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Navajo Court To Decide Friday If Candidate Is Eligible

Chris Deschene
Courtesy of the Deschene 2014 campaign
Chris Deschene says he's a product of cultural destruction. That's why his Navajo speaking skills are limited. But he continues to practice.

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Navajo Court To Decide Friday If Candidate Is Eligible

Navajo Court To Decide Friday If Candidate Is Eligible

Courtesy of the Deschene 2014 campaign

Chris Deschene says he's a product of cultural destruction. That's why his Navajo speaking skills are limited. But he continues to practice.

Navajo tribal officials have decided to print ballots even though one presidential candidate may still be kicked outof the race, said Kimmeth Yazzie of the Navajo Election Administration.

Last April when Chris Deschene decided to run for Navajo Nation president, he took an oath saying he spoke Navajo fluently. During the campaign Deschene admitted he was still working on his language skills. After Deschene took second place in the primary Dale Tsosie, a losing opponent, filed a grievance. The tribe says the complaint was too late.

Tsosie appealed to the Navajo Supreme Court saying the 10-day cutoff should not apply to candidates who lie.

The tribe’s high court kicked the appeal back to the tribe’s Office of Hearings and Appeals saying it shouldn’t have dismissed the complaint.

That lower court will hold a hearing Friday to decide whether Deschene should be allowed to run.

If Deschene is disqualified Russell Begaye, the candidate who came in third place in the primary, will be eligible to run against Joe Shirley Jr.

Laurel Morales was a Fronteras Desk reporter in Flagstaff from 2011 to 2020.