First Native Woman Appointed to Head Division of Economic Development

Crystal J. Deschinny

Crystal J. Deschinny

Published March 20, 2016

WINDOW ROCK, ARIZONA — Back in May, shortly after he took office, Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye said he wasn’t going to make any hasty decisions when it came to the appointment of his director for economic development.

So almost 10 months later came the announcement that his selection to handle probably one of the most challenging jobs in the tribal government was going to be a Native woman who is a member of the Forest County Potawatomi Tribe – Crystal J. Deschinny.

Deschinny is married to a Navajo, Daniel Deschinny Jr., who is an electrical engineer who works for the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority.

Her appointment continues the practice of Begaye and Navajo Vice President Jonathan Nez to think outside of the box when it comes to appointments.

She is currently chief executive officer for the Tolowa Dee-Nation, a tribe located near the California-Oregon border.

She said in a telephone interview last week that when Begaye approached her, he said he wanted “to bring on someone with a fresh perspective.”

“I thought I could bring that,” she said.

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the Navajo Times. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

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