Nygren selects running mate from Na’neelzhiin
Candidate for Navajo Nation president Buu Nygren chose a Na’neelzhiin, New Mexico, native to be his running mate.
Nygren announced on Monday afternoon he chose Na’neelzhiin/Star Lake Chapter President Richelle Montoya, 45, because the people wanted a woman to be in leadership.
Nygren explained in Navajo why his campaign decided to go with Montoya. By listening to the people, he said his campaign has always been about the voices of the people.
“Jó díí dį́į́jí biniiyé hooʼaahígíí éí kodóó, háílá shííghxahóó yiidoozįįł, háílá shíighxahóó sizǫ́ǫ, háílá naanish ałdóʼ yókeedígíí, háílá ałdóʼ joobaʼ nízinígíí, háílá ałdóʼ bił naʼanishígíí, hwiindzinígíí, jó éí ahótʼénígíí naaltsoos daníilʼį́į́ʼ,” Nygren said in Navajo. “Háílá hazhóʼó Diné bíístsʼą́ą́ʼígíí dóó ʼáá ahonohyóí adahdoohʼniid, ‘Ááshxǫǫdí, Diné bił naʼanishígíí, tʼááshxǫǫdí hojoobaʼ biiyíntʼiʼígíí, ááshxǫǫdí Diné bił ááhózinígíí,’ dahdohnóo, éí biniinahjįʼ díí Diné Binantʼaʼí yíighxah, dah sizį́nígíí, ndiiltxį́nígíí, kweʼéshį́į́ kʼad hazhóóʼógo bízhiʼ didooltsʼį́į́ł dóó ʼáábí kodóó hachʼįʼ hadoodzih.”
Montoya is Hashtł’ishnii and born for Ta’neeszahnii. Her maternal grandfather is Kinłichíi’nii, and her paternal grandfather is Táchii’nii.
If she and Nygren were elected, she would focus on four priorities: chapters, educators, elders, and veterans.
“Too many times, we’ve heard veterans and elders say that they’re just being used for votes and that nobody talks to them anymore,” Montoya said. “I want to be the person that talks to them, that listens to them, and brings their concerns and their questions back to OPVP (Office of the President and Vice President) so that Dr. (Buu) Nygren can help, along with the executive directors, to get their needs met.”
Montoya was accompanied by her husband, Olsen Montoya from Naschitti, New Mexico, and two of her children at the Navajo Veterans Memorial Park where incumbent Jonathan Nez announced his selection earlier in the day.
“Díí kweʼégi Navajo Nation government wolyéhígíí éíya nizhónóo yiitʼih dooleeł. Daʼíínííltsʼąąʼgo kʼad éíya áden,” Montoya said in Navajo. “Tʼáá áko ahwíítsʼaʼ łeh áádóó díí hwxótʼáo hxootxah yiikahgo éí akótʼéeh łeh. Nobody listens to us. They just take our votes, and they go another four years daaníí łeh. Nihxí éí doo ahótʼéedah dooleeł.”
Montoya said Diné traditional teachings teach the Diné that when man and woman come together, it brings balance to tradition and culture.
“And that’s what needs to happen with our Navajo Nation government. We need to bring that back to the Navajo Nation,” she told supporters. “I’ve been listening to his platform; I have been listening to everything that he (wants) to bring to our Navajo Nation, and I’m behind him 110 percent.”
General elections will be held on Nov. 2.