Larry Echo Hawk

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Larry Echo Hawk
10th Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs
In office
May 22, 2009 – April 27, 2012
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byCarl Artman
Succeeded byKevin K. Washburn
30th Attorney General of Idaho
In office
January 7, 1991 – January 2, 1995
GovernorCecil Andrus
Preceded byJim Jones
Succeeded byAl Lance
Personal details
Born (1948-08-02) August 2, 1948 (age 72)
Cody, Wyoming, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Terry Echo Hawk
EducationBrigham Young University (BS)
University of Utah (JD)
Stanford University (MBA)
Military service
Branch/serviceUnited States Marine Corps

Larry J. Echo Hawk (born August 2, 1948) is an attorney, legal scholar and politician. On May 20, 2009, Echo Hawk joined the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama as the United States Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs.[1] He previously served as the elected Attorney General of Idaho from 1991 to 1995, being the first Native American elected to that position.[2] He also served two terms in the State House of Idaho. In 2012, he was called as a general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).[3]

Early life, marriage and education[edit]

Echo Hawk was born into the federally recognized Pawnee Nation in Cody, Wyoming, in 1948 to Ernest and Emma Jane Echo Hawk, where his father worked with the oil and gas industry. He was enrolled as a member of the tribe, whose reservation is in Oklahoma. Shortly before Larry was to start first grade, the family moved to Farmington, New Mexico. Larry and his family joined the LDS Church when he was 14.[4]

He later baptized Teresa "Terry" Pries, whom he had been dating for several years. In 1968, their marriage in the Salt Lake Temple was performed by Spencer W. Kimball, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The couple have had six children together.[4]

Echo Hawk attended Brigham Young University (BYU) on a football scholarship (playing as a safety).[5] After earning a degree in physical education and zoology from BYU, Echo Hawk served for two years in the United States Marine Corps.

He earned a Juris Doctor degree in 1973 from the University of Utah. He continued with professional studies and from 1974 to 1975 was enrolled in Stanford University's MBA program.[6]


Echo Hawk began his legal career working with California Indian Legal Services. In 1975, he started his own law practice in Salt Lake City, Utah.[4] In 1977, he became general legal counsel for the Fort Hall, Idaho-based Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. He also served as a special prosecutor for the Navajo Nation in 1985.

He later settled in Idaho, becoming active in the Democratic Party. In 1982 Echo Hawk was elected to a seat in the Idaho State House of Representatives from Bannock County, where he served two terms. He was later elected Bannock County prosecuting attorney in 1986.[7] Echo Hawk was elected Attorney General of Idaho in 1990, the first Native American elected to this position in Idaho.[2]

Echo Hawk served as national co-chair for Native Americans for the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign. He was a principal speaker at that year's Democratic National Convention and led the Idaho delegation as chair at the convention.

In 1994 Echo Hawk announced his candidacy to succeed fellow Democrat Cecil D. Andrus, who was retiring as Governor of Idaho. Echo Hawk decisively defeated former state senator Ron Beitelspacher and an unknown candidate in the Democratic primary, fueling speculation that he could be the nation's first Native American governor. But, he was defeated in the general election by the Republican candidate, former Lieutenant Governor Phil Batt. Echo Hawk has not been a candidate for public office since.

Shortly after the 1994 election defeat, Echo Hawk accepted a faculty position at BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School and returned to Utah. In that capacity he taught courses in criminal law, criminal procedure and federal Indian law. He has also published several scholarly papers.

Echo Hawk is admitted to the bar in Idaho, Utah and California.

Native American issues[edit]

Echo Hawk has served on the American Indian Services National Advisory Board and Board of Trustees. He was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice, a leading group on justice policy development.[8] He has also served on the board of the American Indian Community Resource Center.[9] John Echo Hawk, director of the Native American Rights Fund, is his brother.

Echo Hawk was appointed by President Obama as the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs in 2009. During his tenure, the government increased the amount of land held in trust for federally recognized Native American tribes by 158,000 acres, supporting their efforts to be self-supportive and to reconnect fragmented reservations. He also oversaw several water agreements made with Native American tribes. He directed implementation of the Tribal Law and Order Act.[6] While leading Indian Affairs, he oversaw the formation of the Tribal Leadership Conference, which provides for an annual meeting between leaders or other representatives of the 566 federally recognized tribes, the U.S. President and all members of the Cabinet.[10] He resigned his position at Interior on April 27, 2012.[11]

In February 2019, Echo Hawk joined the admisistration of Utah governor Gary Herbert as special counsel on Native American affairs.[12]

LDS Church service[edit]

Larry J. Echo Hawk
First Quorum of the Seventy
March 31, 2012 (2012-03-31) – October 6, 2018 (2018-10-06)
Called byThomas S. Monson
End reasonDesignated emeritus General Authority
Emeritus General Authority
October 6, 2018 (2018-10-06)
Called byRussell M. Nelson

In the LDS Church, Echo Hawk has served as president of a student stake on the BYU campus, a bishop, and high councilor.

At the time he was elected State Attorney General in Idaho, he was serving as a member of the board of trustees of LDS Social Services.[13]

He was accepted by church membership as a general authority and member of the First Quorum of the Seventy on March 31, 2012. During his first year as a general authority he made multiple trips throughout the southwest US, often meeting with groups of Latter-day Saint Native Americans.[14] From 2013 to 2015, Echo Hawk served as second counselor in the presidency of the church's Philippines Area.[15][16] From 2015 to 2018, Echo Hawk served as an assistant Executive Director of the church's Correlation Department.[17] He was also a member of the LDS Church's Boundary and Leadership Change Committee.[18] On October 6, 2018, Echo Hawk was released and designated an emeritus general authority.[19]


  1. ^ Ling, Katherine (2009-05-20), "Senate confirms 3 nominees for DOE, 1 for Interior", The New York Times, retrieved 2012-03-31
  2. ^ a b "Profile: Larry Echo Hawk" Archived 2012-08-05 at the Wayback Machine, Department of the Interior Profile
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c Wrigley, Heather Whittle (14 April 2012), "Elder Larry Echo Hawk: 'Lifting people' a lifelong choice", Church News
  5. ^ Larry EchoHawk Athlete Profile | The Official Site of BYU Athletics. (accessed 18 October 2013)
  6. ^ a b "Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk to Conclude Successful Tenure at Interior", Press Release, US Department of the Interior, April 9, 2012.
  7. ^ "Biographical Statement of Larry Echo Hawk Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs U.S. Department of the Interior" (PDF). Retrieved May 30, 2016.
  8. ^ U.S. House hearing bio of Echo Hawk
  9. ^ "Department of Interior bio of Echo Hawk". Archived from the original on 2012-08-05. Retrieved 2012-04-03.
  10. ^ "Dennis Romboy "New Mormon Leader Echo Hawk Fostered New Era in U.S., Tribal Relations", Deseret News, April 10, 2012
  11. ^ "Echo Hawk Sets Resignation Date For April 27", Indian Country Today Media Network, April 9, 2012, archived from the original on October 21, 2013, retrieved April 13, 2012
  12. ^ Salt Lake Tribune article on Echo Hawk's appointment
  13. ^ "Idaho attorney general is living example of 'American dream'", Church News, August 3, 1991
  14. ^ Navajo Times article on Echo Hawk
  15. ^ Church News, May 25, 2013.
  16. ^ "LDS First Presidency announces area leadership assignments", Church News, 2 May 2015.
  17. ^ Weaver, Sarah Jane (29 December 2015). "'A heavenly pattern' participating in family, Church councils". Deseret News.
  18. ^ LDS Church profile on Echo Hawk
  19. ^ "Leadership Changes Announced at October 2018 General Conference: Seven General Authority Seventies released", Newsroom, LDS Church, 2018-10-06

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Jim Jones
Attorney General of Idaho
Succeeded by
Al Lance
Party political offices
Preceded by
Cecil Andrus
Democratic nominee for Governor of Idaho
Succeeded by
Robert Huntley
Political offices
Preceded by
Carl Artman
Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs
Succeeded by
Del Laverdure