Native Village
Youth and Education news

April 1, 2012

Top Bureau of Indian Affairs official Larry Echo Hawk stepping down to take LDS Church post

Utah: The top official for the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs is resigning to accept a full-time leadership position with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ending three years with the department that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says “opened a new chapter” in U.S. relationships with American Indian tribes.

Larry Echo Hawk, the assistant secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs, is being appointed to the Quorum of the Seventy, the Mormon Church’s third-highest governing body. The announcement from the church came Saturday during its semi-annual general conference in Salt Lake City.

President Barack Obama appointed Echo Hawk, 63, to oversee the BIA in 2009.

“With Larry Echo Hawk’s leadership, we have opened a new chapter in our nation to nation relationships with American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments, accelerated the restoration of tribal homelands, improved safety in tribal communities, resolved century-old water disputes, invested in education, and reached many more milestones that are helping Indian nations pursue the future of their choosing,” Salazar said in a statement.

During Echo Hawk’s tenure, the Interior Department settled a $3.4 billion class-action lawsuit with Native American landowners over mismanaged royalties. The settlement reached in late 2009 is under appeal.

Salazar said he would work with Echo Hawk to ensure a smooth transition within the BIA. It was not clear who would be appointed to oversee the BIA after Echo Hawk’s departure.

Echo Hawk, a member of the Pawnee Nation, was elected Idaho attorney general in 1990, the first Native American to be elected to the position in any state. He ran unsuccessfully in 1994 for Idaho governor as a Democrat.

He was a Brigham Young University law professor for 14 years before leading the BIA.

After his appointment, Echo Hawk said in a speech in Salt Lake City in 2009 that he wrestled with the decision to accept a position that would make him a “face” for a federal government that has had a sordid history of mistreating Indians. He finally reconciled his hesitation by vowing to be an “agent for change” instead of a mere caretaker.

“How do you reverse 200 years of struggles?” he said then. “It’s not going to be easy.”

Native Village Home Page

Native Village © Gina Boltz
To receive email notices of Native Village updates, please send your email address to:
To contact us, email


Thank you to ALL the wonderful individuals,  friends, organizations, groups, news services and websites who share or donate their research, work, time and talents to make Native Village possible
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit or payment for non-profit research, archival, news, and educational purposes only.
NATIVE VILLAGE website was created for youth, educators, families, and friends who wish to celebrate the rich, diverse cultures of The Americas' First Peoples. We offer readers two monthly publications: NATIVE VILLAGE Youth and Education News and NATIVE VILLAGE Opportunities and Websites.  Each issue shares today's happenings in Indian country. NATIVE VILLAGE also houses website libraries and informational materials to enrich all lives on Turtle Island.
Unless otherwise noted, articles are written in full by the credited author at the credited source link. We are responsible for format changes and additional photos, art, and graphics which boost visual appeal and add dimension to the reading experience. Pictures and graphics not appearing with the original article are either credited on the page or by right-clicking the picture. Some may be free or by sources unknown.
Please contact us with any copyright corrections so we may properly credit the source.
 We are not responsible for changes to outside websites and weblinks. Please notify us if any problems arise.