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Hopi withdraws support of water rights settlement

KYKOTSMOVI, Ariz. -- The Hopi Tribal Council has withdrawn its support for a settlement of water rights in the Little Colorado River basin.

The lawmakers had approved a settlement in June that recognized the rights of the Hopi and Navajo tribes to groundwater and surface water within the basin and funded groundwater delivery projects. The tribes would have waived further claims in the basin in exchange.

But the Hopi Tribal Council voted last week to repeal a resolution that supported the settlement. The Navajo Nation had objected to the settlement, which needed the blessing of both tribes to move forward.

Hopi Chairman LeRoy Shingoitewa (sing-OY'-tee-wah) says the council will continue litigating its claims but won't close the door to settlement discussions that meet the needs of the Hopi people.

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