Yazzie retains Shiprock Chapter president seat

Duane "Chili" Yazzie beat challenger Dan Smith to continue serving as president of the Shiprock Chapter

Noel Lyn Smith
Duane "Chili" Yazzie, who beat Dan Smith to win re-election as president of the Shiprock Chapter, mingles with voters on Tuesday at the Shiprock Chapter house.

SHIPROCK — Duane "Chili" Yazzie will continue his service as Shiprock Chapter president after a challenge this campaign season from Dan Smith.

Yazzie received 1,198 votes while Smith received 990 votes out of 2,218 cast ballots, according to unofficial results from the Navajo Election Administration.

Smith said in a statement to The Daily Times that more than 900 people know change is needed in Shiprock, but he congratulated Yazzie on the win.

"I still will work with our chapter to continue to help the people," Smith said.

Yazzie could not be reached for comment this evening.

At center, Dan Smith, a candidate for Shiprock Chapter president, talks with voters on Tuesday at the Shiprock Chapter house.

Earlier in the day, Election Day activities filled the Shiprock Chapter house parking lot today, where a number of candidates for tribal and state offices visited with community members.

Among those partaking in the activities was Jason Smith, 55, of Shiprock.

"I feel confident they will continue to do a good job for us," Smith said about his candidate selection, which included voting for Yazzie.

He added: "He's trying to do some changes, but other offices are holding him down, but hopefully he will continue to proceed forward."

Sandra Begay, 36, of Shiprock, cast ballots in both the tribal and national elections. Her reason for voting was "to basically see who's going to stand up for the reservation. Who's willing to take the lead."

Begay said she supported Smith for chapter president because of his platform.

"I feel like he's willing to make changes," Begay said.

Roy Lee Hosteen traveled from Upper Fruitland to cast his ballot in the tribal election in Shiprock, where he is a registered voter.

"I get to hire who I want to work for me and the community. … It's hiring an individual to work for us," he said about what Election Day means to him.

In Upper Fruitland Chapter, resident Garrett Ignacio displayed a "I voted" sticker on his shirt.

“It gives me a chance as an American to exercise my right to vote, regardless of party,” he said.

From left, election officials Jamie Joe, Ronda Johnson and Felencia Belin look over the voter registration list on Tuesday at the Upper Fruitland Chapter house.

There are 20 chapters in the Navajo Nation's Northern Agency, and each chapter precinct in the agency opened at 6 a.m. and closed at 7 p.m.

The president positions for Nenahnezad, San Juan, Beclabito, Newcomb and Toadlena-Two Grey Hills chapters were uncontested.

Norman Cudei Begaye received 415 votes out of 510 cast ballots in Nenahnezad Chapter.

Rick Nez received 230 votes out of 272 cast ballots in San Juan Chapter.

Raymond H. Charley received 285 votes out of 331 cast ballots in Beclabito Chapter.

David Randolph Sr. received 257 votes out of 274 cast ballots in Newcomb Chapter.

Stanley Hardy received 398 votes out of 438 cast ballots for the president seat in Toadlena-Two Grey Hills Chapter.

At center, polling official Ronda Johnson helps voters check in on Tuesday before voting at the Upper Fruitland Chapter house.

The president race for Tooh Haltsooí Chapter showed Brian T. Yazzie receiving 238 votes and Tommy L. Sandman receiving 125 votes. There were 367 cast ballots.

Incumbent Perry J. Begay Sr. received 198 votes to retain his position as Tiis Tsoh Sikaad Chapter. Challenger Eliolieta M. Holtsoi received 89 votes. There were 299 cast ballots for the chapter.

In Upper Fruitland Chapter, Lynlaria R. Williams-Dickson received 430 votes and Robert Allen received 357 votes out of 805 cast ballots.

James Pioche received 270 votes and Charlie T. Jones Jr. received 337 votes in the Tsé Daa K’aan Chapter president race. There were 619 cast ballots.

In Gadii'ahi-Tokoi Chapter president race, Carol Etcitty-Roger received 119 votes and Harry Descheene Jr. received 187 votes out of 311 cast ballots.

Voters fill out their ballots on Tuesday at the Upper Fruitland Chapter house.

There were three agency at-large positions to determine seats for service on the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors, Navajo Preparatory School board and Shiprock Associated Schools Inc. board.

Incumbent Sammy Ahkeah received 5,516 votes and challenger Wilbert Y. Mark received 5,025 votes for the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors.

For the Navajo Preparatory School board, Matthew D. Tso received 5,331 votes and Jennifer D. Laughter received 5,006 votes.

In the race for the Shiprock Associated Schools Inc. board, Pete Ken Atcitty received 5,273 votes and Faye BlueEyes received 5,121 votes.

There will be a special election on Dec. 13 to determine the position for Tsé Alnaozt'i'í Chapter President. The race was postponed after Frank Smith challenged a decision by the Navajo Election Administration in August to remove him as a candidate and from the Aug. 30 primary election ballot.

On Oct. 7, a hearing officer with the tribe’s Office of Hearings and Appeals reversed a decision in September that removed Smith as a candidate.

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