NEWS_SHI to sponsor lecture on Tee-Hit-Ton decision, miscarriage of justice

NEWS_SHI to sponsor lecture on Tee-Hit-Ton decision, miscarriage of justice

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

Event free, open to the public

Oct. 30, 2019


Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) will sponsor a lecture next week on an appalling miscarriage of justice that affected the Tlingit Nation in one of the worst Indian cases ever decided—the 1955 Tee-Hit-Ton decision.

The lecture, Tee-Hit-Ton v. United States: A Case Study in Indigenous Injustice, will be given by Walter Echo-Hawk, an author, attorney and legal scholar. In his talk, Echo-Hawk will examine a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the federal government’s outright confiscation of Tlingit aboriginal land to create the vast Tongass National Forest without compensating the Alaska Native landowners, as is normally required by the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

“Most Americans rightly equate our judicial system with ‘justice,’ but every once in a great while a shocking miscarriage of justice occurs. Whenever that happens we must pause and diagnose the cause, because a free and democratic society cannot tolerate injustice anywhere,” Echo-Hawk wrote.

“What led to this shocking miscarriage of justice? And how can we prevent this from happening again?”

Echo-Hawk ( was the Dan and Maggie Inouye Distinguished Chair in Democratic Ideals at University of Hawai’i’s Law School (Spring 2018). He authored The Sea of Grass (2018); In The Light Of Justice (2013); In the Courts of the Conqueror (2010); and Battlefields and Burial Grounds (1994).  A Pawnee Indian with a bachelor’s degree in political science from Oklahoma State University (1970) and a Juris Doctorate from the University of New Mexico (1973), Echo-Hawk practices law in Oklahoma. He serves as Chair Board of Directors, Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries and Museums (; and is on the “Knowledge Givers” advisory board for Oklahoma’s American Indian Cultural Center and Museum.

The lecture is scheduled from noon-1 pm, Thursday, Nov. 7, at Sealaska Heritage’s Walter Soboleff Building, 105 S. Seward St. in Juneau. The lecture will be videotaped and put online shortly after the talk. This course may also be taken for credit at the University of Alaska Southeast. Everyone is welcome.

This program is provided under the Preparing Indigenous Teachers and Administrators for Alaska Schools (PITAAS) program and funded by the Alaska Native Education Program.

This lecture is also co-sponsored by the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS). Echo-Hawk will give a second talk at 7 pm, Friday, Nov. 8, at the Egan Library for UAS’s Evening at Egan lecture series. In his lecture, The Sea of Grass, Echo-Hawk will tell the story of ten generations of his Pawnee family in the Great Plains of North America.

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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