The FBI has issued its first poster in a Native American language, seeking information in Navajo on the death of an elderly man six years ago on the New Mexico portion of the vast Navajo Nation reservation.
Wilson Joe Chiquito, 75, was beaten to death at his home in the community of Counselor in February 2014.
The FBI recently released the poster that offers a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction. It has been shared on social media and posted in Navajo communities, grocery stories and trading posts, said Navajo Police Chief Phillip Francisco.
“Having it in both languages, it obviously helps the ability to get tips,” he said. “It’s a positive thing and it shows the FBI’s dedication to helping solve crimes on Navajo by embracing the culture and the language.”
Francisco wasn’t aware of any new tips that authorities have received based on the Navajo-language poster but said “any small detail can help out.”
James Langenberg, special agent in charge of the Albuquerque division of the FBI, said FBI employees who speak Navajo helped translate the information for the poster.
“We already work closely with the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety, but we hope this effort will improve our communication with the rest of the Diné,” Langenberg said.
The FBI said it hasn’t translated posters into any Native American language beside Navajo.
“The FBI plans to continue translating regularly in order to ensure we are receiving any and all information possible that may lead us to the perpetrators of these crimes and bringing them to justice,” the agency said.
The Navajo Nation spans parts of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. It covers more than 27,000 square miles (70,000 square kilometers), making it larger than the state of West Virginia.
Fonseca reported from Flagstaff, Arizona.