Nez launches campaign on home turf

Navajo Times | Krista Allen
Community members of Shonto, Ariz., listen as Vice President Jonathan Nez makes his speech during a presidential campaign rally on June 24.

By Krista Allen
Special to the Times

SHONTO CANYON, Ariz.

Surrounded by photos of local leaders who have passed on, many of whom he is related to by clan, Vice President and presidential candidate Jonathan Michael Nez settled into the meeting room at Shonto Chapter House on June 24 just like old times.

“This is where I grew up,” Nez said in Navajo, one of two languages he speaks fluently. “I have said this since I was a child.”

Only a few stories have been told about the first two character-shaping decades of Nez’s life, during which he grew up here under the cottonwood trees and played in the nearby wash while he waited for his parents and grandparents at their monthly chapter meetings.

“During chapter meetings, my friends and I played in the water that runs through here,” he said. “While they met here we children played outside. We used to track mud into the chapter house and then we would get yelled at.”

“Ch’ínǫ́hjeeh! Hashtł’ish!” his elders would yell as Nez and his friends stood in their wet clothes and muddy shoes inside the chapter house.

“That’s how I grew up,” Nez said, “when I was young.”

The gathering of people here on the Sunday afternoon of June 24, during the regular chapter meeting, laughed as Nez shared his childhood stories.


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Categories: Politics
Tags: jonathan nez