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Mother Of Murdered Girl Urges Navajo Nation To Use Death Penalty

Ashlynne Mike
Ashlynne Mike

The Navajo Nation has long opposed capital punishment, but the mother of a murdered 11-year-old girl is asking the tribe to change its stance.

Pamela Foster has started an online petition demanding the Navajo tribe allow the death penalty. In the petition, which has more than 400 signatures, Foster said she’s writing on behalf of “parents of throughout Indigenous Nations” and is pleading for “stricter laws regarding violence against our future generation.”

Foster’s daughter, Ashlynne Mike, was abducted and killed outside of Shiprock, New Mexico, in May. The Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper reportsNavajo Nation President Russell Begaye says he supports the Major Crimes Act. The act allows tribes to accept or reject a death sentence in prosecutions under federal jurisdiction.

When senior field correspondent Stina Sieg was 22, she moved to the desert. She hasn’t been the same since. At the time, the Northern California native had just graduated from college and was hankering for wide-open spaces. So she took a leap and wrote to nearly every newspaper in New Mexico until one offered her a job. That’s how she became the photographer for a daily paper in the small town of Silver City. And that’s when she realized how much she loved storytelling. In the years since, the beauty of having people open up and share their stories — and trust her to tell them — has never gotten old to Sieg. Before coming to KJZZ, Sieg was also a writer and photographer at newspapers in Glenwood Springs, Colorado; Moab, Utah; and the Smoky Mountains town of Waynesville, North Carolina. She always had her hand in public radio, too, including hosting Morning Edition on a fill-in basis at WNCW in North Carolina. It’s still the best music station she’s found. When she’s not reporting, chances are Sieg is running, baking, knitting or driving to some far-flung town deep in the desert — just to see what it looks like.