National | Politics

Navajo Nation presidential candidate a target over fluency issue

Chris Deschene, far left, with his supporters. Photo from Facebook

Chris Deschene, a candidate for president of the Navajo Nation, is being hit with complaints over his fluency in the Navajo language.

Deschene, 43, speaks the language in advertisements and uses it when he talks to elders. But he acknowledges he isn't as fluent as he'd like to be and that has some people upset.

"I've made a commitment to the language, and I've stated a number of times that my personal goal is to be completely fluent by the end of my first term," Deschene, a former Arizona state lawmaker, told the Associated Press.

The tribe's Office of Hearings and Appeals dismissed some challenges to Deschene's candidacy but appeals could be filed in the tribal court system, the AP said.

Deschene is running against Joe Shirley Jr., a former president who speaks Navajo fluently.

Get the Story:
Navajo presidential hopeful criticized on fluency in tribe's language; he says he's improving (AP 9/11)

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