Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye was born and raised in Shiprock, New Mexico. He grew up in a small farmhouse along the San Juan River with his four brothers and four sisters. His father was a farmer and a Road Man with Azee Bee Nahaghahi. At that time, this practice was considered illegal. President Begaye’s father was often jailed, but he never stopped his practice. His mother was an herbalist, song writer, hand trembler, and crystal gazer.
In 2011, President Begaye began his public service as a Navajo Nation Council Delegate representing the Shiprock Chapter. He also served on the Law and Order Committee of the 22nd Navajo Nation Council. During the four year term, President Begaye strongly advocated for the re-criminalization of more than 20 criminal acts against women, children, and the disabled. He is spearheading an effort with Diné College and Navajo Technical University to establish a program for Navajo Nation police cadets. He fought against Senate Bill 2109 and will continue his fight for water for the people and future generations by maintaining a strong relationship with Congress and the Grassroots. He fought for a three percent raise for Navajo Nation employees and will continue to fight for Navajo Nation employees by striving to set up competitive salary increases.
As a Navajo Nation Council Delegate, President Begaye has seen and faced many hurdles and barriers that prevent the Nation from moving forward. During his term on council, President Begaye developed a plan of action to address the issues the Navajo Nation faces, one by one. During the tribal presidential rallies, debates, forums, and meetings, President Begaye presented the plan of action. He chose to address those areas that are a concern to Navajo citizens. As such, his rallies were in the form of questions and answers.
Begaye was elected President of the Navajo Nation in 2015.