WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — The Navajo Nation is mourning the loss of Thomas Atcitty, who served as president and vice president of the Navajo Nation. Atcitty was also a former state lawmaker, who served seven terms in the New Mexico House of Representatives. He passed away on Sunday, Oct. 11 of natural causes. Atcitty was 86.

“To his wife Vicky, his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, we offer our prayers and condolences during this difficult time. Honorable Thomas Atcitty leaves behind a great legacy and many long-lasting memories for his family, friends, and all Navajo people. We ask our Creator to bless his family with strength and comfort at this time,” Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said. 

Navajo Nation Council Speaker Seth Damon commented on the passing of Atcitty.

“On behalf of the Navajo Nation Council, I offer my most sincere condolences to the family and relatives of Honorable Thomas Atcitty. When a great Navajo leader journeys on, we recognize their efforts and contributions to the development of the Great Navajo Nation. Thomas Atcitty served honorably and continues to serve as a figure of great compassion and duty to the Navajo People. We follow in his footsteps to build a stronger and more secure Navajo Nation so that our future generations can be confident in their pursuit of the betterment of all Navajo people. His dedication is remembered and honored by many people, and we recognize him today as Navajo leaders,” Speaker Damon said.

Atcitty served as the vice president of the Navajo Nation from 1995 to 1998, and as president from February 1998 to July 1998. Prior to serving the Navajo Nation, he served seven terms as a member of the New Mexico House of Representatives from 1980 to 1994. From 1972 to 1977, Atcitty served as the President of Navajo Community College, which later became Diné College. 

Atcitty resided in Shiprock and was also a member of the United States Marine Corps.Atcitty was born on Nov. 1, 1933 and was a lifelong resident of Shiprock, N.M. Prior to his public service, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps and graduated from Taylor University. 

Thomas Atcitty is survived by his wife of 54 years, Vicky Atcitty, their three children, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. His funeral service was held on Wednesday in Shiprock. 

Support Independent Indigenous Journalism

Native News Online is an independent, Indigenous-led newsroom with a crucial mission:  We want to change the narrative about Indian Country. We do this by producing intelligent, fact-based journalism that tells the full story from all corners of Indian Country.  We pride ourselves on covering the tribes you may have never heard of before and by respecting and listening to the communities we serve through our reporting. As newsrooms across the country continue to shrink, coverage of Indian Country is more important than ever, and we are committed to filling this ever-present hole in journalism.

Because we believe everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities, the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers. But we hope it inspires you to make a gift to Native News Online 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.

About The Author
Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online Staff