Former Tohatchi area delegate passes on


Yazzie portrait

Peterson Becenti Yazzie

Former Navajo Nation Council Delegate Peterson Becenti Yazzie, who served three terms from 1999 to 2011, has died.

Courtesy of Navajo Nation Office of the Speaker
Peterson B. Yazzie, left, takes the oath of office to serve as an interim delegate on the Navajo Nation Council on Aug. 31, 2016,  in the council chamber in Window Rock, Ariz. Yazzie  replaced Mel R. Begay, who represented Bahastl’ah, Coyote Canyon, Mexican Springs, Naschitti and Tohatchi chapters.


Former Navajo Nation Council Delegate Peterson Becenti Yazzie, left, smiles as he receives a blanket from Navajo Nation Speaker of the Office LoRenzo Bates. Yazzie passed on Sunday, July 2, 2017. He was 67.

Peterson, who served Coyote Canyon, Mexican Springs, Naschitti, Tohatchi, and Bahastl’a’a’ chapters, was 67, according to a news release from the speaker’s office.

“Our prayers are with Peterson Yazzie’s family,” said Speaker LoRenzo Bates. “We will remember our leader for his humble and honorable service to his communities and the entire Navajo Nation.”

Yazzie, originally from Tohatchi, New Mexico, served on the Health, Education and Human Services Committee, a state task force and the Síhasin Fund Subcommittee during his 12-year tenure.

After leaving office in 2011, Yazzie returned to the Council as an interim delegate on Aug. 31, 2016, when the seat Mel Begay held was vacated. Begay was convicted of 11 counts of misuse of some $33,000 in June of 2016. Begay was originally set to serve three years, but has since bonded out of jail pending his appeal before the Navajo Nation Supreme Court.

Yazzie held the seat until Steven Begay was elected on April 13 of this year.

“Yesterday an honorable son, brother, cousin, father, uncle, grandfather, husband, and great leader left this world peacefully in eternal sleep,” Begay said. “I greeted honorable Yazzie as my paternal grandfather, as he always respectfully nodded his head in acknowledgement and followed with a kind handshake. His respected words that he delivered to his people during his service in the Navajo language will be greatly missed by many.”

Yazzie’s clans were Tł’ógí (Weavers – Zia Clan) and Todích’íi’nii (Bitterwater Clan). His maternal grandfather was Táchii’nii (Red Running Into the Water Clan), and his paternal grandfather was Naaneesht’ézhí Táchii’nii (Charcoal-Streaked division of the Red Running Into the Water Clan). He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Isabelle Yazzie, five children, 13 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Funeral services for Yazzie will be held on July 6, at 10 a.m., at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Gallup, followed by burial services at the Red Willows Farm plot in Tohatchi, New Mexico.

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