by Winter Rabbit | 1/28/2009 06:20:00 PM
To begin, let’s look at what Scott Crowell’s introduction in his opposition letter says regarding his extreme disapproval of EchoHawk being “vetted for Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs.”


I must express my shock and dismay to hear that Larry EchoHawk is being vetted as Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs. I have great respect for the EchoHawk name, and the highest respect for John and his stewardship of the Native American Rights Fund, and I have had the pleasure of working with many of the Echohawks now practicing Indian law in the northwest. But I must take exception with Larry EchoHawk and share with you the specific facts as to why.

Crowell has “had the pleasure of working with many of the EchoHawks now practicing Indian law in the northwest.” What are his reasons for opposing Larry EchoHawk? We’ll look at them, and then I’ll add my thoughts in regards to the matter.

He sets the foundation leading up to the fact that Larry EchoHawk was in a position of power and he used that power to make a suggestion to “Governor Andrus to convene a Special Session of the Idaho Legislature.” EchoHawk’s manipulative “suggestion” was for the Idaho Constitution to be amended “to change the language so that the State no longer would have a legal obligation under IGRA to negotiate for Class III gaming with Idaho’s Tribes.”

In the early 1990’s, when all the Idaho Tribes first requested gaming compacts under IGRA with the State of Idaho, there was first a dispute as to whether the Tribes could even operate bingo under Idaho law. Then-Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus asked DOI to review the situation and stated that he would honor DOI’s opinion and findings. Then- DOI Solicitor Tom Sansonetti came to Idaho, reviewed the laws and statutes and travelled the State to see what Idaho law and policy truly were regarding gaming. Sansonetti’s official opinion letter not only concluded that Idaho could not stop the Tribes from operating bingo, but that the State’s broad and bold State Lottery meant the State was obligated to negotiate Class III compacts with Tribes allowing for casino gaming, including machine gaming.

Continuing, these are the specifics of how EchoHawk, who is being considered for Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, attacked the Idaho Tribe’s ability to have Class III gaming.

(emphasis mine)

Larry EchoHawk,
then the Attorney General of the State of Idaho, while formally at the negotiating table with the Idaho Tribes, responded to DOI’s official opinion letter by calling on Governor Andrus
to convene a Special Session of the Idaho Legislature (a very rare occurrence in Idaho) to amend the Idaho Constitution to change the language so that the State no longer would have a legal obligation under IGRA to negotiate for Class III gaming with Idaho’s Tribes.
Imagine that, while at the table with a federal obligation to negotiate in good faith, Larry Echohawk instead headed up the extraordinary effort to change Idaho law to deprive Tribes of their federal and inherent rights to operate Class III games on their lands. Regardless of what other credentials and supporters that advocate for Larry EchoHawk’s appointment may exist, these facts and these circumstances demonstrate that he does not have the commitment to Indian Country required for the important office of Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs.

Essentially, that’s from the “how” formula of attacking Tribal Sovereignty. Now, what about the “why?” Let’s look at his own words first.

For me, life began to change at the age of 14, when two missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Lee Pearson and Boyd Camphuysen, came into my home and presented the missionary lessons. Up until that time I knew very little about Christian religion and had seldom attended any church. When the time came for the missionaries to challenge our family to be baptized, they first asked my dad, and then my mother, and then the children, from the oldest to the youngest. I was the second youngest in the family, and by the time they got to me everyone else had said yes. When they asked me, I remember looking at my dad, who had a stern look on his face, and I knew what my answer should be.

I was baptized, but I did not have a testimony of the truthfulness of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ through the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Now, let’s look at a comment about EchoHawk from someone I absolutely trust.

…First he's a Mormon who calls Indians "Lammonites" along with the strange Mormon beliefs of us being the "lost tribes of Israel…"

And what, is a “Lammonite?”

(emphasis mine)


The book of Mormon claims to be an account of the history of America; beginning from 600 BC to 424 AD. It names the first settlers to America, the "Jaredites", a people who had been dispersed at the Tower of Babel. Later, another group called the Lammonites came to America (a barbaric people with dark skins); these were the American Indians.
Besides the Lammonites, another tribe called the Nephites came to this land. They were suppose to be the lost tribe of Israel.

Therefore, Larry EchoHawk is likely motivated to attack Tribal Sovereignty and Culture, because of his religious views. I’ll back that up by citing an instance from recent history, that is still going on today up to a point with Peabody Coal.

Indigenous People have been assimilated into Christianity and it is no easy subject, for it requires considering a judgment be made that is uncomfortable. A general clarification as well as an example will be given with my opinion before proceeding to McCain’s part in this forced relocation, because the "several First Mesa Hopi who had been converted to Mormonism" needs at least some general clarification before proceeding. Indigenous People in cases like this who have been assimilated into Christianity have also adapted the behaviors of their assimilators. For example, I heard an elder speak of how once they entered Boarding School as an adolescent, the ones who had been assimilated mocked them for speaking the language. How many people’s history has been lost because similar things happened in their own families and now it’s too late to retrieve? Indigenous People who have been assimilated into Christianity have every right to believe as they wish. However, abandoning the fact that in their ancestral lands lie the flesh of their ancestors which is the Earth Mother, they may see no problem fighting their relatives who hold that land sacred. So my uncomfortable judgment is, their replaced beliefs give them no right to act as predators…

I can assure Mr. EchoHawk that I am not part of the "lost tribes of Israel." I’m an example of successful Cultural Genocide, but I got over it. I’ll be civil with my last thoughts.

EchoHawk should not become Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs.


Blogger Ahistoricality on 1/28/2009 7:33 PM:


Words fail me, really.

(also, some of the links seem broken)


Blogger Winter Rabbit on 1/28/2009 8:11 PM:

Thanks for the heads up on the links Ahistoricality. Apparently they can't have quoations in between the = and the last letter or #. Have to do that at Kos. They're fixed now.

It is scary and when ccamp told me about it this morning at NAN, it was like, "Not again."


Blogger Ralph Brauer on 2/05/2009 10:49 PM:

This is a GREAT piece. I was not aware of any of this.


Blogger PhDinHistory on 2/13/2009 12:10 AM:

Winter Rabbit: I wonder if you care about the truth in this matter. Larry gave up the position you cited years ago. Several of the the tribes in Idaho have endorsed him. Why do you leave out these relevant facts? Did you ever think to ask Larry's brother John whether Larry supports Tribal Sovereignty. Or maybe even John's opinion wouldn't matter to you in this situation. It sounds like your mind is already made up, regardless of the facts. Larry does not believe that Lamanites are descendants of the lost ten tribes. You could try to get your facts straight before you make the logical leap in claiming that Larry's religious views lead him to attack Tribal Sovereignty. You make it sound like Larry must have an inferiority complex because he believes he is a Lamanite. Nothing could be further from the truth. Now, don't get me wrong. Larry was wrong when he used to oppose tribal gaming for moral reasons. He came to his senses almost two decades ago after he lost the run for governor of Idaho. Second, what happened between John Boyden and the Hopi deserves our condemnation. But to paint Larry with the same brush is intellectually dishonest. Larry had nothing to do with that incident and would have opposed it had it happened during his adult life. If you want more information on Larry, just let me know.


Blogger Stephen on 2/15/2009 6:49 PM:

Indigenous People have been assimilated ...

What is interesting, is that the dean of BYU's law school (who recently stepped down to accept a promotion), has written widely about how assimilation is a complete failure as a project.

Of course the hidden issue is that to oppose gaming on Indian lands really meant to oppose the state lottery which has been a rather bad net event for the State of Idaho.

Not to mention, misspell terms of art and your audience will decide that your trustworthy source really isn't.

Just FYI.


Blogger Stephen on 2/15/2009 6:51 PM:

I’ll back that up by citing an instance from recent history, that is still going on today up to a point with Peabody Coal. and how thoroughly LDS groups and scholars (such as Hugh Nibley) have condemned that matter over and over and over again.

Well worth reading.