Let me be a free man—free to travel, free to work, free to follow the religion of my forefathers, and I will obey every law or submit to the penalty.
-- Chief Joseph, Nez Perce.
Indigenous rights are never freely given—they must be demanded, wrested away, then vigilantly protected. That is the essence of freedom.
-- Walter Echo-Hawk, Pawnee.
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!
A Law Backing Tribal Sovereignty Is Answer to Expanding Oral Health
The challenge in health care can be boiled down to two ideas: Improve the quality and cut the costs.
It?s a fact that the U.S. spends too much, both private and government money, on health care, nearly 18 percent of all goods and services. The good news is that cost has been slowing, partly because of the economy, and most partly because the Affordable Care Act.
But this is just a first step. We have a long way to go. The reason is the country?s demographics: We have smaller population of young people, a huge baby boom generation, and people are living longer. Add this all up and the numbers are not sustainable by any metric. So math, not politics, ought to determine the route forward and that means looking for innovation to make health care less expensive. So when something comes along that does just that, you would think that it would be worth a celebration. But that?s not how change works.
As I have written before, the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium?s Dental Health Therapist Program is such a model. The Alaska program trains young people to practice mid-level dentistry, something that?s common around the world. This program expands access, improves quality, health, and is less expensive. It?s backed up by rigorous studies, that show mid-level providers offer ?safe, competent and affordable care.?
So where is the celebration? Well, that will have to wait until the fight is over.
Washington state is considering legislation that would expand mid-level providers and the Washington State Dental Association is opposed saying that ?midlevel providers will not make dental care more affordable, how dental residencies are a superior alternative, and how dentists in private practice are reimbursed 25 cents on the dollar for adult Medicaid patients.?
There is an interesting history here. The dental association in Alaska, and nationally, had long opposed the creation of the mid-level providers or Dental Health Therapists, and even sued to try and stop the program. Only now dental associations sort of praise the program, saying that it might be ?appropriate? because of Alaska?s remote locations. The dental trade groups just don?t want that program to expand again.
One of the reasons why the Washington legislature is considering changing the law is that some tribes in the state are keen on a mid-level provider as one way to make it easier for tribal members to get better dental care.
DNA Politics: Anzick Child Casts Doubt on Bering Strait Theory
Scientists from the University of Copenhagen and Texas A&M have analyzed the DNA of the remains of a young boy ceremonially buried some 12,600 years ago in Montana. Their new data sheds light on the ancestry of one of the earliest populations in the Americas, known as the Clovis culture, but also rekindles the debate over the ethics of handling ancient remains and the political consequences of scientific studies of Indian peoples. It also undercuts recent attempts by archaeologists to deny the antiquity of Indians and thus avoid the political and legal repercussions of disturbing ancient burial sites or mistreating ancient human remains.
The analysis, published last month in Nature, shows that today?s indigenous groups spanning North and South America are genetically related to the early peoples who roamed this continent, overturning previous, controversial findings by scientists and the courts. Over the past 15 years a subtle shift has occurred in the nomenclature of the oldest period in America?s prehistory. Whereas previously the inhabitants of this hemisphere in the period before 8,000 BC were known as Paleoindians (Ancient Indians), starting in 1999 a number of archaeologists began to insist on referring to them as Paleoamericans (Ancient Americans).
According to these archaeologists, recent scientific studies cast doubt on whether these ancient peoples were related to modern Indians. The change in terminology was needed to ?avoid an inference of biological continuity between the current Native American populations and the earliest populations.?
There were concerns from some quarters that the change was due less to science and more to politics. It did not go unnoticed that the principle advocates for the term Paleoamerican were the archaeologists Robson Bonnichsen, the director of the Center for the Study of the First Americans at Texas A&M University, and Richard Jantz, director of the Center for Forensic Anthropology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Both had also been lead plaintiffs in the famous suit brought by archeologists against the federal government, Bonnichsen, et al. v. United States, et al., otherwise known as ?Kennewick Man.?
18 Months Later: Still No Answers to Native Teen?s Murder
Eighteen months after Faith Hedgepeth was murdered, local media outlets are pushing for answers to what happened in the last hours of the woman?s life.
Hedgepeth, a 19-year-old junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a member of the Haliwa-Saponi Tribe, was found dead in her off-campus apartment on September 7, 2012. She was last seen alive at about 3 a.m. that day, after she and her roommate returned home from a nightclub.
Police have not yet released an official cause of death, and the records associated with the case?including search warrants, 911 recordings and other judicial records?have remained sealed. Three days after the murder, a Durham County Superior Court Judge sealed the records, and every 60 days since then, the County Attorney?s Office has asked that the records be resealed.
Four local media outlets now have filed a motion asking that the sealing orders be vacated.
The information sought ?has been effectively under seal for nearly 18 months via a series of orders extending the duration of the sealing orders without notice or hearing,? the motion states. The media outlets include television stations and newspapers in the Raleigh and Durham areas of North Carolina and DTH Media Corporation, which publishes The Daily Tar Heel, the student newspaper at UNC-Chapel Hill.
To Book Walter Echo-Hawk
Tuesday March 11th, 2014
Unviersity of Michigan, Henderson Room in the Michigan League, Ann Arbor, MI
04:00pm to 05:00pm
BOOK LECTURE: "In The Light of Justice"
Thursday March 13th, 2014
Michigan State University College of Law, East Lansing, MI
02:00pm to 03:00pm
BOOK LECTURE, "In The Light of Justice"
Wednesday March 26th, 2014
Humboldt State University, Kate Buchanan Room, Arcata, CA
06:00pm to 07:00pm
Public Lecture, Native Pathways Speaker Series.
"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...
"Why We Need The UN DECLARATION ON THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES"
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...