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Deschene Chosen as Navajo Times Person of the Year

January 05
08:57 2015
Deschene Mr & Mrs small

Shaun and Chris Deschene

The Navajo Times last week named Christopher Clark Deschene as their “Person of the Year” in 2014.

The 43-year old Lechee native made a lot of noise and was certainly recognized all around the Navajo Nation last year. He placed second in the Navajo Presidential primary in August, but by the end of the year he was off the ballot, but is continuing to appeal that decision.

The Times said, “By simply throwing his hat in the ring to become the Nation’s president, he created a movement that allowed Navajos and non-Navajos to look at the Dine’ language in ways people never have.”

Deschene’s candidacy became sidetracked by two failed presidential candidates who took him to task because they felt he didn’t speak the language fluently, as required by a Navajo president. The accusation was never proven and was denied by the candidate over and over.

The case was in and out of the courts and the November 4 election itself was postponed until December 23, before being postponed again. It still hasn’t been held.

Deschene told Lake Powell Communications in early December that the election was simply “stolen” from him. We asked him how he felt about it.

“If somebody stole something from you; that’s probably how I feel,” he said. “Know what I’m saying? If you’ve worked hard and you have something and they take it from you, that’s how I feel.”

But the “Person of the Year” isn’t finished as we begin the new year.

Last week Deschene, through his attorney, filed a motion to get his name back on the ballot. The idea being that the chief hearing officer with the Office of Hearings and Appeals, who ultimately took Deschene off the ballot, has since been fired for not having the attorney license required to hold the job.

Deschene, who is a graduate of Page High School and the U.S. Naval Academy, is a practicing attorney himself. Looking over the last few months of 2014 he felt that the Navajo people were subject to poor leadership.

“The people have spoken on their preferences on what leadership should be,” said Deschene. “The government hasn’t responded to that.”

The Navajo Nation Council passed legislation recently that would leave it up to the voters on whether their candidate of choice can speak Navajo fluently. But President Ben Shelly vetoed it.

Now sitting on Shelly’s desk is legislation that would have the whole presidential voting process start all over, with filing, a primary and then an election in August. As of last report, the president had not acted on that legislation.

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