FBI director makes historic visit to Navajo Nation
GALLUP, N.M. (AP) — FBI Director Christopher Wray met with tribal officials of the largest Indian reservation in the U.S. this week, becoming the first head of the federal law enforcement agency to visit the Navajo Nation.
His visit to the Navajo Nation was the first by a director and was intended to allow Wray to introduce himself to tribal leaders during a visit to FBI field offices, FBI spokesman Frank Fisher said.
Wray visited the tribal capital in Window Rock, Arizona, on Friday and spoke with Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye and other tribal and federal law enforcement officials, including FBI agents stationed in New Mexico, the Gallup Independent reported.
The FBI investigates major crimes on tribal reservations and Wray said his visit, which included a stop at a crime scene, helped give him a look at law enforcement “on the front lines.”
After the meeting, Wray said he was “very impressed by the partnership” between Navajo and FBI officials.
The Navajo Nation reservation covers 27,000 square mile (69,930 square kilometers) in northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico and southeastern Utah, making it larger than West Virginia.
The visit to where a homicide occurred was intended to show Wray “the remoteness of the Navajo Nation,” said Nation Police Chief Phillip Francisco. “They picked one that was kind of close so they didn’t have to drive that far.”
Large areas of the reservation have little or no cellphone coverage and have roads that are impassable in bad weather.
President Begaye said he was honored to have Wray in his office and glad to hear him acknowledge the tribe’s sovereignty. He asked Wray for his agency’s support and possible training to handle cybercrime, human and drug trafficking, meth labs, and shooting threats against schools.
Wray was sworn in as FBI director last August, replacing James Comey, who was fired last May by President Donald Trump.