New Navajo President Faces Big Economic Challenges

By Laurel Morales
Published: Wednesday, January 16, 2019 - 8:40am
Updated: Wednesday, January 16, 2019 - 8:43am

Jonathan Nez was sworn in Tuesday as the new president of the country's largest Native American reservation.

Nez will deal with economic uncertainty as the tribe faces a likely shutdown of the Navajo Generating Station at the end of 2019. That means a 40 percent drop in annual revenue and a loss of hundreds of high-paying jobs. Nez said in his inaugural address that the tribe has to view the closure as an opportunity.

"It's an opportunity for us to re-evaluate ourselves and the way that we do business, especially the way that we do business in Window Rock," Nez said.

Nez challenged division directors to reduce wasteful spending and become more efficient. Nez and his vice president Myron Lizer ran on a campaign of unity, hope and resilience.

Nez served as vice president of the Navajo Nation for the last four years. He beat out former President Russell Begaye by a wide margin to become the tribe's youngest president.

More Stories From KJZZ