The Navajo Nation is establishing its first medical examiner's office.
In a statement, President Russell Begaye's office said Tuesday that he had approved a plan of operation for the Department of Medical Examiners, which will fall under the oversight of the Navajo Nation's Division of Public Safety.
The new department will be responsible for investigating deaths, determining their causes, and producing records and reports stemming from those investigations. Begaye says the investigations will be conducted with cultural sensitivity.
Before the medical examiners department was approved, Begaye said the Navajo Nation president was responsible for appointing coroners, who were responsible for investigating deaths and recruiting physicians to accompany them in the investigations.
The plan of operation signed into law by Begaye on Saturday must be approved by the Navajo Nation Council's Law and Order Committee.