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Hopi chairman 'embarrassed' about alcohol incident

Ivan Sidney, the chairman of the Hopi Tribe of Arizona, is admitting he drank alcohol off the reservation but says political opponents and the police have blown the incident out of proportion.

Police said Sidney was "disorderly and intoxicated" at a hotel in Winslow. His blood alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit, according to a police report.

Sidney said the Winslow police released information about the incident that should have remained private. "I heard Winslow was prejudiced and this shows that to some degree it's true," he told The Navajo-Hopi Observer.

He relayed similar concerns about border town racism to The Gallup Independent. "Here's a vagrant Indian walking into this hotel and bothering tourists. I think I was put in that category," he told the paper, saying he had accidentally stepped out of his hotel room without his key.

Sidney acknowledged that he drank some alcohol -- two beers -- but said he is sorry for the incident. "People are treating me like I drink every day. That's not the case. If that was the case, then I would be in alcohol rehab. I'm apologetic and not happy with myself. I'm embarrassed," he told the Observer.

Sidney said he will cooperate with the tribal council's investigation. Some tribal members want him removed from office. "I can stand the heat. Words alone can't hurt me," he told the Independent.

Get the Story:
Hopi Chair. Sidney speaks candidly on his own behalf (The Navajo Hopi-Observer 8/10)
Sidney says he's not going to back down (The Gallup Independent 8/10)

Relevant Links:
Hopi Tribe -

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