Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pawnee Tribal Member Larry EchoHawk Could Be Next Head Of BIA

Feather News

President Barack Obama has not yet officially announced his selection for the Bureau of Indian Affairs but many are discussing his pick could be Larry EchoHawk, a member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma.

EchoHawk served as the attorney general of Idaho from 1991 to 1995. EchoHawk has his share of critics who point to his record on Indian gaming while serving as attorney general. EchoHawk's brother, John, is the executive director of the Native American Rights Fund.

Supporters of EchoHawk note his support for legislation aimed at protecting salmon treaty fishing rights and native religious freedom rights. EchoHawk has been criticized for taking part in implementing an Idaho law that forbid tribes in that state from operating class III gaming operations. Others say he was only carrying out his obligations as attorney general.

In other news, on President Bush denied a clemency request for Leonard Peltier on his last day in office. Peltier is serving two life terms for his role in the 1975 murders of two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Peltier denies any guilt and claims his trial was unfair.