Larry EchoHawk Nominated for US Bureau of Indian Affairs Post

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April 12, 2009 by Gsmith

Prof. Larry Echohawk, Mormon working intellectual and member of the Pawnee First Nation.

Prof. Larry Echohawk, Mormon working intellectual and member of the Pawnee First Nation.

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

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2 thoughts on “Larry EchoHawk Nominated for US Bureau of Indian Affairs Post

  1. Joseph says:

    This is kind of a difficult confession to make on this blog, but I voted for Obama. I realize he doesn’t represent a fraction of the change that needs to happen, but hey, you have to start somewhere. I have voted Green Party and for Ralph Nader in the past, but I didn’t this go round. I even volunteered for the Obama campaign and made phone calls. I also had signs in my yard, which drew bitter mail and even some severe verbal criticism from members of the local ward I attend. I also had some of my signs stolen, but that was epidemic in the very right-wing town I live in, and a majority are not LDS, so I’m hoping no members of the LDS Church were involved (in fact, this town is so scary, I actually feel much safer in Mormon congregations than I do in most places around here). This hostility towards my involvement in the political process was strange to me, since participating in any major party seems so tame compared to my actual political beliefs.

    Anyway, I give this background to explain why I feel excited about this. Maybe between Harry Reid and now Larry Echohawk we can dispel the “no good Mormons to the left of the Republican party” myth. I’m not holding my breath, though.

    I should note that none of this hostility came from Church leaders (except one of the verbal criticizers, who apologized later), and I was called to be Elder’s Quorum President right after Obama’s election, to my great distress. I was hoping being openly Democrat would keep me safe from things like that!

  2. J. Madson says:

    I was in a couple of different classes taught by Echohawk in law school. In my opinion he is a genuinely good person. He knows his stuff and and I really enjoyed the classes. I took criminal law and federal indian law from him. In the indian law class his brother came in and spoke as well. Both echohawks were tough on the need for treaties to be enforced, at least in rhetoric.

    I think he is a fine choice.

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