Moroni for President

Director: Saila Huusko & Jasper Rischen
2017 | USA | 76m
GENRE: Activism | Discrimination | Documentary | Gay | Human Rights | Immigration/Exile | Lesbian | Native American/Indigenous | Politics | Religion/Spirituality | Transgender
SECTION: Documentary
Expected Guests: Directors, Saila Huusko & Jasper Rischen, Subjects, Moroni Benally & Zachariah George

Moroni Benally, a young, gay, Mormon university professor, returns home to make a quixotic run for president of Navajo Nation. His scrappy but passionate campaign offers a rare glimpse into Navajo politics, while his idealistic vision for radical change challenges the status quo and, in many ways, reflects the volatile and unpredictable political climate affecting so much of the Western world. Moroni aims to put theory into practice to improve the daily lives of his people.

Despite being the largest semi-autonomous territory within the U.S., Navajo Nation struggles with intense poverty, a lack of basic resources, and limited sovereignty. Moroni’s success depends on the support of his large family, disenfranchised youth, and others longing for real change on urgent issues. While he is highly educated and fluent in public policy, he cannot convey his political message with subtlety in Diné, the preferred language of many voters. His youth, lack of political experience, and unseasoned approach to traditional Navajo culture make him a risky but intriguing dark horse candidate.

Seamlessly interwoven with Moroni’s story are those of two savvy politicos who also happen to be gay. An experienced campaign manager for an establishment politician, Alray Nelson holds his gay identity secondary to being Navajo. Zachariah George, the out young assistant to the sitting president, was raised traditionally to know gay people as sacred blessings. All navigate the constant tension between belonging and being different, between the traditional and the modern, while working to define a new Navajo dream.

— CAROL HARADA

SPONSORED BY
KALW Radio

CO-PRESENTED BY
ITVSBay Area American Indian Two-Spirits (BAAITS)

  • Language: In English and DinĂ© with English subtitles