deny to any person in a criminal or civil proceeding the right to a speedy and public trial which shall be initiated no more than six months from the filing of criminal charges or a civil complaint, and in a criminal proceeding to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, to be confronted with the witnesses against him or her, to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his or her favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his or her defense; nor deprive any person of liberty or property without due process of law;

(h). require excessive bail, impose excessive fines, or inflict cruel or unusual methods of interrogation or punishment;

(i). deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection, application, or opportunity of the laws including but not limited to age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or nationality;

(j). pass any bill of attainder or a law which punishes conduct after the fact;

(k). deny to any person accused of an offense punishable by imprisonment of the right, upon request, to a trial by a jury of their peers of not less than six persons;

(l). deny to any person the right to own and use firearms subject to regulation by the Tribe;

(m). deny to any person the access to his or her own personal information maintained by the Tribe, or public information which shall include but not be limited to financial records maintained by the Tribe.

Section 2. Retained Powers. Powers not granted to the government shall be reserved to the People.

ARTICLE X - REFERENDUM

Section 1. Referendum Requirements. The enrolled Members of the Tribe retain the right to reverse any action of the Council by binding Referendum. Enrolled Members of the Tribe shall be required to obtain the signatures of at least twenty five percent of the eligible voters of the Tribe on a written Referendum petition. The Election Board shall formally issue to the Petitioners the minimum number of signatures required for a valid Referendum petition. Upon request, the Election Board shall furnish a list of the eligible voters and their addresses to the Members collecting Referendum petition signatures. The Members shall have ninety days to collect the requisite number of signatures on the Referendum petition. A Referendum petition shall address one subject or item which may be either a Bill which has been formally introduced and published in the Legislative Calendar or an enacted law. Members of the Tribe shall submit a Referendum petition to the Election Board which shall have thirty calendar days to rule on the validity of the signatures on the petition, and if valid, the Election Board shall submit the matter to a popular Referendum in a Special Election which shall be held within forty-five days. The decision by a majority vote of the voters in the Special Election shall determine the success or failure of the Referendum, and if successful, the decision shall be binding upon the Tribe until amended or revoked by a subsequent Referendum vote in a Special Election.

Section 2. Council Referendum. The Council shall have the power to call a Referendum under this Article by a two-thirds majority vote.

ARTICLE XI - ELECTIONS

Section 1. Primary Election. A Primary Election for President and Vice President shall be held on the first Wednesday in October.

Section 2. General Election. A General Election for President and Vice President shall be held on the third Wednesday in November.

Section 3. Election Board. There shall be an Election Board to conduct all elections in accordance with the election laws. The Election Board shall provide notice of all elections.

(a). The Election Board shall be comprised of twelve persons with one member selected by each Village.

(b). Each Election Board Member shall serve four years or until a successor is sworn into office. Election Board Members may serve any number of terms in succession or otherwise.

Section 4. Nominations. Each candidate for President and Vice President shall file a petition with the Election Board. Each petition shall contain at least ten signatures of Members of the Tribe who are qualified to vote.

Section 5. Voters. Any Member of the Tribe age eighteen or older shall be eligible to vote in an election other than a Village election. Eligibility to vote in a Village election shall be determined by the Village.

Section 6. Ballots. All elections shall be conducted using secret written ballots.

Section 7. Absentee Ballots. Voting by Absentee Ballot shall be permitted in all elections.

Section 8. Polling Places. A polling place shall be located in each Village. The Council may by law establish additional polling places.

Section 9. Certification of Election Results. The Election Board shall tally the votes at each election and certify the results.

Section 10. Challenges to Election Results. Any challenges to the election results shall be filed with the Court of Appeals within three days of certification of the results by the Election Board. The Court of Appeals shall hear and decide all election challenges within thirty days. The decision of the Court of Appeals shall be final.

Section 11. Oath of Office. The Election Board shall administer the Oath of Office to newly elected or appointed Representatives on the first Wednesday in January. The Election Board shall administer the Oath of Office to a newly elected President and Vice President on the first Wednesday in January. All Representatives, the President, and the Vice President shall swear an oath and allegiance to the Hopi Tribe and the Hopi Constitution.

ARTICLE XII - LANDS AND PROPERTY

Section 1. Village Lands. The Villages of Kykotsmovi, Bacabi, Oraibi, Hotevilla, Upper Moencopi, and Lower Moencopi shall have the power to exclusively govern its Village Lands and establish procedures for the assignment, use, and alienation of Village Lands. At the request of the Village, the Council shall have the power by law to issue patents to property interests in Village Lands only to Members of the Tribe.

Section 2. Clan Lands. Traditional Clan Land holdings of the Villages of Tewa, Walpi, Mishongnovi, Sipaulavi, Shungopavy, and Sichomovi shall be exclusively governed by their respective clans. At the request of the Clan, the Council shall have the power by law to issue patents to property interests in Clan Lands only to Members of the Tribe.

Section 3. Other Lands. Lands other than Village Lands or Clan Lands shall be governed by the Council by law. The Council shall have the power by law to issue patents to property interests in Other Lands only to Members of the Tribe.

Section 4. Transfer of Other Lands. Notwithstanding any other provision of the Constitution, interests in real property within the Territory shall not be conveyed or otherwise transferred, by sale, gift, devise, descent, forfeiture, or otherwise, to any person who is not a Member, and any such conveyance or transfer shall be deemed void and any action to execute such a conveyance or transfer, if intentional, shall constitute a crime as determined by law for persons who are subject to the jurisdiction of the Tribe, and any property subjected to such conveyance or transfer determined to be criminal shall escheat to the Tribe.

Section 5. Land Disputes. Notwithstanding Article VI, Section 5, and except as provided in Article VII, Section 4, the Judicial Branch shall not have jurisdiction over disputes regarding Village Lands or Clan Land unless the Village(s) or Clan(s) involved in the dispute submit such dispute to the Judicial Branch, and the decision of the Judicial Branch shall be final.

ARTICLE XIII - SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY

Section 1. Sovereign Immunity. The Tribe shall possess inherent Sovereign Immunity. The Legislative Branch and the Judicial Branch shall be immune from suit in any jurisdiction and such immunity shall not be waived. The Legislative Branch shall have the power to waive by law the Sovereign Immunity of executive officials, employees, or departments in accordance with the Constitution.

Section 2. Immunity from Suit by Foreign Parties. The government of the Tribe, its subdivisions, and officials and employees acting within the scope of their duties shall be immune from suit brought by any foreign entity, government, or person, except to the extent that the Council expressly waives immunity by law. Nothing in this Constitution shall be deemed to waive Sovereign Immunity from foreign suit.

Section 3. Immunity from Suit by Domestic Parties. The government of the Tribe shall be immune from suit brought by any public or private entity or individual within the Territory or subject to the Jurisdiction of the Tribe except to the extent that the Council expressly waives such Sovereign Immunity by law. Executive Branch officials and employees acting within the scope of their duties shall be immune from suit, except to the extent that the Council expressly waives by law such Sovereign Immunity, or to the extent necessary to enforce in equity exclusively in the Judicial Branch the rights and responsibilities arising under this Constitution. Persons exercising any power reserved to the Villages who are acting within the scope of such power shall be immune from suit except to the extent necessary to enforce in equity exclusively in the Judicial Branch the rights and responsibilities arising under this Constitution.