Kykotsmovi, AZ. August 13, 2021 The Hopi Tribe has issued
Executive Order #011-2021 Range mitigation and livestock reduction
in response to the State of Exceptional Drought on the Hopi Reservation
on July 20, 2021 and accordance with the State of Arizona listing
5 counties as disaster areas, including Navajo and Coconino counties,
which the Hopi reservation lies within.
The portion pertaining to the reduction of livestock here on the
Hopi reservation has several ranchers around the Hopi mesas confused,
angry, and not ready to accept the order. The EO #011-2021 also
states that several range units on the Hopi reservation must forego
a livestock reduction in response to the state of exceptional drought
on the Hopi reservation.
The order specifcally states that ranchers in several particular
districts must reduce their livestock by either 30%, 50%, or even
Makwesa Chimerica, a rancher, farmer, and family man, is one who
has been affected by the news to reduce his livestock. Chimerica
has cattle in part of the District 6 rangelands and would be affected
by the order which specifes that "Blue Point, East Dinnebito and
West Dinnebito Range units shall reduce by 100% of their ermitted
When Chimerica received the news that he would be required, in
accordance with the order, to reduce his cattle by 100% he felt
confounded by what he must do. Chimerica stated, "When we got the
letter from the [Hopi] tribe, I felt devastated because ranching
has been passed down from generation to generation. This ranching
is not about money but it holds sentimental value to me and my family."
Chimerica has two younger boys that he wanted to pass this family
tradition down to, and now they have to get rid of ranching as part
of their lives.
In the letter that Chimerica received, it states that all range
units on the Hopi tribe must forego "10 years" without livestock
and that this decision was made with the Hopi Law Enforcement Services
(HLES), Offce of Range Management and the Offce of Hopi Lands Administration
(OHLA), and Hopi Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Chimerica stated, "When I heard that we can't have any cattle for
10 years, I think that hurt me the most, be]cause I have a son who
is 8 years old and for him to not grow up with the knowledge of
ranching, I think the [Hopi] tribe is wrong about this not telling
us about this decision."
According to Chimerica, his understanding of meetings that occured
in 2018 with CKP Insurance LLC, was to designate to the ranchers
and farmers alike. Services for them as recipients being impacted
by the droughts occur during that year and subsequent years, as
well. The tribe, in sense, acts as the insurance agent and is to
provide and manage the USDA PRF Insurance Program for the Hopi Tribe.
Chimerica also understood the situation to mean that the DNR and
the Hopi Tribe was given authority to use funds received as payment
from the drought insurance for such projects including but not limited
to; range, grazing and livestock, tribal ranches infrastructure,
earthen dams, farming and irrigation, agricultural water development,
dams, reservoirs and catchments systems, watershed planning for
agriculture, agricultural complexes, drought contingency plan (mitigation
measures), area wide fencing, brand offce and other approved uses.
And although, this money was supposed to improve on the Range Units,
according to Makwesa, ranchers like himself have not seen or heard
from the Hopi tribe trying to improve their particular Range Units.
Prior to the executive order, no meetings were set up to communicate
with the ranchers in the several districts about this decision and
the executive order. Chimerica states, "The last ranch meeting I
went to was back in 2018 and during the meeting we were told that
several [Range] Units around the Hopi reservation were to get help
with improving our windmills, water dams, etc. they promised us
all this, but they never made their promise true."
The executive order also states that several range units and other
districts will have reduction by 30% or 50% meaning they can keep
several of their livestock while others will have to completely
get rid of 100% of their livestock.
Chimerica also stated, "I don't agree with the [Hopi] tribe's decision
when I heard that other districts can keep some of their livestock.
There should have been a meeting to explain why they are reducing
100% in only District 6."
Currently there are about 8 ranchers on District 6 that this executive
order is affecting.
With the order several District 6 ranchers must reduce their livestock
by 100% and ranchers from that area are at a standstill on what
to do with their livestock. Questions about the various percentages
for various range units keep coming to mind for Chimerica, along
with what the future may hold for ranchers and their livelihood,
as some ranchers depend on the practice to make ends meet.
The executive order states "Be it further resolved that no additional
permittees or transfers to another Range Unit will be allowed during
this time, so as to ensure that each Range Unit is at a sustainable
level for the duration of this order." This means that ranchers
like Makwesa must sell their cattle to completely reduce their livestock
from his selected Range Unit until December 31, 2031.
Chimerica stated, "The [Hopi] tribe should have had developed a
plan for us to relocate our livestock instead of getting rid of
our cattle, at least we could keep some of our cattle. Or try to
get rid of the wild horses frst before making this decision."
Overall, the order states that all ranchers on the districts which
need reduction, have 90 days to either reduce their livestock or
completely get rid of their livestock.
Chimerica lastly stated, "I hope the tribe makes a decision to
let us keep some of our livestock, and I hope I don't have to get
rid of my livelihood. Like I said this has been passed down from
generation to generation, and I was hoping I would have passed this
down to my son, but he will be 18 years old when we are allowed
to have cattle again."