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Navajo Nation president signs historic victims rights bill

The president of the Navajo Nation signed the tribe’s Victims Rights Act of 2023 on Wednesday morning.

The law is intended to create more awareness for victims of sexual assault, rape and domestic violence. It also clarifies the meaning of what constitutes a victim, an advocate and what without consent means. And it’s intended to protect victims from retaliation and harassment, as well as enable  them to participate in the criminal justice process.

"This is the third administration trying to do this work. It shouldn’t be this hard," said Amber Crotty, a Navajo Nation council delegate who has been working on the legislation. 

President Buu Nygren spoke after Crotty at the signing. Still in his first term, the president has vowed to work closely with the Navajo Nation council, which is one-third women, the largest representation of women in the council’s history. 

"I have that commitment. I want to make sure that you young ladies that grow up here on the Navajo Nation have the most opportunity to be whoever the heck they want to be," Nygren said.

Nygren vowed to continue supporting underrepresented members of the Navajo Nation.

Fronteras Desk senior editor Michel Marizco is an award-winning investigative reporter based in Flagstaff.