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Navajo Nation president to address sexual harassment allegations made by vice president

Buu Nygren, president of the Navajo Nation, will address allegations of sexual harassment made by his vice president last month at a press conference slated for Tuesday.

The allegations were made by Navajo Nation Vice President Richelle Montoya, the first woman to be elected to the office. Montoya posted a video in April to her personal Facebook account just a day after the Navajo state of the union. 

"As your vice president, in the month of August of 2023, I had to write a statement because I was sexually harassed," she said in the video.

Montoya said she detailed what happened to her in a meeting with an unspecified man and said she was unhurt.

"But I was made to feel I had no power to leave the room," she said.

In the nearly 90-minute-long video, the vice president said she’d recently separated from her husband at the time. 

Montoya said she has been threatened as a result and that others in the administration are being bullied as well. 

She said staff asked her what she wanted.

"My response was that I didn’t want to be alone with this person ever," and that the suggestion had been made that she and others in the office attend training even though she was a victim.

In a press release, President Buu Nygren said he will address the allegations and workplace safety. 

Nygren has said he will not tolerate Navajo Nation employees making the workplace unsafe for others. 

Fronteras Desk senior editor Michel Marizco is an award-winning investigative reporter based in Flagstaff.