- By Levi Rickert
TEMPE, Ariz. — A young 23-year-old Diné woman, who was close to finishing a dental hygienist program, was tragically stabbed to death on April 18 in Tempe, Ariz.
Tammy Begay and her boyfriend, Mason Nez, 23, were socializing with another couple in the clubhouse of their apartment complex when Nez took out a pocket knife and began stabbing Begay for an unknown reason, according to eyewitnesses.
Nez has been charged with first-degree murder.
“Basically, she was just the sweetest person you could ever meet,” her sister Stephanie Begay said. “She knew she could go after the things she wanted in life and she was on the right path to doing that.”
The Missing & Murdered Diné Relatives task force released a statement saying they were saddened to learn of the tragic passing of Tammy Begay. The statement said she was “a wonderful spirit and relative to all who knew her.”
“We stand in solidarity with the family of Tammy Begay and call on all relatives to bring awareness to gender-based violence happening to our Native women. The violence against our Diné and Native women is unacceptable and needs to stop! If you would like to do your part in supporting efforts to combat violence against Native women, consider supporting tribal coalitions and community groups working to protect our communities. We must work together to end violence against our women and most vulnerable populations!” the statement continued.
Stephanie Begay told the AZ Central newspaper her sister “Tammy and Nez had been dating on and off for a year and described their relationship as tumultuous.”
Court documents show the Tempe police had previous contacts with the couple in March and July 2020 where there were allegations Nez assaulted Begay.
Court records further show that during an interview with detectives, Nez said he could not remember how much alcohol he drank the night of the incident and he claimed he had no memory of what happened in the clubhouse.
If you are a victim of assault, here is a list of resources available to you:
More Stories Like ThisCleveland MLB Team Name to Change from 'Indians' to 'Guardians'
Winona LaDuke Released From Jail With Conditions to Avoid Enbridge Line 3 Work Areas
Interior Department to Consult With Community Leaders on Major Changes to NAGPRA
Alaska Native Groups Sue Gov. Dunleavy Over Draining a Subsidized Power Fund
Remains of Missing Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Tribal Member Found in Lake Superior
Native Perspective. Native Voices. Native News.
We launched Native News Online because the mainstream media often overlooks news that is important is Native people. We believe that everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities. That's why the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers. We hope you'll consider making a donation to support our efforts so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount — big or small — gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.