April 12, 2009 by Gsmith
President Barack Obama on Friday picked Brigham Young University law professor Larry EchoHawk to lead the Bureau of Indian Affairs, making him the first high-profile Mormon and first Utahn to join the administration’s senior ranks.
EchoHawk, a member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, has lived and worked throughout the West. He made history in 1990 as the first American Indian elected to statewide office when he won Idaho’s attorney general race. After a failed bid for Gem State governor, EchoHawk, a Democrat, relocated to Utah, where he started teaching courses on criminal law and federal Indian law at BYU.
“Larry EchoHawk has the right leadership abilities, legislative experience and legal expertise,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said, “to bring about the transformative improvements we all seek for Indian country.”
EchoHawk’s official title — if the Senate confirms him — would be assistant secretary for Indian affairs within Interior. He would lead the bureau responsible for providing services to 1.7 million American Indians and Alaskan natives and for managing 66 million acres held in trust by the United States for tribes.
“I, for one, have been anxiously awaiting this appointment,” said Forrest Cuch, director of the Utah Division of Indian Affairs, “and I was wondering why it was taking so long.”
Much more at The (Salt Lake City) Tribune Online