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Hopi at crossroads of maintaining language for elected posts

Hopi Election Language
AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca
Hopi Chairman Tim Nuvangyaoma speaks to an audience gathered for a debate between candidates at the tribe's high school in Polacca, Arizona, on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. Nuvangyaoma faces David Talayumptewa, seated on stage, in the election Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021.

Members of a small northeastern Arizona tribe are voting Thursday for their next chairman.

One of the key differences between incumbent Tim Nuvangyaoma and David Talayumptewa is their stance on maintaining a Hopi language requirement for the job.

Nuvangyaoma says he'll push for a change in the tribe's constitution to eliminate it if he's reelected, to draw in younger Hopis to the government.

Talayumptewa says the rule should be maintained to promote the language that defines Hopis.

The winner in the election can't single-handedly change the 1930s constitution but can help shape proposals through the Tribal Council.