At 36, Buu Nygren is the youngest Navajo Nation president

Published: Monday, January 9, 2023 - 12:33pm
Updated: Monday, January 9, 2023 - 5:16pm
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The Navajo Nation is set to inaugurate its new president Tuesday. Buu Nygren will take the oath, alongside his vice president, Richelle Montoya.

Nygren grew up on the reservation with a single mother, who he lost at a young age to alcoholism. They had no running water. He never knew his father.

He worked as everything from a dishwasher to a custodian when he was young, until he went to ASU to study construction management. He’s since earned a doctorate from University of Southern California in organizational change and leadership.

He was an executive for the Navajo Engineering and Construction Authority until he left to run his presidential campaign. But he has never before worked in public office. During the last election, he briefly ran as a running mate to then-presidential candidate Joe Shirley and lost in a landslide.

this time around, with Nygren at the top of the ticket, things turned out very differently. He and running mate Montoya — who will be the first woman to ever take the VP position — won 53% of the vote against incumbent Jonathan Nez.

At 36, he’ll be the youngest person to ever hold this job.

The Show spoke with him more about why he wanted it.

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