Mother Tongue (language/politics)

Language Becomes Key Issue In Navajo Presidential Race

By  Laurel Morales
September 22, 2014

One of the leading contenders in the Navajo presidential election this November might be kicked out of the race later this week.

Why? Because he didn’t tell the complete truth about how well he spoke the Navajo language.

That’s an issue because many tribal elders speak only Navajo. However, some voters are saying it shouldn’t be an issue at all.

Chris Deschene is working on his Navajo. When he introduces himself, he identifies his clans in the native language.

Last spring when he decided to run for president he took an oath saying he spoke the language fluently. He later admitted his language skills did need some work.

Complaints against Deschene’s alleged embellishment of the truth have gone all the way up to the Navajo Supreme Court. It will rule later this week on whether Deschene can even stay in the race.