On August 13th Joe Washington, attorney for the five Dine’ (Navajo) Women who were arrested for trespass on their own homeland, entered a “motion to dismiss” the charges. Yesterday’s arraignment was set in order for the women to enter a plea of either guilty or not guilty. However, their attorney is currently pushing for the charges to be dropped as he finds serious problems with the original charges. In a phone interview on August 14th Joe Washington said “There are deficiencies in the arrests and charges by Hopi Tribal Court. And it is those which I plan to address.”
Despite the passage of an “accommodation agreement” and refusal by the U.S. Supreme Court to hear Manybeads vs. U.S., there ARE families who continue to believe in their sovereignty and courageously refuse to acknowledge United States and Hopi Tribal jurisdiction over their lives. These recent arrests and this subsequent “Hopi Tribal judicial process” is setting a precedence. How it is Tribal Council believes it can take jurisdiction over the lives and religion of Dine’ families in resistance to relocation is being challenged.
Though Joe Washington, attorney, is moving for dismissal of charges, the residing Judge at Hopi Tribal Court entered a plea of Not Guilty and set a pre-trial date for September 18th at 9 a.m. At that time there will be a “pre-trial”conference which COULD result in dropped charges. Again the request is to fill the courtroom with witnesses and media. For as some of us know, what happens here is a clear statement as to what can happen anywhere, with any Nation.
Pre-trial “conference” is: September 18, 9:00 a.m. Hopi Tribal Council Court Highway 264, Milepost 398.6 Keams Canyon, Arizona.