April 03, 2012 –
NCAI Statement on Resignation of Larry Echo Hawk, Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs for the Department of the Interior
Washington, DC – The nation’s leading American Indian and Alaska Native advocacy organization, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), has issued a statement regarding the announcement that Larry Echo Hawk will resign as the Department of the Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs. The resignation comes three years after Echo Hawk was appointed as the top official for the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).
“Larry Echo Hawk’s leadership at the Bureau of Indian Affairs has set a new standard for generations to come. While he will be greatly missed in this position, his legacy – the manner in which he carefully listened to tribal leaders and tribal citizens, acted to remove historic barriers for tribes, and framed a new vision for the BIA’s relationship with sovereign tribal governments – is a legacy that will continue to ripple through the federal government,” said NCAI President Jefferson Keel, who also serves as the Lt. Governor of the Chickasaw Nation. “Larry’s service was not only exemplary as a federal official, but also as an American Indian leader who served the United States and tribal nations with dignity and respect. He elevated our nation-to-nation relationship to its rightful place, and for that we are grateful.”
Just last month, NCAI awarded Echo Hawk the prestigious Governmental Leadership Award as part of the organization’s annual Indian Country Leadership Awards. The honor was presented at the organization’s Executive Council Winter Session meeting in Washington, DC.
“There is no doubt that in the last three year a new era for tribal relations with the United States has emerged and Larry Echo Hawk played no small part in it. He will always be remembered for the way he acted as the top official of the BIA. He listened with great conviction, setting a tone for consultation that we must always ensure is reflected in the federal government’s approach to nation-to-nation meetings,” added Jacqueline Pata, NCAI’s Executive Director. “Larry, much like his brother John Echohawk, leads with a quiet strength. He would stay through long meetings, contentious discussions, and resolve to find clear paths for moving forward. His even keeled approach to engaging with his federal counter parts allowed so much work to get done and we wish him the best in his future endeavors.”