Navajo Nation Council urges Begaye to address daughter's employment

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times
Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye.

FARMINGTON — The Navajo Nation Council is urging tribal President Russell Begaye to address matters surrounding his daughter, who serves as legal counsel for his office.

Karis Begaye was involved in a collision while driving a tribal owned vehicle in the northbound lane on Interstate 17 near Flagstaff, Arizona on April 22.

She was arrested by the Arizona Department of Public Safety and booked into the Coconino County Detention Facility on charges of driving under the influence, extreme DUI, endangerment and criminal damage, according to court records.

A representative for the Flagstaff Justice Court said today a complaint has not been filed by the Coconino County Attorney's Office.

Legislation was proposed this month to have the Navajo Nation Council urge President Begaye "personally address" his daughter's employment.

Karis Begaye

Karis Begaye has been on administrative leave since May 7 and entered rehabilitative services, a press release from the president's office stated.

The bill was assigned to the Naa'bik'íyáti' Committee, which is a standing committee of the tribal council and its membership consists of the 24 delegates.

Thirteen delegates voted in favor of the bill and none opposed the measure on May 24. It was certified the same day by Delegate Seth Damon, who served as chairman pro-tem for the regular meeting.

The resolution states President Begaye and Vice President Jonathan Nez have not communicated with tribal members about Karis Begaye's situation and they are "not acting in the best interest of the people in carrying out their duties and responsibilities in a moral and legal matter."

Navajo Nation Vice President Jonathan Nez.

It requests the two leaders take appropriate action to resolved the situation within 10 days.

The resolution also recommends the president and vice president refer to the tribe's personnel policy manual and the motor vehicle use policy in addressing the actions for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, severe damage to tribal property, and other violations of tribal law and policy.

Another recommendation is to use the "table of penalties" listed in the personnel policy manual as a guide for disciplinary action.

The personnel policy manual states the penalty is removal if a tribal employee operates a tribal vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

If a tribal employee fails to comply with motor vehicle regulations, they could be suspended up to 30 working days or removed if it is a third penalty, the manual states.

Karis Begaye's driving privileges were suspended temporarily by the tribe's Motor Vehicle Review Board on May 15.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at