President of the Navajo Nation

The office of President of the Navajo Nation was created in 1991 following restructuring of the national government. The president and vice president are elected every four years, and can only serve two terms in office.

As outlined in the Navajo Nation Code §1001-1006, until 2016 office holders had to be fluent in the Navajo language among other declared qualifications.[1] Presently, fluency is to be determined by the Navajo voters when they cast ballots.[2]

Presidential line of successionEdit

The Navajo Nation Code defines who may become or act as President upon the absence of a sitting president or a president-elect. Should the president, under circumstances outlined in the Navajo Nation Code at §1005(d)-1006, be unable to serve out his full term, then the vice president shall act in his place for the remainder of the term, or until the president is able to resume his duties. §1006 of the Code instructs, that in the event a vacancy should "occur in the Office of President and Vice President, the Speaker shall serve as President of the Navajo Nation until a special election is held." The speaker does not relinquish his speaker duties whilst acting as interim president.

Office holdersEdit

# Image Name Term Started Term Ended Vice President of the Navajo Nation
1   Peterson Zah January 15, 1991[3] January 10, 1995[4] Marshall Plummer
2 Albert Hale January 10, 1995[4] February 19, 1998[5] Thomas Atcitty
3 Thomas Atcitty February 19, 1998[5] July 23, 1998[6] Milton Bluehouse, Sr.
4 Milton Bluehouse, Sr. July 24, 1998[6] January 12, 1999[7] Frank Chee Willeto (from August 1998)
5 Kelsey Begaye January 12, 1999[7] January 14, 2003 Taylor McKenzie
6   Joe Shirley, Jr. January 14, 2003[8] January 11, 2011 Frank Dayish, Jr. (2003-2007)
Ben Shelly (2007-2011)
7   Ben Shelly January 11, 2011 May 12, 2015 Rex Lee Jim
8   Russell Begaye May 12, 2015 January 8, 2019 Jonathan Nez
9   Jonathan Nez January 15, 2019 Present Myron Lizer

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Fonseca, Felicia (September 11, 2014). "Language factors into race for Navajo president". Houston Chronicle.
  2. ^ Navajo Election Administration. "Qualifications for Navajo Nation President and Vice-President" (PDF). Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  3. ^ "Democracy Era Begins For Largest U.S. Tribe". New York Times. 1991-01-17. Retrieved 2012-07-07.
  4. ^ a b "President-elect Albert Hale Plans Changes For Navajos". Associated Press. Kingman Daily Miner. 1995-01-09. Retrieved 2012-07-09.
  5. ^ a b Becenti, Deenise (1998-02-20). "With Law on Heels, Navajo Boss Quits; Hale Steps Down As Navajo Boss". Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 2012-07-09.
  6. ^ a b "Navajo name new present - again; Bluehouse appointed". Associated Press. Kingman Daily Miner. 1998-07-26. Retrieved 2012-07-09.
  7. ^ a b Rushlo, Michelle (1999-12-12). "Navajo inauguration is all-day event". Associated Press. Eugene Register-Guard (page 3A). Retrieved 2012-07-09.
  8. ^ "Navajo inauguration is all-day event". 2003-01-08. Retrieved 2012-07-09.[permanent dead link]

External linksEdit