Former Hopi chairman wants new chair removed

DURANGO, Colo.

Former Hopi Chairman Herman Honanie, who ran unsuccessfully for re-election in the recent chairman race, has petitioned the Hopi Tribal Court to remove his successor from office, saying he never should have been allowed to file as a candidate.

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Timothy Nuvangyaoma

In his petition, Honanie states the Hopi Election Board and Registrar Karen Shupla should have rejected Timothy Nuvangyaoma’s candidacy application last November because Nuvangyaoma was convicted of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol in November 2007.

The Hopi constitution prohibits someone from running for chairman if he has had a felony conviction within the past 10 years.

It’s possible, however, that the election board missed Nuvangyaoma’s conviction because his name is misspelled as “Nuvangyaome” in the court records.

Nuvangyaoma served a prison sentence for the offense and was released in 2014. He had several previous alcohol offenses on his record as well, but none that fell within the time frame to disqualify him from the race.

Nuvangyaoma, who was elected by a wide margin and reportedly made no secret of his struggles with alcohol during his campaign, did not return a phone call from the Navajo Times. He was sworn in Dec. 1.

After hearing arguments from Honanie’s and the election board’s attorneys, the Hopi Tribal Court took the matter under advisement last month. As of Thursday it had not issued a ruling.

Neither Nuvangyaoma, Shupla, Honanie nor either of the attorneys in the case returned messages by press time.

If Nuvangyaoma is removed, he could still run in the ensuing special election because it would have been more than 10 years since his conviction.


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Categories: Politics

About Author

Cindy Yurth

Cindy Yurth is the Tséyi' Bureau reporter, covering the Central Agency of the Navajo Nation. Her other beats include agriculture and Arizona state politics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University with a cognate in geology. She has been in the news business since 1980 and with the Navajo Times since 2005, and is the author of “Exploring the Navajo Nation Chapter by Chapter.” She can be reached at editor@navajotimes.com.