The only Native American on federal death row was executed Wednesday at the prison in Terre Haute, Ind.
Navajo tribal member Lezmond Mitchell’s execution came despite objections from many Navajo Nation leaders who had urged President Donald Trump to halt the lethal injection on grounds that it would violate tribal sovereignty.
Navajo President Jonathan Nez’s office calls it a sad day for the tribe and says the execution is an affront to the Navajo Nation which should decide matters of crime and punishment on the reservation.
“Our judicial and public safety system considers restorative justice in court cases as based on our custom and traditions of hozho’ and k’e,” said the president’s office in a press release. “Federal officials may not understand our family connections and our strength in keeping harmony. So, we invite them to meet with us and find an answer to address this important death penalty matter.”
Mitchell was condemned for the grisly murders of 9-year-old Tiffany Lee and her grandmother, Alyce Slim, in 2001 on the Navajo Nation. The federal government has carried out more executions in 2020 than it had in the previous 56 years combined under the pro-death penalty President Trump.