Former Navajo Nation Council Delegate David L. Tom remembered as leader, veterans advocate

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — A former Navajo Nation Council delegate who represented several chapters in the Northern Agency has died.

David L. Tom, of Beclabito, died on Nov. 7. His death was announced in a news release on Nov. 9 by the Office of the Speaker.

Tom, 60, was first elected to the council in 2002 when the legislative body was comprised of 88 members. At that time, he represented Beclabito and Gadii'ahi chapters.

The number of chapters he represented increased to seven after the council's membership was decreased to 24 seats.

His last term in office was during the 22th tribal council, representing the chapters of Beclabito, Cove, Gadii'ahi-Tokoi, Red Valley, Toadlena-Two Grey Hills, Tooh Haltsooí and Tsé Alnaozt'i'í.

David L. Tom sits at his desk on Jan. 27, 2014 before the start of the winter session of the Navajo Nation Council at the council chambers in Window Rock, Arizona.

Delegate Amber Kanazbah Crotty currently represents the seven chapters and described Tom as "a loving husband, father and grandfather."

"His leadership and years of public service is honored today. Councilman Tom will be remembered as a humbled man who loved his wife and family deeply," Crotty said.

Tom was among several delegates who faced civil charges in tribal court in the discretionary fund scandal that happened in the early 2010s.

He pleaded no contest to a charge of conspiracy to commit bribery in official and political matters in September 2014 and resigned from office a month later, according to the Daily Times archives.

Two years later, he was sentenced to unsupervised probation and ordered to pay restitution, according to the archives

David L. Tom searches for a flag displaying information about his son, Army Sgt. Troy Orion Tom, who died in Afghanistan in 2009. Tom visited the Flags of Remembrance: Healing Field display at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Farmington on May 28, 2021.

One of Tom's sons, Army Sgt. Troy Orion Tom, was killed in August 2009 by a roadside bomb in Kandahar Province in Afghanistan.

Speaker Seth Damon and Delegate Edmund Yazzie described the former delegate as an advocate for veterans.

"Delegate Tom was a champion for our veterans and always provided a helping hand for our elders. His leadership and advocacy will be deeply missed by those who knew him," Yazzie said.

Tom was Tó'aheedlííníí (Water Flow Together Clan), born for Bit'ahnii (Within His Cover Clan), according to the speaker's office.

"The council chambers will miss his voice that advocated loudly for our veterans and whose leadership uplifted the communities he represented in northern Navajo," Damon said. "May those he cared for be blessed during this time of mourning."

Memorial services will be at 10 a.m. on Nov. 12 at the Diné Christian Center in Shiprock. Burial will be in the community cemetery in Beclabito.

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

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