Navajo greeting: Yá'át'ééh! Béésh bichá'hii nishłí dóó Kiyaa'áanii báshíshchíín. Béésh haagédí dashícheii dóó ’Áshííhí dashinálí.
James was born in Bountiful, Utah and grew up in Kearns, Utah. He attended Kearns High School and then was a missionary for the LDS (Mormon) Church in Argentina. After returning to Utah, he attended Salt Lake Community College and then Westminster College in Salt Lake City where he graduated both institutions with honors.
In college, he began working for the Diné Policy Institute, a public policy institution based in the Navajo Nation. After graduating from Westminster College, he moved to Arizona so he could work there full-time.
James returned to Utah to attend the Master of Arts in Community Leadership program at Westminster College. His research focused on poverty and living wage policies. Immediately after, he started a doctorate program in the Sociology of Labor Markets and Social Policy at Utah State University where he is working on his dissertation research.
James is a diversity fellow professor in the Sociology Department at Salt Lake Community College and an adjunct professor in the Master of Arts of Community Leadership program at Westminster College where he teaches social change theory. He has been nominated and received many awards for teaching. James also is involved in community work, most notably as one of the co-founders of the Utah League of Native American Voters and the Utah Alliance for American Indian Education. He works on the board of directors for the Rape Recovery Center and the Mormon Environmental Stewardship Alliance.
Given his extensive background and education, James understands how society works at a structural and systemic levels that many politicians don't. He is immersed in data and studies that look at the variables and social forces affecting the poorest, richest, and everyone in between. He is able to separate ideology from evidence and then relate it to people in an accessible way. Because James knows we need leaders who represent real people’s needs over party interests, he is ready to work with people from both sides of the aisle to create the conditions for the best possible society.
James in the News
Here you'll find articles about James' work in the community and news on his political endeavors.
Apr. 9, 2018 | Salt Lake Tribune: Commentary: Sexual violence and harassment are men’s issues. And they’re leadership issues. Rep. John Curtis shows a lack of leadership on a serious issue.
Mar. 6, 2018 | Salt Lake Tribune: To ‘help forge our path of healing forward’ after Bears Ears, Utah tribal leaders are asking for a place on the governor’s cabinet.
Mar. 6, 2018 | KUER: Tribal Groups, House Dems Call For Creation Of Indian Affairs Cabinet Position
Oct. 9, 2017 | Salt Lake Tribune: American Indians gather to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Salt Lake City
Oct. 3, 2017 | City Weekly: SL Council Welcomes Indigenous Peoples Day
Sep. 18, 2017 | UPR: The Wellsville Sham Battle On Monday's Access Utah
Sep. 6, 2017 | Salt Lake Tribune: It’s 2017, but people in Utah still put on ‘redface’ for an inaccurate re-creation of an American Indian vs. Mormon battle
Jun. 8, 2017 | The Daily Universe: Navajo man seeks Senate diversity, challenges Hatch
May 5, 2017 | KUER: Navajo Candidate Latest In Young, Progressive Democrats Running For Congress
May 4, 2017 | Salt Lake Tribune: Navajo candidate announces bid as Democrat for Hatch's seat
Apr. 27, 2017 | Cache Valley Daily: Navajo candidate announces bid for U.S. Senate
Jan. 27, 2017 | City Weekly: "Make America Smart Again" Water protectors congregate to denounce Trump's DAPL reignition
Jan. 17, 2017 | Salt Lake Tribune: It's 'more than just clean water now': Utah activists protest Dakota Access Pipeline
Oct 31, 2016 | FOX 13: Police make several arrests in Dakota Access Pipeline protest in SLC
Oct. 12, 2015 | UPR: Cultural Appropriation on Monday's Access Utah