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Former Navajo Interim Chairman Led Tribe In Tumultuous Time

Navajo Nation Council’s Office of the Speaker

A former Navajo Nation interim chairman who oversaw the tribe during one of its most tumultuous times has died.

Services are scheduled Wednesday in Sanostee, New Mexico, for Leonard Haskie. His daughter, Lenore Haskie, says he died Sunday after a battle with cancer. He was 71.

Tribal lawmakers elected Haskie to serve as interim chairman in 1989 after then-Chairman Peter MacDonald was put on leave over a corruption scandal. MacDonald's supporters tried to overthrow the government months later, leading to a deadly riot.

The tribe restructured its government, creating a presidency to avoid a concentration of power.

Haskie ran for tribal president in 1990 but lost.

He went on to work for a New Mexico school district for two decades where he advocated for funding for new buildings.

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