Arizona

Jul 11, 2013 6:20 AM by Associated Press

Hopis sue over access to religious sites on Navajo

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) - When the Navajo and Hopi tribes ended a decades-long land dispute in northern Arizona, they agreed not to interfere with each other's religious practices.

Under the 2006 agreement, religious practitioners from one tribe could venture onto the other tribe's reservation.

But the Hopi Tribe says the Navajo Nation has breached that agreement by citing a practitioner for trespassing on part of the Navajo reservation that belongs to an individual tribal member rather than the Navajo Nation.

A lawyer for the Hopi Tribe argues in a federal lawsuit filed this week that the Navajo Nation clearly relinquished its right to enforce trespassing and wildlife laws when it comes to religious rights.

The Navajo Nation says the Hopi Tribe must get permission from individual land owners on the reservation if practitioners plan to cross their land.

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