NEWS_SHI to sponsor lecture on federal Indian law in the Lower 48

NEWS_SHI to sponsor lecture on federal Indian law in the Lower 48

Posted By:
Kathy Dye
Kathy Dye
Published On: December 22nd, 2020

Free virtual event part of Native American Heritage Month celebration

Nov. 16, 2020

(About the Lecturer) (Flyer)

Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) will sponsor a free online lecture this Tuesday on federal Indian law in the Lower 48 as part of its series in recognition of Native American Heritage Month.

The presentation, The Federal Indian Law Legal Framework for Native Nations in the Lower 48 States, will be given by Walter Echo-Hawk, an author, attorney, and legal scholar.

There are several legal frameworks in the United States that establish the rights, relationships and responsibilities between Indigenous Peoples, the states and the federal government, wrote Echo-Hawk.

“I will lay out the foundational principles of that framework, together with its strengths and weaknesses, and the challenges of this generation to reform and strengthen federal Indian law and policy in the 21st century,” he wrote.

The talk, scheduled at noon on Tuesday, Nov. 17, will be live streamed on SHI’s YouTube channel. The series, which focuses on citizens and shareholders in Alaska Native corporations and tribes, is also offered as part of a one-credit course through the University of Alaska Southeast.

The talks are offered through the Preparing Indigenous Teachers and Administrators for Alaska Schools (PITAAS) program and funded by the Alaska Native Education Program. 

About the Lecturer

Walter Echo-Hawk is the president of the Pawnee Nation Business Council. As an author, attorney and legal scholar he was the Dan and Maggie Inouye Distinguished Chair on Democratic Ideals at University of Hawai’i’s Law School (Spring 2018). He authored The Sea of Grass, In The Light Of Justice, In the Courts of the Conqueror, and Battlefields and Burial Grounds.  A Pawnee Indian with a BA in political science from Oklahoma State University and a JD from the University of New Mexico, Echo-Hawk practices law in Oklahoma. In addition to his tribal government duties, he is chair of the Board of Directors of the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums and is on the Knowledge Givers advisory board for Oklahoma’s First American Museum.

As a staff attorney of the Native American Rights Fund (1973-2009), he represented Indian Tribes, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians on significant legal issues in the modern era of federal Indian law, during the rise of modern Indian Nations in the tribal sovereignty movement. He litigated Indigenous rights pertaining to religious freedom, prisoner rights, water rights, treaty rights and reburialrepatriation rights.

In private practice (2009-2020) Echo-Hawk has represented various Oklahoma tribes, served as a Justice on the Supreme Courts of the Pawnee Nation and Kickapoo Nation, and taught federal Indian law at the law schools of Tulsa University, Lewis & Clark and University of Hawai’i.’

Echo-Hawk’s numerous awards include a Governor’s Commendation (2010) from Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry for professional contributions on behalf of Indigenous cultures throughout the nation and a Civil Liberties Award (1991) from the ACLU of Oregon.

Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private nonprofit founded in 1980 to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska. Its goal is to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding through public services and events. SHI also conducts social scientific and public policy research that promotes Alaska Native arts, cultures, history and education statewide. The institute is governed by a Board of Trustees and guided by a Council of Traditional Scholars, a Native Artist Committee and a Southeast Regional Language Committee.

CONTACT: Amy Fletcher, SHI Media and Publications Director, 907.586.9116,

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