Moroni For President

Moroni For President

2017 | Activism / Discrimination / Documentary / Gay / Human Rights / Immigration/Exile / Native American/Indigenous / New Release / Politics / Religion/Spirituality | 82 minutes | USA
Directors: Saila Huusko & Jasper Rischen

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Moroni Benally is running for the presidency of the Navajo Nation, the largest Native American nation in the US. Young, gay, Mormon, and highly educated, he sets out to confront the political establishment in a homecoming that challenges what he imagined home, and himself, to be.


The Navajo Nation is the largest Native American reservation in the United States. Every four years, the Navajo tribe elects its president, whom many consider the most powerful Native American in the country. In the midst of a frenzied election to determine the next President of the tribe, Moroni for President takes the audience to every corner of this vast area in the iconic American Southwest. The film centers on Moroni Benally, an underdog candidate with radical ideas, whose homespun campaign originated out of frustration about the lack of progress in the reservation where he grew up. The witty academic embarks on a grueling, lonely campaign, discovering soon enough that theory does not necessarily prepare you for the daily dirt of politics.

As the election unfolds, the film delves into Moroni's layered identity as a Mormon and gay Navajo man and, along the way, expands to include other LGBTQ+ characters working on some of the other campaigns. This includes Zachariah George, who is an eccentric assistant to the incumbent president and has a love for beauty pageants, traditional singing, and the Navajo language; and Alray Nelson, an LGBTQ+ rights advocate and campaign manager of one of the frontrunners. Simultaneously a behind-the-scenes look into a political campaign within a Native American community and an exploration of identities within said community, Moroni for President is an eye-opening and humorous portrait of a political race that runs surprisingly parallel to the current political landscape of the US at large.


This Youth in Motion collection is available for free to K-12 schools throughout 2020, register now. This collection is not currently available for sale. The collection contains the documentary, Moroni for President, and a Discussion Guide and Lesson Plans about Intersecting Identities, Colonization, & Making Space. Suggested grade levels: middle and high school.


"Enlightening..." - NewNowNext

"A compelling look at the LGBTQ community within the Navajo nation, and how politics are navigated from a community being controlled by the outside..." - The Advocate

"Recommended." - Video Librarian

"'Moroni for President' shows that even a seemingly hopeless cause is worth fighting for and in unexpected ways can succeed..." - The Boston Globe

"'Moroni for President' is about diversity and a shift in thinking as much as it is about someone throwing their hat into the ring to be considered president of the Navajo Nation..." - The Reel Critic