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Navajo Nation planning to investigate missing tribal members

Navajo Nation, guidelines for missing persons ceremony, courtesy photo, Oct. 24, 2022
courtesy Navajo Nation
President Jonathan Nez and First Lady Phefelia Nez were joined by Navajo Nation Police Chief Darryl Noon, Navajo Nation Executive Branch division directors, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah U.S. Attorney’s Offices and Federal Bureau of Investigation officials as they issued an Executive Order to adopt and implement Navajo Nation Guidelines for Missing Persons, Oct. 24, 2022.

Navajo Nation officials have issued an executive order to investigate and locate missing tribal members in a manner that is empathetic to victims and their families.

Tribal President Jonathan Nez met Monday with Navajo Nation police, the FBI and prosecutors in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah for the plan’s signing ceremony.

The crisis of missing and slain Native Americans has been getting more attention from elected officials and policymakers across the U.S.

In July, the FBI in Albuquerque released a list of more than 170 Native Americans it had verified as missing throughout New Mexico and the Navajo Nation which stretches into Arizona and Utah and covers nearly 27,500 square miles.

FBI officials said many records of missing Indigenous persons were incomplete or outdated because the record was not updated once additional details were made available or when the person was located.

“Multiple jurisdiction systems have historically failed the victims and their families,” Nez said in a statement. “Reporting, collecting and sharing missing persons data among various jurisdictions characterizes this problem’s true scope. The executive order will set a new tone of hope on this issue that impacts our nation.”

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