fbpx
 
Navajo Nation Michael Lee

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – The Navajo Nation is mourning the death of Navajo Police Officer Michael Lee, who passed away on Friday morning from COVID-19. The Navajo Police Department confirmed Lee is the tribe’s first law enforcement officer to pass away as the result of COVID-19.

The Navajo Indian Reservation has been hit hard by COVID-19. On Friday evening, the Navajo Nation reported 6,894 COVID-19 cases and 330 related deaths since March 17, 2020.

"On behalf of the Navajo Nation, we offer our heartfelt condolences and prayers to Navajo Police Officer Michael Lee’s family, friends, and colleagues. Officer Lee fought on the front lines to combat coronavirus and we are grateful for his dedication to our community. His steadfast commitment to protect and serve will be remembered and honored," Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said.

He also said he and Vice President Myron Lizer would issue a proclamation to order all flags on the Navajo Nation to be flown at half-staff in memory of Officer Lee.  

A 29-year veteran of the Navajo Police Department, Officer Lee served with the Chinle Police District at the time of his death.

Officer Lee began his law enforcement career for the Navajo Nation Police Department in Toyei, Ariz., in October 1990.  Officer Lee was a patrol officer, a Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) officer, and a supporter of the department's information technology component. During his first seven years with the police department, he served within the Window Rock district and dedicated his remaining years to the Chinle district.

"It's a sad time for the entire Navajo Nation and, to Officer Lee’s family, we offer our prayers. Our police department lost a truly honorable and distinguished person. We also pray for the people of Chinle and surrounding communities, who welcomed Officer Lee throughout his time in service to that region. Take comfort in knowing that your loved one is now in our Creator's hands," Vice President Lizer said.

"It is with great sorrow that the Navajo Police Department announces the passing of Officer Michael Lee.  We are devastated and heartbroken. Officer Lee was a husband, a father, a son, and a protector of his community.  We ask the public to join us in remembering his commitment and contribution to his community and to keep his family in your thoughts and prayers today," Police Chief Phillip Francisco said on Friday.

Officer Lee is survived by his wife and children. Memorial service details will be forthcoming.

 

More Stories Like This

Native News Weekly (November 27, 2022): D.C. Briefs
Sen. Schumer Announces $7.625 Million Federal Grant on Seneca Nation
#GivingTuesday: Here are 16 Native Nonprofits Worthy of Your Support
CBS Broadcasters Mock Native American College Basketball Player
Alcatraz Island: Indigenous People Gather at Sunrise on Thanksgiving

You’re reading the first draft of history. 

November is  Native American Heritage Month in the United States. We feel like every month — and every day — is a reason for celebrating Native Americans and our heritage. That’s what we try to do here at Native News Online, with stories each day that celebrate, inform and uplift American Indian and Alaska Native people. Over the past year or so, we have been especially busy with three important reporting projects that are having an impact across Indian Country:

  • Indian Boarding Schools. We’ve reported and published more than 150 stories and special live stream video events to help shine a light on the dark era of boarding schools — and help create momentum for change.
  • Native Health Desk. Launched in January, this reporting initiative was created to heighten awareness of Native American health inequities and spotlight pockets of progress in Indian Country. So far we’ve reported and published nearly 120 stories and launched a monthly health newsletter that reaches more than 23,000 readers.  
  • Native Bidaske. In March, we launched this live stream interview program to highlight the work of Native Americans who are making news and leading change in Indian Country.  We have hosted guests from the federal government and Native rights advocates as well as Indigenous actors, comedians, journalists and models.   

We hope you will join us in celebrating Native American heritage and history this November and invite you to consider the old adage that “Journalism is the first draft of history.” If you appreciate the voice Native News Online gives to Native American people, we hope you will support our work with a donation so we can build our newsroom and continue to amplify Native voices and Native perspectives.

Any contribution — big or small — helps us remain a force for change in Indian Country and continue telling the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked.  Most often, our donors make a one-time gift of $20 or more, while many choose to make a recurring monthly donation of $5 or $10.  Whatever you can do, it helps fund our Indigenous-led newsroom and our ability to cover Native news. 

Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you. 

About The Author
Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online StaffEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Native News Online is one of the most-read publications covering Indian Country and the news that matters to American Indians, Alaska Natives and other Indigenous people. Reach out to us at [email protected]