President of the Navajo Nation
Our country is at a turning point in which the strength of our democracy and society are being tested on many fronts, based on racial, political, and cultural differences that lead to division and discrimination. During times of adversity, there is much to be learned from the First People of this country, who have persevered and overcome discrimination, inequalities, and persecution and continue to prosper and evolve.
Jonathan Nez currently serves as the President of the Navajo Nation. He was born and raised on the Navajo Nation. His family is from Shonto, Arizona and he is Áshįįhí (Salt People), born for Ta’neeszahnii (Tangle clan). His maternal grandfather’s clan is Tódích’íi’nii (Bitter Water Clan) and his paternal grandfather’s clan is the Táchii’nii (Red-Running-Into-The-Water Clan). He and his wife Phefelia Nez have two children, Christopher and Alexander.
President Nez began his political career after being elected as Shonto Chapter Vice President. He was later elected to serve three terms as a Navajo Nation Council Delegate, representing the communities of Shonto, Oljato, Tsah BiiKin and Navajo Mountain. President Nez was also elected as a Navajo County Board of Supervisor for District 1 and served two terms (he had to resign after he was elected Navajo Nation Vice President)in the state of Arizona.
President Nez believes strongly in education. He is in pursuit of a doctoral degree in political science and has completed research on local empowerment and mobilizing local communities of the Navajo Nation to reinstate their inherent local way of governance. His research focuses on the reduction of dependence on the central tribal government, upholding and enhancing the local inherent sovereignty of the chapter areas. Most importantly, President believes that education and leadership should be guided by the Navajo wellness model grounded in the Diné principles of Nitsáhákees (thinking), Nahat’á (planning), Iiná (life), and Sihasin (stability of restoration of balance and harmony through reflection).
He is an alumni of Northland Pioneer College and Northern Arizona University(NAU).He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and a Masters of Public Administration from NAU.
President Nez is an avid runner and advocates for healthy living. He enjoys training for and participating in long-distance events and has participated in multiple marathons, including the Black Canyon 100K Ultra. President Nez participated in the 2018 Running for a Stronger and Healthier Navajo Nation: Running for Resilience, a 403-mile run from Fort Sumner, New Mexico to Window Rock, Arizona in commemoration of the 150th Year of the Naaltsoos Sani(Navajo Nation Treaty). A fourteen-day run he dedicated to the resiliency and strength of our ancestors to revitalize the Diné Way of Life and teachings.
After serving as Vice President, he became the youngest President of the Navajo Nation on January 15, 2019. As President, he continues to promote the teaching of “T’áá hwó’ ajít’éego,” which basically means self-reliance or self-determination for us as individuals. He strongly believes that this powerful teaching is what drives us as individuals to work hard every day and pursue what we want in life. Working together, he believe we can create the positive change for us as individuals and for our communities.