President of the Navajo Nation
Jonathan Nez

since January 15, 2019
ResidenceWindow Rock, AZ
Term lengthFour years. No more than two consecutive terms.
Inaugural holderPeterson Zah
FormationJanuary 15, 1991
WebsiteOffice of the President of the Navajo Nation

The President of the Navajo Nation is the head of government of the Navajo Nation. The office was created in 1991 following restructuring of the national government. The President and Vice President are elected every four years. The Navajo Nation President shall serve no more than two consecutive terms.[1]

As outlined in the Navajo Nation Code §1001-1006, until 2016, office holders had to be fluent in the Navajo language among other declared qualifications.[2] Presently, fluency is to be determined by the Navajo voters when they cast ballots.[3]

Presidential line of succession

The Navajo Nation Code defines who may become or act as president upon the absence of a sitting president or a president-elect. Should the president, under circumstances outlined in the Navajo Nation Code at §1005(d)-1006, be unable to serve out his full term, then the vice president shall act in his place for the remainder of the term, or until the president is able to resume his duties. §1006 of the Code instructs, that in the event a vacancy should "occur in the Office of President and Vice President, the Speaker shall serve as President of the Navajo Nation until a special election is held." The speaker does not relinquish his speaker duties whilst acting as interim president.


# Image Name Term started Term ended Vice President of the Navajo Nation
Peterson Zah January 15, 1991[4] January 10, 1995[5] Marshall Plummer
Albert Hale January 10, 1995[5] February 19, 1998[6] Thomas Atcitty
Thomas Atcitty February 19, 1998[6] July 23, 1998[7] Milton Bluehouse, Sr.
Milton Bluehouse, Sr. July 24, 1998[7] January 12, 1999[8] Frank Chee Willeto (from August 1998)
Kelsey Begaye January 12, 1999[8] January 14, 2003 Taylor McKenzie
Joe Shirley, Jr. January 14, 2003[9] January 11, 2011 Frank Dayish (2003-2007)
Ben Shelly (2007-2011)
Ben Shelly January 11, 2011 May 12, 2015 Rex Lee Jim
Russell Begaye May 12, 2015 January 8, 2019 Jonathan Nez
Jonathan Nez January 15, 2019 Present Myron Lizer

See also


  1. ^ "Navajo Nation Election Administration - Qualification for President and Vice-President" (PDF). Navajo Nation Election Administration.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ Fonseca, Felicia (September 11, 2014). "Language factors into race for Navajo president". Houston Chronicle.
  3. ^ Navajo Election Administration. "Qualifications for Navajo Nation President and Vice-President" (PDF). Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  4. ^ "Democracy Era Begins For Largest U.S. Tribe". The New York Times. 1991-01-17. Retrieved 2012-07-07.
  5. ^ a b "President-elect Albert Hale Plans Changes For Navajos". Associated Press. Kingman Daily Miner. 1995-01-09. Retrieved 2012-07-09.
  6. ^ a b Becenti, Deenise (1998-02-20). "With Law on Heels, Navajo Boss Quits; Hale Steps Down As Navajo Boss". Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 2012-07-09.
  7. ^ a b "Navajo name new present - again; Bluehouse appointed". Associated Press. Kingman Daily Miner. 1998-07-26. Retrieved 2012-07-09.
  8. ^ a b Rushlo, Michelle (1999-12-12). "Navajo inauguration is all-day event". Associated Press. Eugene Register-Guard (page 3A). Retrieved 2012-07-09.
  9. ^ "Navajo inauguration is all-day event". 2003-01-08. Archived from the original on 2013-01-26. Retrieved 2012-07-09.