Office of Dr. Buu Nygren
Dr. Buu Nygren will announce his candidacy for Navajo Nation president at the Navajo Nation Veterans Park here today at 1 p.m.
The announcement will be carried on radio stations KGAK-Gallup and KNDN-Farmington and on his Facebook page, Buu Van Nygren. His campaign website with more information, JoinBuu.com, will become active after his announcement.
Dr. Nygren, 35, grew up in Red Mesa, Arizona. He is married to Arizona State Rep. for District 7 Jasmine Blackwater-Nygren, J.D. They have a five-month-old daughter, Evelyn.
Dr. Nygren says among his top priorities will be to restart the Navajo economy that has been closed for most of two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic and get Navajos back to work. He says the Navajo Nation should be proud that approximately 80% of its people are vaccinated but that communities surrounding the Navajo Nation long ago reopened, Navajos travel to shop there but tourists have stopped coming to the Navajo Nation.
“We have to allow our people to return to work,” he said. “We have to help Navajos use their creativity, innovation and intuition to re-open their small businesses and build new ones. If we don’t do this, more Navajos will continue to leave the Navajo Nation. We’ll see the continued erosion of our Navajo language, culture and our way of life. “
To dedicate himself to his campaign, last week Dr. Nygren resigned from his position as chief commercial officer at the Navajo Engineering and Construction Authority in Shiprock, New Mexico, after three years.
Prior to that he was national operation trainer and project manager for CORE Construction, one of the top 100 construction companies in the U.S., where he worked for eight years. In that time, he worked in Florida, Indiana, Texas, Louisiana and Nevada.
Dr. Nygren describes himself as a builder, a connector and an educator. He began to learn carpentry from his uncles at age 13, first building a storage shed, outhouses, dog houses and eventually framing homes in Farmington, N.M.
With Navajo as his first language, he says he struggled to learn English in school. He also had difficulty with reading. Nonetheless, Dr. Nygren is a 2006 graduate of Red Mesa High School where he was valedictorian. He is the recipient of the Gate Millennium Scholarship and the Navajo Nation Chief Manuelito Scholarship.
In 2012, he earned a BS in Construction Management and Technology from the school of his choice, Arizona State University’s School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment.
In 2017, he earned an MBA from ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business.
Last May, he earned an Ed.D. in Organizational Change & Leadership from the University of Southern California.
“As Navajo president, I want to attract other young Navajos to work in my administration to solve the huge problems we face – beginning with getting our economy moving and opening the Navajo Nation for business again,” he said. “My ultimate goal is to attract Navajos home to start businesses here where they can employ themselves and other Navajos.”
Dr. Nygren said his dream to become a leader in the Navajo Nation began as a boy when every day he would see the portraits of Navajo chairmen and presidents hanging in his school. That ultimately generated his desire to continue his education and how to improve long-standing issues within the Navajo Nation.
“I knew my passion was eventually going to bring me to the Navajo Nation, being a leader,” Dr. Nygren said. “I also knew that to be an effective leader, I needed the experience I have accumulated. I got my MBA and doctorate in organizational change because I really wanted to understand organizations, how to revamp them and improve them.”