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Navajo Council Votes To Create Medical Examiner’s Department

Legislation approved by the Navajo Nation Council would create a medical examiner’s department within the tribe’s Division of Public Safety.

The resolution approved unanimously by the council Thursday on the final day of a special session is subject to approval by tribal President Russell Begaye.

Under the legislation, the new department would investigate all deaths occurring under suspicious circumstances, including violent and unexplained deaths, and be authorized to make determinations and issue certificates of death.

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The department also would be authorized to respond to the scene of a death and to prescribe procedures for taking possession of a dead body following the death that is subject to investigation.

According to the legislation, investigations would have to be conducted in a manner that respects the tribe’s culture, traditions and beliefs.