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Nygren never felt like he wasn’t Diné

Nygren never felt like he wasn’t Diné


Buu Nygren, vice president pick for Joe Shirley Jr., has never felt like he wasn’t Navajo.

Nygren grew up like a lot of Navajo kids with his single mother, a grandmother that raised him, and speaking Diné Bizaad. It was his first language. His home had no running water or electricity but it was within the four sacred mountains on Dine Bikéyah. He sold jewelry in restaurants as a child to help his family with gas money or to buy groceries.

Nygren was a student athlete at Red Mesa High. He didn’t even know he wasn’t full Navajo until he got older. All he knew was rez life. Nygren was born on Christmas in a hospital an hour away from his home in Yellow Rock Point, Utah. This is just north of Red Mesa, Arizona.

“The story goes it was Christmas Eve,” Nygren said. “My mom, my grandma and her older sister rushed — it was snowing — to the nearest place. It was Blanding (Utah).”

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About The Author

Pauly Denetclaw

Pauly Denetclaw is Meadow People born for Towering House People. She was raised in Manuelito and Naschitti, New Mexico. She was the co-recipient of the Native American Journalist Association's 2016 Richard LaCourse Award for Investigative Reporting. Denetclaw is currently finishing her degree in multimedia journalism from the University of New Mexico - Main. Denetclaw covers a range of topics including genetic research, education, health, social justice issues and small businesses. She loves coffee, writing and being with her family. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram. Her handle is @pdineclah


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