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24th Navajo Nation Council honors the life of former Arizona Senator James Henderson Jr.

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The 24th Navajo Nation Council honored the life of former Arizona Senator James Henderson Jr. in a press release published on Jan. 2. Henderson passed away in Gallup on Dec. 30.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of an amazing father, grandfather, husband, and leader who advocated for his constituents on a state and federal level,” Hon. Speaker Otto Tso said. “During his career as an elected official, Honorable Senator James Henderson Jr. made it his priority to be the voice of our children, elders, and families across the Navajo Nation and the State of Arizona.”

Henderson was born on May 15, 1942, in Ganado, Ariz. He then graduated from Riverside Indian School located in Anadarko, Okla. Before serving as an elected official, Henderson was drafted to the U.S Army in 1966 where he served in the Vietnam War until 1968.

Due to being wounded during the war, Henderson was honorably discharged and was awarded the Purple Heart medal.

Upon returning, he attended Utah State University. Afterwards, he worked for the Arizona Department of Economic Security as an Employment Counselor. Later in his early career, Henderson worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs as a manager for seven years.  He also served as the Navajo Nation Director of Range Management and was Former Director of Tribal Legislative Affairs.

In 1985, Henderson was sworn into the Arizona State Senate representing District 3 and served until 1999. Additionally, he served as National Commander of the Navajo Nation Veterans Organization. He spent his years advocating on behalf of veterans, elders and youth.

He is survived by his wife Elaine Henderson, sister Marcella Hubbard, his daughters, Dr. Sharon Henderson, Valerie Henderson, Karlene Henderson, Valencia Henderson, Clarissa Henderson-Smith, Jamesina Henderson, and Adrienne Moya, sons; Toby Henderson, Alton Henderson, Jaime Henderson and Marcus Henderson, Jeffrey Moya, and Daniel Moya, 46 grandchildren and 24 great grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents, James and Phoebe Henderson, siblings Milton Henderson, Ruth Ann Henderson and Melinda Henderson.

For donations, please contact Dr. Sharon Henderson at (480) 492-6559.

Staff Reports