Russell Begaye takes oath as new president of Navajo Nation

Ustream: Navajo Nation Presidential Inaugural Ceremony, Part 2

It took longer than expected but the Navajo Nation finally has a new leadership team.

After winning election last month, President Russell Begaye was sworn into office on Tuesday in a ceremony that focused on the "Awakening of a New Dawn." The tribe's new leader emphasized language, culture and self-reliance n his inaugural speech.

"The road we will travel on is the road of sovereignty," Begaye told the crowd at the BeeHoldzil Fighting Scouts Events Center in Fort Defiance, Arizona.

Indianz.Com on SoundCloud: Navajo Nation Presidential Inauguration

Vice President Jonathan Nez also took the oath of office. He vowed to combat the "monsters" of domestic violence, depression, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and post- traumatic stress that he said were caused by the "deliberate" mistreatment of the Navajo people.

"Our Navajo Nation must facilitate an environment that effectively and efficiently serves the basic human rights of our Diné, including opportunity to decent and affordable housing, safe and quality drinking water, and a means to provide for healthy foods, quality education, and safety," Nez said.

From left to right: Vice President Jonathan Nez, Arizona Sen. Carlyle Begaye (D), Gila River Indian Community President Stephen Lewis, and President Russell Begaye. Photo by Carlyle Begaye / Twitter

Begaye and Nez were joined at the ceremony by former president Ben Shelly, who served just one term in office, plus an additional few months due to the delay in the election. The new administration promised to continue work on several development projects, including the controversial Grand Canyon Escalade tourism proposal near the Grand Canyon National Park.

Video of the ceremony can be found on Ustream in Part 1 and Part 2. Large portions were conducted in the Navajo language, with translations provided by the speakers.

Navajo and Christian spiritual leaders provided blessings to the new leaders.

Get the Story:
A number of firsts at Navajo presidential inauguration (The Navajo Times 5/12)
Navajo VP address culture, climate change in inaugural address (The Navajo Times 5/12)
Russell Begaye Sworn In as Navajo Nation President (Fronteras 5/12)
Navajo president pledges to walk road to true sovereignty (AP 5/12)
New Navajo Nation president, vice president take oath of office (The Farmington Daily Times 5/12)

An Opinion:
Linda Valdez: Grand Canyon: Two developments pose risks (The Arizona Central 5/12)

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