Walter Echo-Hawk

NAWA! Walter Echo-Hawk (Pawnee) is a Native American speaker, author, and attorney. Throughout his distinguished legal career, he has worked to protect the legal, political, property, cultural, and human rights of Indian tribes and Native peoples. An articulate and versed indigenous rights activist, Echo-Hawk delivers keynote speeches and lectures on a wide variety of indigenous topics, involving Native arts and cultures, indigenous history, federal Indian law, religious freedom, environmental protection, Native American cosmology, and human rights.


He makes keynote appearances at important events throughout Indian Country and around the world. Over the years, he has offered major speeches in South Africa, Turkey, Egypt, Philippines, Canada, and throughout the United States. He is currently on a book lecture tour for his groundbreaking book, In the Courts of the Conqueror: The 10 Worst Indian Law Cases Ever Decided (2010). In June, his new book,  "IN THE LIGHT OF JUSTICE," will be available on this website. This Site introduces this Native American Speaker, profiles his unique career, and provides Contact Information for your event. WELCOME!

Film about Walter Echo-Hawk, produced and directed by leading Native American film maker, Sterlin Harjo (Seminole/Creek) (

Indian Country Headline News

12 Images of Earth Day in DC ? Reject and Protect Against Keystone XL

On Tuesday April 22, tribal leaders, tribal members and hundreds more that stand in opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline converged in Washington, D.C.?s National Mall....

No, Ron Paul, Bundy Ranch Is Not Another Wounded Knee

In a recent article the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity website posed the question is ?The Cliven Bundy Standoff: Wounded Knee Revisited?? As a Dakota woman with painful family memories of the atrocities that took place at Wounded Knee in 1890 when some 300 Lakota were massacred by the U.S. Army?including 200 women and children?I take issue with the comparison. Cliven Bundy?s situation ? a wealthy rancher refusing to pay his government a relatively unsubstantial 20 years of grazing fees ? is nothing like what our people faced at the end of a terrible war with the United States. These sort of careless exaggerations and conflations of our own painful and real history of dispossession by the Right Wing is both predatory and despicable.

The article that follows Ron Paul?s headline is a fairly dry history lesson on the total war tactics the U.S. military pursued in their war against the Great Sioux Nation, the seven bands speaking three dialects (Dakota/Lakota/Nakota), known in our own language as the Oceti Sakowin, the Seven Campfires. As much as I appreciate the sharing of this history, the purpose of it was not to demand redress or a reassessment of these historic wrongs but to act as a call to arms for causes like Bundy?s?nothing more.

And it is not the first time the far right have made this comparison. Last year, gun control opponents circulated on Facebook and Twitter the graphic photo of frozen Lakota victims being buried in a mass grave at Wounded Knee with taglines saying ?Wounded Knee was among the first federally backed gun confiscation attempts in United States history. It ended in the senseless murder of 297 people.? A meme also made the rounds featuring a vintage portrait of a Native leaderemblazoned with the words, ?I?m all for total gun control and trusting the government to protect you, after all it worked great for us? around his face.

Disregard if you can the incredible callousness of using such tragedies to limit restrictions on sales of automatic weapons and to prevent a three-day waiting period for gun purchase?all of which have been shown to save lives; instead I would like to explain to the American public the very real difference between these two fights: one for sovereignty of a pre-existing nation states on this continent and the other, for what Bundy and his supporters call the ?Sovereign Citizen? movement, which basically translates to: they make up the rules.


NIGA's Stevens on Navajo President, ?Slams,? Respect and Redskins

In mid-April the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) withdrew its name ? but not its donation ? from a golf tournament to raise scholarship funds for Navajo college students after learning that the primary sponsor of the Navajo Nation-hosted event was the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation (OAF) ? Redskins owner Dan Snyder?s new Indian country charity.

RELATED: Redskins Sponsorship Taints Navajo Golf Event, Other Sponsors Outraged

In the media blitz that followed, the Navajo Post had a story headlined ?Navajo President slams the National Indian Gaming Association? The story quoted Navajo President Ben Shelly?s response to NIGA?s withdrawal. ?We?d like to say thank you to the sponsors. I believe we lost one sponsor, which is National Indian Gaming Association. I?m very disappointed in them,? Shelly said at a public speech he gave at the tournament. In an exclusive interview with ICTMN, NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens Jr. talked about the press, his relationship with Navajo and the ongoing opposition to the racist slur.

What is your response to the headline of a story about the National Indian Gaming Association withdrawing its sponsorship of a golf tournament to raise scholarship funds for Navajo college students?

I don?t believe that President Ben Shelly slammed me. I think the press is trying to start a fight between us and I won?t go for it. Since I was a young boy my father told me about the Navajo Nation. I have a sister who was born there at Window Rock. So my family has a long standing relationship from then right up to now with my respect for President Ben Shelly and former President Joe Shirley Jr., who?s a close friend of mine.

How did that relationship come about?

It goes two generations back to my father in the late ?60s. My father worked for and with the Navajo Nation all the way into the early ?80s. One of the things my father taught me was that the Navajo president is someone with a special status and somebody who has a lot of responsibility and is to be respected to the utmost and so I?ve always maintained that approach and I continue that despite this press statement that indicates that he may have slammed me. I don?t see that being the case and I will continue my high road approach not just to the Navajo president but to the Navajo Nation as a whole because that?s the way I was taught. Starting with President Joe Shirley Jr. when he came into office, I began a strong bond with the Navajo Nation in the work that I do with NIGA. I?ve visited the reservation a couple of times and most importantly I?ve continued to fund youth and children?s organizations throughout my entire tenure [as NIGA chairman]. Over the last 13 years, again starting with my bond with President Shirley, we?ve made significant contributions to youth and children?s? organizations in the Navajo community. And we continue to do so.



To Book Walter Echo-Hawk


Upcoming Events

Thursday April 24th, 2014

The Henry Zarrow Center for Art & Education, Tulsa, OK

06:00pm to 07:00pm

Public Keynote, "In The Light of Justice," Tulsa Indigenous Studies Alliance, Spring Speaker Series.

Thursday May 1st, 2014

The W Hotel, Seattle, WA

06:30pm to 07:30pm

Dinner Speech, Northwest Indian Bar Association (NIBA)

Tuesday June 10th, 2014

Isleta Pueblo Hotel, Albuquerque, NM

01:30pm to 02:45pm

Lecture, "United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples" at 2014 National Program Training of the Society of American Indian Government Employees (SAIGE) Conference.

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Recent Blog Post

"How the UNDRIP can provide a stronger foundation for Indian rights in the United States"

By Walter Echo-Hawk

Posted: 06 Mar 2011

INDIAN RIGHTS IN THE U.S. ARISE from a foundation fashioned in the 19th Century. Much of that foundation remains sound today and should be retained, especially the "inherent tribal sovereignty" doctrine of Worcester v. Georgia (1833) and its "protectorate framework" for protecting Indian nations that exist in the Republic as "domestic dependant...


By Walter Echo-Hawk

Posted: 27 Feb 2011

MANY IN INDIAN COUNTRY fail to see how international law can help solve tribal problems at home on Indian reservations. That is short-sighted.  By contrast, the leading Indian Country organizations fought hard for many years to develop the UNDRIP and obtain UN and US approval. Those advocates include the National Congress of American Indians, Na...

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