News for Page Lake Powell Arizona

Lake Powell Life News

 Breaking News

Deschene Looks Back; Looks Forward

January 09
15:48 2015

Christopher Clark Deschene is a man who says the Navajo Nation needs change; not in the distant future, but right now. The man who came in second in the primary last August in the race for Navajo President, but saw his name removed from the ballot, wants good things for the Navajo nation. He just doesn’t see it happening under the current leadership.

One of the things that led the Lechee native to run in the first place was a speech he heard by current president Ben Shelly, where he stated that the Nation would hand over the leadership to the young…in thirty or forty years.

“Do you know how old I will be in forty years?” asked Deschene this week during an interview with Lake Powell Communications. “I will be eighty-three. Will somebody disqualify me for being too old to be president?”

Shelly’s comments about handing over the leadership were perhaps a foreshadowing of the events that unfolded in 2014, according to Deschene.

“If they’re saying they won’t turn over the leadership of the Nation for another thirty or forty years, you’re essentially saying we’re not going to do anything to help our people,” said the Page High School graduate. “We’re already a decade or two behind. In thirty or forty years we’re going to be a half-century behind. That is something I cannot accept.”

What he can accept, he says, is positive change for the Navajo Nation.

“I disagree with (Shelly’s) statement. If we’re going to turn it over to our young we’d better fix the laws, better find the good candidates, we’d better support them and elect them and support their efforts to make our nation a better place for all of us.”

Looking back on the past few months, Deschene says he has a lot to smile about, but also a lot of be unhappy about.

“We’ve done a lot of tremendous work; work that I think the Nation needed to see; needed to face. And we addressed some core issues as we pressed forward,” said Deschene. “The frustration is that we have a government that is very complex, but it is not operated in an efficient manner.”

He pointed to the turmoil over the 2014 election as an example of the turmoil. The 2014 Presidential election has not been held yet; being held up by the courts, accusations, briefs, appeals, etc. It’s possible that the 2014 election will be erased completely, and they will start over with filings, a new primary and an election in August of this year.

“The allegations leveled against me were untrue and unsubstantiated, and it’s frustrating that we have to clean-up all the (election) mess,” he went on to say. “Our Nation currently stands without a leader in the executive branch for our people.”

Deschene is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a practicing attorney. He has a wife, Shaun, and they have two children who attend school in Page.

As far as the language issue goes, Deschene has always said the accusations from the two failed presidential candidates were totally false and never proven. But in hindsight, he believes it led to good discussion.

“If it wasn’t for our campaign we would not be addressing the language. Our youth would not be working to protect it. There was a language revolution and it went beyond just the Navajo Nation. We’re talking the entire Indian country; people are talking about it, and it’s about time.”

In the end Deschene is disappointed with the failure of leadership being shown at this time at every level.

“Those that are trying to make a difference; the few in the council, I commend those people for doing the work,” he said. “But the leadership is still absent when it comes to making good decisions for our people.”

If the 2014 election is still held, Deschene filed a motion recently with the Office of Hearings and Appeals to get back on the ballot.

Current Articles